Ocean City Theft Lawyer
An Ocean City theft lawyer can provide representation after you have been accused of any type of theft offense. An attorney can help you decide how you should plead to a theft offense, and either defend you in a court of law or negotiate a plea deal on your behalf. Theft crimes can lead to a lengthy prison term and large fine in Maryland, so it is a good idea to contact an Ocean City theft attorney as soon as possible.
Maryland defines the offense of general theft in Maryland Code Section 7-104. There are many different types of theft as defined by Maryland law. General theft involves intentional actions that are motivated by a desire to deprive the rightful owner of something that belongs to them.
To convict someone of a theft, the state must prove that the defendant took and carried away the property of another person with the intent to permanently deprive that person of their property.
Typically, someone takes the property of another person, for example, a pocketbook off a table or money out of a person’s wallet. The state has to prove that it was the defendant’s intention to carry it away and permanently deprive the victim of their property.
A prosecutor generally has to prove each separate element of the theft offense. However, in certain circumstances, your knowledge that the goods were stolen can be inferred. For example, a merchant who regularly buys and sells goods and who acquires property far below reasonable value may be presumed to have known the items were stolen.
Penalties are typically determined based on the value of the series or items you have been accused of taking. If you take items valued at less than $1,000, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. If you take items valued at $1,000 or more, you will be charged with a felony.
Misdemeanor theft can lead to a penalty of $500 in fines and up to 90 days in jail if the goods are worth less than $100, or to a penalty of up to 18-months of incarceration and $500 in fines if the goods are valued at $100 to less than $1,000. Having any amount of jail time on a person’s record can be harmful, so contacting a theft attorney in Ocean City is advisable.
For felony theft, you can be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail if the items you stole were valued at $1,000 to less than $10,000. Penalties become progressively more serious, up to 25 years in prison if the items you take are valued at $100,000 or more, making it even more important that you contact an Ocean City theft lawyer as soon as possible.
Penalties could be even more serious if a person has any prior convictions for theft. Furthermore, somebody could be charged with multiple counts of theft depending on the facts. For example, if a person is committing theft over a period of six or seven days, it would be a separate theft count for every time they took and carried away somebody else’s property. Depending on how many things they took over what course of time they did it, it can become a very serious case.
Contacting a Lawyer
A person who might be facing theft charges in Ocean City should contact a lawyer immediately, even if they have not yet been charged. If a person might be approached by the police, called by a police department, a loss prevention officer from a store, or anyone who wants to have a conversation with them about a potential theft that took place. In any of those situations, that person needs to understand that they have a constitutional right to remain silent and have no obligation to speak to anyone.
Some of the biggest mistakes happen when people are interviewed by the police. The person has every right to say, “I’m not going to talk to you about this,” or, “I want to consult with an attorney and then I’ll have my attorney contact you,” and that is okay. Anybody in that position should contact an Ocean City theft attorney before they make any statements to a police officer.
An Ocean City theft lawyer can aid their client in dealing with court-related paperwork, investigating the charges to ensure that all evidence has been correctly gathered and treated, petitioning to have evidence thrown out if it was illegally obtained by law enforcement, and ensure that all of your rights are upheld in a court of law.