Maryland Theft Defense Strategies
Maryland theft penalties can be harsh if individuals are charged. It is important to seek the counsel of a competent lawyer who has knowledge of Maryland theft defense strategies early on in a case. A skilled theft attorney can determine which defense strategies are most suited to your case and will work hard to defend you.
Approaches to Crafting a Theft Defense Strategy
There are many different Maryland theft defense strategies that a criminal defense attorney can employ, often simultaneously. As the case develops, the attorney will be asking a variety of questions to determine possible areas where the state’s case is lacking:
- Can the state prove every single element of the charge?
- Was it a case of mistaken identity?
- Is it possible that the defendant has an alibi and they were not present when the crime occurred?
At the same time, a lawyer is strategizing potential defenses, they are also exploring potential sentencing alternatives in the event a conviction does occur. For example, if the defendant actually committed the theft, and was motivated to do so by a substance abuse issue, a defense attorney can encourage their client to begin substance abuse treatment and regular drug testing to demonstrate to the court that they are no longer using drugs or their abuse is diminishing.
These sorts of strategies take time to plan and implement, so it is important for people accused of theft in Maryland to contact an attorney as early in the process as possible. There is a lot more that can be done for someone when they have just been charged, as opposed to what the defense attorney might be able to accomplish for a client calling the day before their case goes to court.
One of the Maryland theft defense strategies that a defense lawyer will sometimes employ includes calling on expert testimony from witnesses such as mental health professionals. If the case can be made that the accused could not form the specific intent to commit this crime because of a mental health issue, an attorney may want to engage a mental health expert for that purpose. Expert witnesses can also be utilized when determining the value of an item that was taken, because the prosecution may provide an inaccurate estimate of the value of the goods in question. Because sentencing depends in part on this value, it is important that those figures are accurate.
Elements a Prosecutor Must Prove
The prosecutor has to prove each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution must prove that this defendant took and carried away the property of another person with the intent to permanently that person of that property. Then the state has to prove the value of the property that was taken because the value can determine the severity of the potential penalty.
Steps a Defense Attorney Will Take
One of the first steps an attorney takes when defending against theft charges is getting a full biography of the client. The defense lawyer will want to know everything about their client’s schooling and education history, their employment, and family situation. They will want to know if the client has ever been treated for any mental health or substance abuse issues, as well as their previous criminal history.
It is also very important for the client to describe to their attorney, from start to finish, what happened at the time of the alleged crime. The attorney will want to understand a number of facts, such as whether the client was even at the scene and what information the prosecution has about the incident, to determine if the state can prove that it was this defendant that committed the crime of theft. The counsel of an attorney is instrumental in crafting your defense. An experienced lawyer will have in-depth knowledge of which Maryland theft defense strategies would be best suited towards your case and can work hard to make your case.