Under Maryland’s theft statute, a person may not, under specified circumstances:
- willfully or knowingly obtain or exert unauthorized control over property;
- obtain control over property by willfully or knowingly using deception;
- possess stolen property knowing that it has been stolen or believing that it probably has been stolen; or
- obtain control over property knowing that the property was lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the identity of the recipient or nature or amount of the property.
A violator of Maryland’s theft statute is required to restore the owner’s property or pay the owner the value of the property or services.
A theft lawyer at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates in Baltimore, Maryland, represents clients charged with felony and misdemeanor theft crimes. Call 443-709-9999 to discuss your case.
Penalties for Theft Charges in Maryland
The statutory maximum penalty for theft charges in Maryland depends on the value for the property and the number of prior convictions. A person who commits theft in Maryland is subject to the following penalties:
- Less than $100 – Misdemeanor – 90 days imprisonment and/or $500 fine
- Less than $1,000 – Misdemeanor – 18 months imprisonment and/or a $500 fine
- Less than $1,000 (two or more prior convictions) – Misdemeanor – 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 fine
- Between $1,000 and $10,000 – Felony – 10 years imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine
- Between $10,000 and $100,000 – Felony – 15 years imprisonment and/or a $15,000 fine
- $100,000 or more – Felony – 25 years imprisonment and/or a $25,000 fine
Under Maryland’s general theft statute, the term “property of another” is defined to mean property in which a person other than the offender has an interest that the offender does not have the authority to defeat or impair, even though the offender also may have an interest in the property.
The term “property of another” is a component of the statute’s definition of “deprive,” which is repeatedly mentioned in the theft statute. For purposes of Maryland’s theft statute, the term to “deprive” means to withhold property of another either:
- for a period that results in the appropriation of a part of the property’s value;
- with the purpose to restore it only on payment of a reward or other compensation; or
- to dispose of the property or use or deal with the property in a manner that makes it unlikely that the owner will recover it.
Defenses to Theft Charges in the State of Maryland
It is not a defense to the crime of theft in Maryland that the defendant has an interest in the property that was the subject of the theft if another person also has an interest in or right to possess the property that the defendant is not entitled to infringe.
It is a defense to the crime of theft, however, if the defendant:
- acted under a good faith claim of right to the property involved;
- the defendant acted in the honest belief that the defendant had the right to obtain or exert control over the property as the defendant did;
- the property involved was that of the defendant’s spouse unless the defendant and the defendant’s spouse were not living together as husband and wife and were living in separate residences at the time of the alleged theft; or
- in a case of theft of a trade secret, the defendant rightfully knew the trade secret, or the trade secret was available to the defendant from a source other than the owner.
Theft Lawyer in Baltimore, Maryland
If you were accused of theft charges in Baltimore, Annapolis, Catonsville, or Arbutus, Maryland contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates. Our theft lawyer represents clients charged with a misdemeanor and felony theft crimes including:
Call today to discuss your case with an experienced attorney at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates in Baltimore, Maryland.