How Does Maryland Define & Penalize Theft Crimes?
The State of Maryland has stringent laws against theft crimes that deprive the rightful owner of their property or services. Any person who violates these laws will likely face criminal charges that are punishable by time in prison and steep fines. Though the applicable penalties can fluctuate based on the value of stolen goods or services in question.
What are the Maryland Laws Governing Theft Crimes?
Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 7-104 outlines applicable laws concerning theft crimes. Under this section, it is unlawful to exert unauthorized control over another person’s property. It is also unlawful to deceive another person into giving up control of their property.
In more specific terms, Section 7-104 divides theft crimes into three categories. It qualifies as theft when a person obtains control over property and:
- Has no intention of returning the property to the rightful owner;
- Uses, conceals, or abandons the property such that the rightful owner cannot recover it; or
- Knows that use, concealment, or abandonment of the property will likely prevent the rightful owner from recovering it.
Section 7-104 also prohibits any person from knowingly possessing stolen property. In order for this to apply, a person must know — or have a reason to know — that they are in possession of stolen property.
Section 7-104 also addresses the theft of services. In more specific terms, the theft of services applies whenever a person:
- Obtains services through the use of deception; or
- Knows that the services were provided without consent.
What are the Maryland Penalties for Theft Crimes?
Section 7-104 also provides the Maryland penalties for theft crimes. In most cases, the applicable punishment depends upon the total value of stolen goods or services. If the value of stolen goods or services was:
- Less than $100 — It qualifies as a misdemeanor offense punishable by 90 days in prison and up to $500 in criminal fines;
- Between $100 and $1,500 — It qualifies as a misdemeanor offense punishable by six months in prison and up to $500 in criminal fines;
- Between $1,500 and $25,000 — It qualifies as a felony offense punishable by five years in prison and up to $10,000 in criminal fines;
- Between $25,000 and $100,000 — It qualifies as a felony offense punishable by 10 years in prison and up to $15,000 in criminal fines; or
- More than $100,000 — It qualifies as a felony offense punishable by 20 years in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines.
In addition to the criminal penalties outlined above, any person who commits a theft crime in Maryland must also:
- Return stolen goods to the rightful owner; or
- Compensate the rightful owner for the value of the stolen goods or services.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal help with charges for a Maryland theft crime, it can be decidedly constructive to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer. The Baltimore criminal lawyers at Iamele & Iamele, LLP have demonstrated proficiency in the arena of criminal defense, including various types of theft crimes. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.