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Maryland Theft Attorneys

Experienced Attorneys Ready to Fight for You

Shoplifting, robbery, and theft in Maryland can lead to either misdemeanors or felonies, carrying penalties that include fines ranging from $500.00 to $25,000.00 or more, along with incarceration periods spanning from 90 days in jail to 30 years in prison. The severity of these consequences hinges on the specifics and circumstances of the offense.

If you’re facing charges related to theft, robbery, shoplifting, or similar offenses, it’s essential to enlist the expertise of an experienced Maryland theft lawyer with a proven record of success. A skilled criminal defense attorney in Maryland will meticulously analyze every aspect of your case and leverage the most effective legal strategies available to mount a robust defense.

maryland theft attorneys

Robbery Offenses in Maryland

Robbery offenses fall under Title 3, Subtitle 4 of the Maryland Criminal Law Code. Upon conviction for robbery, you will be charged with a felony and may receive a prison term of up to 15 years, depending on the specifics of your case.

According to Section 3-401 of the state code, the definitions pertinent to robbery crimes are established. Robbery is described as the act of forcibly taking property from another individual through the use of violence, force, or the threat thereof. Property, as outlined in Section 3-401(d), encompasses anything of value, including but not limited to:

  • Real estate
  • Commercial instruments
  • Monetary assets
  • Tickets
  • Written documents
  • Harvested crops
  • Utilities such as water, gas, and electricity
  • Pets
  • Food and beverages
  • Data and information

Understanding how state law defines specific terms related to robbery is crucial. For instance, according to §3-401(b), “deprive” in the context of robbery refers to withholding property under certain circumstances:

  • Permanently
  • For a duration significant enough to diminish the property’s value or for the defendant to appropriate it
  • With the explicit intention of holding it for ransom or reward
  • To use, move, or dispose of it in a way that makes it unlikely for the owner to recover it

In essence, for an act to qualify as robbery, the perpetrator doesn’t have to retain stolen property indefinitely, nor do they need to gain tangible assets. Robbery can involve services provided by others or an interest in property rather than outright possession.

In contesting criminal charges related to robbery, the key aspect lies in proving intent. A defendant cannot be convicted of robbery if the prosecution fails to prove conclusively, that the defendant intended to unlawfully withhold someone else’s property for one of the specified reasons.

In some cases, it may serve as an affirmative defense against robbery charges to establish that the defendant lacked the intent to deprive the alleged victim of their property in a manner constituting robbery under state law. Given the subjective nature of this concept and other definitions associated with the offense, it is crucial for a defendant to engage an experienced Maryland robbery attorney. Such legal representation can effectively advocate for their rights and construct a robust defense case.

Armed Robbery

According to Section 3-403, armed robbery constitutes the act of stealing while brandishing a dangerous weapon or threatening to use one, like a knife or firearm. Those convicted of armed robbery face severe consequences, including a felony charge and a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years.


Section 3-405 outlines the offense of carjacking as the act of seizing control of a motor vehicle from someone else using intimidation, threats, force, or violence. This provision also explicitly forbids armed carjacking. Claiming that you didn’t intend to permanently deprive the owner of their vehicle is not considered a valid defense. The consequences for both carjacking and armed carjacking are severe, carrying penalties such as a felony conviction and a maximum of 30 years in prison. Additionally, this sentence may be served consecutively with any other sentences resulting from crimes committed during the carjacking.

Theft offenses in Maryland fall under Title 7, Subtitle 1 of the criminal law code. Section 7-102 outlines theft as a unified crime, encompassing various acts previously categorized as:

  • Embezzlement
  • Larceny
  • Larceny after trust
  • Larceny by trick
  • Shoplifting
  • False pretenses
  • Receiving stolen property

To face charges and conviction for theft, one must act knowingly. Merely purchasing goods without awareness of their stolen origin wouldn’t constitute receiving stolen property. However, if there was a reasonable expectation of knowledge regarding the goods’ stolen nature, it could serve as evidence for theft charges. Seeking legal assistance in such cases from a Maryland theft attorney would be advisable.

Section 7-103 delineates the criteria for assessing value in theft cases. As per this statute, value is construed as the market worth of the services or property pilfered at the time and place of the offense. In instances where such value is indiscernible, it is presumed to equate to the replacement value of the services or property within a reasonable period following the crime.

General Regulations and Consequences for Theft

In Maryland’s criminal code, theft, as defined in Section 7-104, broadly encompasses any unauthorized control over property. This includes actions such as intentionally depriving someone of their belongings, willfully concealing, abandoning, or misusing property to the detriment of another, obtaining control through deception, or knowingly possessing stolen goods.

Section 7-104(g) of the code delineates the consequences for theft offenses, which hinge significantly on the assessed value of the stolen items or services. Regardless of this value and the corresponding penalties, convicted individuals must compensate the rightful owner either by returning the stolen property or by reimbursing its value.

When the value of stolen products or services falls between $1,000.00 and $10,000.00, the consequences include a felony conviction, accompanied by a fine of up to $10,000.00 and a potential prison sentence of up to 10 years.

For theft involving goods or services valued between $10,000.00 and $100,000.00, the penalty escalates to a felony conviction, with a fine of up to $15,000.00 and a maximum prison term of 15 years.
Should the value of the stolen items exceed $100,000.00, the severity of the penalty increases to a felony conviction, carrying a fine of up to $25,000.00, and a possible imprisonment of up to 25 years.

Theft offenses involving stolen goods or services valued at less than $1,000.00 are considered misdemeanors. In such instances, the punishment entails a fine of up to $500.00 and a maximum jail term of 18 months. If the value is under $100.00, the penalty includes a fine of up to $500.00 and a jail sentence of no more than 90 days. However, those with two prior theft convictions under $1,000.00 may face an additional misdemeanor charge, a fine of up to $5,000.00, and a jail term of up to five years upon a third conviction.

Under Section 7-104(h) of the state criminal code, distinct regulations address theft related to failure to pay for motor vehicle fuel post-dispensing. In such cases, the court has the authority to suspend the individual’s driver’s license and inform the Motor Vehicle Administration accordingly.

Motor Vehicle Theft

Motor vehicle theft falls under Maryland Criminal Law Code Section 7-105, where subsection (b) expressly prohibits the intentional and knowing act of removing a motor vehicle from someone else’s lawful possession, control, or custody without their consent.

Those convicted of motor vehicle theft face severe consequences, including felony charges, fines reaching $5,000.00, and a potential prison sentence of up to five years. Additionally, the offender is obligated to return the stolen vehicle or compensate the owner for its full value.

Defenses Against Theft Charges

Section 7-110 presents potential defenses for theft crimes. If any of these apply to your situation, you likely have a robust defense:

  • You genuinely believed you had the authority to possess or acquire the property.
  • Your actions were based on a sincere belief in your rights to the property.
  • The property in question belonged to your spouse, except if you and your spouse were residing separately during the alleged offense.
  • In cases of allegedly stealing trade secrets, you either possessed rightful knowledge of the trade secret beforehand or obtained it from a source unrelated to the accusing party.

How a Theft Lawyer in Maryland Can Help

Allegations of theft in Maryland, whether categorized as misdemeanors or felonies, demand utmost attention. A conviction could significantly impede your prospects for housing, employment, loans, and other essential facets of life. Engaging a proficient Maryland theft attorney is crucial. Such a professional can advocate for your interests diligently throughout the legal process. With their expertise, they can meticulously scrutinize every aspect of your case, constructing a robust defense strategy. This strategy aims not only to safeguard your constitutional rights but also to pursue the mitigation or outright dismissal of charges against you.

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