We all know that stealing is wrong, but sometimes people find themselves in desperate situations, are wrongfully accused, or simply make a mistake. When you are facing shoplifting charges, you must retain a competent defense attorney to represent you and prevent your life from going off track. Fortunately, a knowledgeable Upper Marlboro shoplifting lawyer can provide you with a personalized defense strategy and work to reduce the impact of your charges.
At the Law Office of Vernon Brownlee in Maryland, our team handles a variety of crimes, including shoplifting offenses. Contact a member of our office to discuss your potential defense today.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Maryland
In the state of Maryland, shoplifting is considered theft. Maryland criminal code § 7-104 prohibits the taking and concealing of property in a way that permanently deprives the owner of its use or value.
A person convicted of shoplifting may face fines and prison time. In addition, they could be held liable in a civil lawsuit, where merchants could recover the retail value of the stolen items or other related damages.
The penalties for shoplifting in Maryland vary greatly depending on the value of the stolen property. Potential consequences include:
- Property valued under $99: a misdemeanor offense; up to ninety days in prison and a $500 fine
- Property valued between $100-$1,499: a misdemeanor charge; up to six months in prison and a $500 fine
- Property valued between $1,500-$24,999: considered a felony; if convicted, the defendant could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine
- Property valued between $25,000-$99,999: felony theft; if convicted, the defendant could face up to ten years in prison and a $15,000 fine
- Property valued over $100,000: felony theft; if convicted, the defendant could face up to twenty years of prison and a potential $35,000 fine
If your freedom is in jeopardy, our team is here for you. Do not hesitate to consult an Upper Marlboro attorney who can help minimize the consequences of your shoplifting offense.
Mitigating Shoplifting Charges
When you are accused of shoplifting, there are options to mitigate the potential harm of a criminal conviction on your record. Shoplifting prosecutors have a great deal of freedom when assigning penalties. They can typically offer plea deals and other alternatives. For example, if this is the defendant’s first offense or if they are a juvenile offender, the court may offer a diversion program.
As part of these programs, the defendant may be obligated to complete certain requirements, including restitution, community service, and a period of probation. If the accused successfully completes the program, the charges against them will be dropped. Similarly, a deferred judgment could be available.
Be sure to ask your Upper Marlboro shoplifting attorney about the possibility of a diversion program or deferred judgment.
Consult an Upper Marlboro Shoplifting Attorney Now
When you are accused of a crime of any kind, you need a competent attorney to represent you. A conviction could impact your life for years to come. Luckily, an Upper Marlboro shoplifting lawyer is available to assist you with building a strong defense and minimizing the long-term harm of criminal charges.
If you have questions about charges you are facing, contact the Law Office of Vernon Brownlee now and get the dedicated representation you need.