Maryland has a variety of theft crimes, which share the same penalty structure. The maximum sentence varies with the value of the property involved, but can also depend on the number of prior convictions for theft crimes. The sort of theft crime committed does not change the maximum sentence at all. For example, someone who possesses stolen property worth $7,000 could be charged with a felony and would be subject to the same maximum sentence as the person who stole that property. Also, part of the penalty for all Maryland theft crimes is that either the stolen property, or the value of the property or services must be returned to the rightful owner.
For items worth less than $100, the same crime can be charged two ways. Items worth less than $100 are always also worth less than $1,000, so the same crime can be charged on a value of less than $1,000 dollars, or a value of less than $100 dollars. These have different maximum penalties, and the prosecutor has the unfettered discretion to choose between them.
When the charge is on a value of less than $100, the maximum penalty is 90 days and $500 dollars. When the charge is on a value of less than $1,000, the maximum varies depending on the number of prior theft convictions. If you have less than two prior offenses, the maximum penalty is 18 months and $500 dollars. If you have two or more, the maximum penalty is 5 years and $5,000. If you are convicted of theft for failure to pay for motor fuel after dispensing it, your license may also be suspended, in addition to the regular theft penalties that may be imposed. Irrespective of which crime the prosecutor chooses to charge, or how many prior theft offenses you may have, if the value of the item involved is less than $1,000, the crime is a misdemeanor.
When the value passes $1,000, theft crimes become felonies. Unlike the case below $1,000 dollars, there is a minimum value that must be proven for conviction of each crime. The penalties are tiered. Between $1000 and $10,000, you could be sentenced to up to 10 years and fined $10,000. Between $10,000 and $100,000 you could be sentenced to up to 15 years, and fined $15,000. If the amount is $100,000 or more, you could be sentenced to as much as 25 years, and fined $25,000.
If you are charged with theft, you may also be charged with burglary or robbery, which are serious crimes on their own, often more serious than the underlying theft offense.
Burglary involves breaking and entering, and comes in different degrees relating to intent and the place entered. Breaking and entering someone else’s home with the intent to commit theft is burglary in the first degree, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Robbery is a theft by force or threat of force. Robbery is a felony, and the maximum sentence is 15 years, or 20 years if the robbery involves use of a dangerous weapon.
If you have been charged with a theft or a related crime, you need a lawyer that can vigorously defend your rights. Call (301) 556-8709 today so that we can get to work on your case.
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