Ellicott City Theft Crime Defense Attorneys
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One of the more common crimes committed in Maryland is theft. In a nutshell, theft is taking something that isn’t yours. Theft charges are serious, resulting in misdemeanor or even felony charges. If convicted, you could lose your rights and your freedom. Your ability to obtain a job, housing, loans and other life necessities could be in danger.
The Ellicott City criminal defense attorneys at Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law have years of experience defending people accused of theft. We can build a strong defense for your case, customizing it to your specific situation and putting our knowledge of the local court system to work for your benefit.
What are the types of theft crimes?
Theft is a broad term that can refer to a wide variety of charges (broken down in detail in the Maryland Criminal Law Code). State law breaks them down into five general categories:
- Unauthorized control over property. Willingly or knowingly taking another person’s property and using or hiding it for your own purposes. This includes things like stealing money from a register, shoplifting, or even stealing someone’s car.
- Unauthorized control over property by deception. Lying or misleading a person with the goal of unlawfully obtaining their property. This is commonly known as a “con.” Examples might include someone purporting to collect money for charity and then keeping it for themselves.
- Possession of stolen property. Possessing goods and property that you knew (or had reason to know) were stolen. If someone gave you an item that “fell off a truck” and you kept it, you could be charged with possession of stolen property.
- Unauthorized control over property lost, mislaid or delivered by mistake. Examples of these types of theft crimes include things like finding a lost wallet on the street and keeping it, even though the owner’s ID and information are in it.
- Theft of services available only for compensation. This type of theft is lying to another person in order to obtain services. It includes things like hiring a contractor to perform repairs and then refusing to pay.
The difference between theft, burglary and robbery
It might sound like theft, burglary and robbery are just three of the same words for stealing. However, they all mean very different things. They do all mean taking property from another person, but they also have different meanings under the law.
Theft, as we just talked about, is when someone takes another person’s property or services without consent, with the intention of keeping them from the rightful owner. Depending on the value and type of the goods or services stolen, theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.
Robbery is similar to theft in that they both involve stealing another’s property or services. However, robbery involves the use of force – theft does not. Robbery is a class B felony, but becomes class A when the use of a deadly weapon is involved or a victim is seriously injured.
Burglary is different from theft in that it’s committed when a person enters a building or home with the express intent to commit a crime. The offender doesn’t even have to commit a crime to be charged with burglary – if they had the intent to commit the crime once inside the building, it’s still considered burglary. Typically burglary is charged as a class D felony, but those charges can be upgraded if the offender was armed, or if someone was injured or threatened at the time the burglary occurred.
The penalties for theft crimes are generally determined by the value of the goods, property or services stolen.
Ellicott City theft crime penalties
The higher the value of the property or services stolen, the higher the penalty. For example, theft of property or services less than $100 is a misdemeanor and comes with 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. On the other end, theft of property or services between $1,000 and $10,000 is a felony and carries penalties of up to 10 years in jail and/or fines of up to $10,000. Convicted offenders may also be required to make restitution to the original owner of the property.
Theft charges and convictions can have a lasting effect on your life. They go down onto your permanent record, making it difficult to:
- Find meaningful employment
- Rent or lease a house or apartment
- Get accepted to college or trade school
The lawyers at Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law will work to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. Our job is to protect your rights, and we understand that one mistake shouldn’t derail your future. If you’re facing theft charges or believe you’re under investigation for a theft crime, don’t wait a single minute.
We’ll get to work on your case immediately and begin crafting your defense – building an aggressive strategy that gives you the best chance for success, for your case and your future.
Our Ellicott City theft defense lawyers protect your rights
A theft conviction can negatively impact your entire future. Don’t try to go it alone. The Ellicott City criminal defense attorneys at Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law have decades of experience representing people just like you. We can help. Call our office today at 410-271-1892 or fill our contact form to schedule a consultation.
And remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.