Shoplifting

Bowie and Crofton Shoplifting Defense Lawyers

Protecting the rights of clients charged with property crimes throughout Maryland

Shoplifting may be perceived to be a minor crime, but in Maryland it has serious consequences for your life, your work, and your education. Maryland criminal law does not mention the crime of shoplifting specifically, but the penalties are included with theft crimes.

If you have been charged with shoplifting, your next step needs to be to contact an experienced Bowie shoplifting lawyer from Carey Law Office today. You are welcome to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and receive legal guidance about how to proceed with your case.

Shoplifting charges in Maryland

The crime of shoplifting can be found in section 7-104 of the Maryland criminal code under theft, which is described as:

  • Unauthorized control over property. A person may not knowingly authorize control over property (i.e. take the property) if the person:
    • Intends to deprive the owner of the property
    • Uses, conceals or abandons the property in a way that deprives the owner of the property; or knowing the use, concealment or abandonment will deprive the owner of the property.
  • Unauthorized control over property by deception
  • Possessing stolen property
  • Control over property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake
  • Obtain services only available by compensation by deception or with knowledge that the services are provided without the consent of the person providing them

MD Crim Law Code § 7-104 (2017)

Penalties for shoplifting in Maryland

To be convicted of the crime of theft, the prosecutor must be able to prove that:

  • You intended to remove the property from the store
  • You concealed the property in a way that did or could have deprived the merchant of the property
  • You knowingly received stolen goods
  • You kept merchandise that was delivered to you by mistake
  • You concealed property while you were still in the store, and the prosecutor can prove that you concealed it because you intended to leave the store with the item without paying for it

If you have been charged with shoplifting, your next step needs to be to contact an experienced Bowie shoplifting lawyer from Carey Law Office today. You are welcome to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and receive legal guidance about how to proceed with your case.

The penalties for shoplifting depend on the value of the stolen property. For example, if the property was worth:

  • $100 or less: Misdemeanor charge. $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail. Property must be returned, or the owner must be compensated.
  • $100 but less than $1,500: Misdemeanor charge. $500 fine and/or 6 months in jail. Property must be returned, or the owner must be compensated. Second and subsequent offenses can lead to up to 1 years in jail.
  • At least $1,500, but less than $25,000: Felony. $10,000 fine and/or up to 5 years in prison. Property must be returned, or the owner must be compensated.
  • At least $25,000 but less than $100,000: Felony. $15,000 fine and/or up to 10 years in prison. Property must be returned, or the owner must be compensated.
  • $100,000 or more: Felony. $25,000 fine and/or up to 20 years in prison. Property must be returned, or the owner must be compensated.

Civil penalties of a shoplifting conviction

There is a civil prosecution statute in Maryland, so if a person is caught stealing something from a store, the store can require   the person to pay civil restitution regardless of any criminal penalties he or she faces. Whether you were convicted of theft or acquitted of the charges, the merchant can demand restitution which can be greater than the value of the item allegedly taken.

A skilled Bowie shoplifting defense lawyer from Carey Law Office will guide you as to how to handle a demand letter from the retailer’s legal team.

When a minor gets caught shoplifting, parents pay the price

If the individual accused of shoplifting is a minor, the parents are required to pay the civil restitution even when the item in question has been returned. If the accused is an adult (over age 18), he or she must pay the civil restitution in addition to any fines related to the theft charge.

The merchant or property owner can sue the accused for the full value of the item, damages, reasonable attorney fees, plus a penalty of up to twice the retail value of the item. The minimum penalty is $50, and the maximum is $1,000.

How can a criminal defense attorney help your shoplifting case?

With the charge of theft, there are so many consequences you could face depending on the facts of your case. When you have a knowledgeable shoplifting attorney on your side, you get the benefit of his or her experience working with countless other clients before you. If it is your first offense, there are several opportunities to diminish the charges or even drop the charges against you, but you will need the support of a competent attorney who knows the law and knows what options are available to you given the facts of your case. Additionally, if the alleged crime occurred at a major retailer, you will be receiving a civil demand letter. Our Bowie shoplifting defense lawyers will advise you on how to deal with the civil demand.

Contact a Bowie and Crofton shoplifting defense attorney for help

Never try to face shoplifting charges alone – work with an experienced criminal defense attorney from Carey Law Office, who is here to fight for your rights. We serve clients throughout Maryland. You are encouraged to call 301-464-2500 or fill out the contact form to schedule a consultation today.

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