Maryland shoplifting laws are some of the most severe in the country. When you are up against accusations that you took something without paying for it or you concealed the real price of an item by changing tags, you face some serious consequences. If you’ve never been involved in the criminal justice system, this can be a particularly frightening time.
A shoplifting arrest usually happens at the scene of the alleged offense. Store employees or security will often detain someone while they wait for police to arrive. It’s then, when you first see the police, that you may realize just how serious of a situation you are in. Fortunately, you are protected from unfair treatment by the constitution. If the police runs afoul of these rights during the arrest or search process, there’s a chance your entire case could be invalidated in court.
Knowing and understanding your rights when you are accused of a shoplifting offense can be difficult. Having an experienced local defense lawyer on your side can help.
Maryland Shoplifting Penalties
Under Maryland law, the charge and penalty you face for your shoplifting charge is directly related to the value of the goods you are suspected of stealing. Below you will see a chart showing the value and potential sentence you would face. If the value is less than $1,000, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. If the goods are valued more than $1,000, however, the charge will be a felony.
|Value of Shoplifted Goods||Potential Sentence|
|Less than $100||90 days in jail|
|More than $100, Less than $1,000||18 months in jail and $1,000 in fines|
|More than $1,000||15 years in prison and $25,000 in fines|
Generally, the sentence you face depends on the specific facts of your case and your criminal history. A prosecutor will be more likely to seek a maximum penalty if you have a history of shoplifting. However, if this is your first offense, the outcome could be more favorable.
Fighting a Maryland Shoplifting Charge
How Can An Attorney Help? When you have a local defense attorney on your side, you have an advocate within the system. Your attorney will discuss the details of your case with you to determine the best course of action. Whether it involves negotiating a plea agreement with the prosecution or moving to have all charges dismissed on the basis of a wrongful arrest, your attorney will help you decide what’s best for you.
If you’ve been accused of shoplifting in Maryland, you need the help of a criminal defense lawyer. For a free legal consultation with a defense attorney in Maryland with experience fighting shoplifting charges, contact us today.