Facing Theft Charges in Ocean City, MD?
The crime of theft, also known as larceny is generally defined as knowingly taking someone else’s property without their consent. In Maryland, the theft statute is broad and can encompass a wide range of offenses including:
- fraud, and more.
A conviction for a theft crime can have serious consequences including prison time, heavy fines, restitution for victim/s, and a lengthy period of probation. Equally devastating is the damage it can do to your reputation, career, and personal relationships. Theft crimes are considered crimes of moral turpitude and a simple accusation can label you as someone who is dishonest and can’t be trusted. No one wants this stigma hanging over them for the rest of their life.
To preserve your good name and successfully fight the charges against you, you need an experienced theft defense lawyer on your side. RichardJ. Brueckner is a reputable Theft Defense attorney based in Ocean City who is committed to delivering favorable outcomes for individuals accused of theft and theft-related crimes. Mr. Brueckner utilizes a decade of experience as a former prosecutor to get theft charges dismissed or downgraded to lesser offenses with less severe penalties.
Seek Help With Your Ocean City Theft Charges Today! For a free consultation about your options concerning charges of theft, contact the Law Office of Richard Brueckner 410-430-1464
Aggressive Defense Against All Types Of Theft Charges
Shoplifting is a common theft crime that occurs when an individual takes goods or products from a store with no intention of paying for them. Shoplifting also extends to attempting to conceal theft or substituting or removing a label or price tag from an item. You can be charged with shoplifting even if the item was not physically taken out of the store. The simple act of trying to conceal an item is enough to get you in trouble. Depending on the value of the property stolen, theft and shoplifting can be either a felony or misdemeanor. The higher the value of the item stolen, the more severe the potential penalty.
- Misdemeanor Theft: Theft of property valued at less than $100 (petty theft), punishable by a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. Theft of property valued at less than $1,000, punishable by a maximum penalty of 18 months in jail and a $500 fine.
- Felony Theft: Theft of property valued at over $1,000 but less than $10,000, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Theft of property valued over $10,000 but less than $100,000, punishable by 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Theft of property valued at $100,000 or more, punishable by 25 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Burglary also referred to as “breaking and entering” involves entering a building, home or motor vehicle with the intent to commit a theft or a felony. Burglary is broken down into four different degrees:
- First-degree burglary (felony): breaking and entering into another person’s dwelling with intent to either steal something or commit an additional crime of violence. The punishment for the first-degree burglary carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
- Second-degree burglary (felony): breaking and entering into a storehouse or building with the intent to commit arson or the intent to steal a firearm. This offense carries a maximum of 15 years in prison (20 years if intent to steal a firearm).
- Third-degree burglary (felony): breaking and entering into a house with the intent of committing any additional crime–not just a theft or violent crime. Third-degree burglary is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
- Fourth-degree burglary (misdemeanor): breaking and entering into a house, business or other could be guilty of a misdemeanor of burglary and can face up to three years in prison.
Keeping Lost Property: if you found or received something of value by mistake, it is illegal to keep it. You must take reasonable steps to return the property to its rightful owner.
Robbery involves the use or threat of force to take goods or services from another party. Penalties for robbery depend on the details of the crime, including the amount of harm or injury victims suffer. Penalties for conviction may include prison sentences up to 10 years for robbery and up to 20 years for armed robbery.
Identity Theft: it is a crime to obtain another person’s identification information (their name, address, social security number, bank account number, or credit card number) without their permission in order to use the information to achieve personal gain. Penalties for identity theft depending on the facts of the case, and the scope of the crime. If the stolen information was used to obtain good, services, or credit worth $500 or more, the crime is considered a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
Theft By Deception: stealing something from another person by deceiving that individual can result in a charge of theft by deception. A common form of theft by deception involves writing bad checks wherein the person writing the check knows they don’t have enough money in the account but writes the check anyway.
Fighting a Maryland Theft Charge
There are a number of legal defenses that are applicable in theft cases. Attorney Brueckner will carefully assess the specific details surrounding your case and develop a defense strategy that maximizes the chance of a successful outcome. Our law firm has the resources to conduct an independent investigation, including gathering evidence and witness statements that can strengthen your defense. Criminal Attorney, Richard J. Brueckner will be able to identify areas of weakness on the part of the prosecution and leverage this information to negotiate a favorable settlement or, if necessary, litigate your case in court.
Here are just a few of the most common legal defenses for theft charges in Maryland:
- A claim of Right or Ownership of Property: you may have a valid defense if you can establish that you had a good faith belief that the property you took was yours, even if that belief was mistaken. Evidence will need to be provided to support this theory.
- Intoxication: if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the alleged offense, it’s possible to argue that you lacked the ability to form the intent to steal. In your intoxicated state, you may have thought the alleged stolen item belonged to you.
- Return of Property: if you were just “borrowing” the property, you’ll need to prove that you did not intend to permanently deprive the owner of what was rightfully theirs, rather you were planning on returning it.
- Wrongful Arrest: the police must have had a ‘reasonable belief’ that a crime had been committed when they arrested you. In the absence of “probable cause”, the arrest and all evidence obtained after the arrest will be suppressed by the court.
- Illegal Search and Seizure: the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects your right to privacy and prohibits law enforcement from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures of your person, home, or vehicle. Did police have probable cause to conduct a search? Was there a warrant? Was the warrant executed correctly? These are questions we will scrutinize. If we determine your constitutional rights were violated and/or the police obtained evidence illegally, we can file a motion to suppress evidence.
If you are facing Burglary or Theft Charges anywhere on the Eastern Shore, you need an aggressive Theft Crimes Attorney. Call Criminal Defense Attorney and former Prosecutor, Richard J. Brueckner and learn more about your defense options. 410-430-1464