Shoplifting is the theft of merchandise from a business. Under Maryland law, it’s a crime to willfully and knowingly obtain unauthorized control over property if the person taking the property intends to deprive the owner of the property and conceals the property in a way that deprives the owner of the property.
Penalties for shoplifting in Maryland depend on the value of the items. Shoplifters in Maryland can receive both jail time and fines, both of which increase with the value of the merchandise.
If the value of the goods is less than $100, the charge is a misdemeanor. Such theft is punishable by up to 90 days in prison and a fine up to $500.
If the value is between $100 and $1,000, the charge is a misdemeanor. The theft is punishable by to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $500.
If the value is between $1,000 and $10,000, the charge is a felony. Punishment can include up to 15 years in prison and as much as $25,000 in fines.
If the value is between $10,000 and $100,000, the charge is a felony. Punishment can include up to 15 years in prison and as much as $15,000 in fines.
If the value is over $100,000, the charge is a felony. It’s punishable by up to 25 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
Punishment can also require that the property be restored to the owner.
What the prosecutor has to prove
Shoplifting is a crime of intent. The prosecutor has to prove an intent to deprive the owner of the property or establish actions that could deprive the owner of the property. For example, if you are shopping with a young child and the child places items in your purse without your knowledge and you later discover the merchandise, you could argue there was no shoplifting because there was no intent.
Defenses to a Maryland shoplifting charge
There are ways that a Maryland shoplifting charge can be challenged. They include lack of intent, mistake, coercion and return of property. A Baltimore shoplifting defense lawyer can provide more details.
Purchasing shoplifted items
You could be guilty of shoplifting under Maryland law if you purchase stolen items.
Merchants can sue shoplifters
Merchants can sue shoplifters to recover the value of the items.
Merchants can also detain shoplifters
Merchants can detain shoplifters and those suspected of shoplifting under a concept called “Shopkeeper’s Privilege.”
Maronick Law, LLC is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Glen Burnie, Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh shoplifting defense attorney needs. If you’ve been accused of shoplifting, you should talk to a criminal defense attorney. An Ocean City shoplifting defense attorney can examine your case to see if you have a defense to your Ocean City shoplifting charge or whether a plea bargain can be arranged.
If you have access to Zoom, we can meet with you remotely. The consultation is free. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.881.4022 or via the website.