Larceny

In Maryland larceny is a crime against property that is used interchangeably with theft in the state laws.  When the State Police publishes its annual crime report, it classifies all theft crimes as larceny, but when a person is accused of stealing the property of another, he or she will be charged with theft.  There are a variety of types of charges, and the degree of the charge typically depends on the value of the stolen property.  The least serious charge is larceny under 100 dollars.  This crime is also called petit theft and sometimes even shoplifting.  Larceny under 100 dollars is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of 90 days in jail, and thus a person charged with the under 100 dollars variety is not entitled to a jury trial.  This degree of offense will be tried in district court, and will only be transferred to circuit court upon appeal.  Many times, a person who is charged with stealing under 100 dollars is a first time offender who may not be subject to serving jail time, but may be subjected to serious collateral consequences upon conviction.  Thus, it is important to contact an experienced Baltimore criminal lawyer immediately if you have been arrested or cited for any level of offense.

Stealing goods or services valued at over 100 dollars but less than 1000 dollars is also a misdemeanor, but carries a maximum jail sentence of 18 months.  A defendant who is charged with larceny under 1000 dollars will be entitled to a jury trial in circuit court.  Any larceny charge where the stolen property is valued at over 1000 will typically be charged as a felony with large maximum jail sentences.  There are a number of defenses that may be available to a defendant that is charged with this crime, and we are available 24 hours a day to discuss whether your case may be suited to one of these defenses.  An example of a defense to a case is that the defendant had a good faith basis to believe that he or she had a right to the property.  It is also a defense that the value of the stolen property was not proven.  Keep in mind that the state prosecutor has the burden of proving value of the stolen goods, and if they fail to do this adequately, an experienced criminal lawyer may be able to argue for a dismissal of charges.

Larceny charges are often accompanied by other charges such as burglary and robbery.  Burglary is the most common crime associated, and will appear in a criminal charging document if a larceny occurred on the property of another person.  If a defendant was granted permission to be on the property of another and thereupon committed a larceny, the burglary charge may be dismissed.  Robbery is a theft of property with force, and depending on the specific facts of the case, the state may not be able to sustain a conviction for both a robbery and a larceny arising out of the same incident.  If you or someone you know has been charged with theft, or is being investigated for larceny, contact The Herbst Firm for a free consultation.  We take pride in fighting for the best possible outcome for our clients, and make a firm commitment to keep our clients informed each step of the way.
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