Theft is one of the most common criminal offenses, and it involves many kinds of criminal activity. Some people steal food from a store to feed their families. Other people steal items from friends and neighbors to feed an addiction. There are even teenagers who shoplift or steal from people by threatening them because they enjoy the thrill of taking a risk.
Any of these situations could lead to someone getting arrested and charged with a crime. A teenager accused of shoplifting a piece of makeup or a DVD from the store will probably face misdemeanor charges. However, someone accused of stealing more valuable property will likely face felony charges.
When does an act of theft become a felony in Maryland?
A non-violent theft offense can become a felony
Using a weapon to steal from someone will potentially increase the charges against someone to a felony, but there doesn’t need to be a weapon or any violence for someone to face felony theft charges.
The value of the items or services involved will also determine the charges.
When the value is under $100, the offense is petty theft, which is a misdemeanor. When the items involved are worth between $100 and $1,500, the accused individual will face misdemeanor theft charges.
Once the total value of stolen items reaches $1,500, the individual accused of theft could face felony theft charges. The state still breaks felony theft charges into categories based on the value of the items involved. The penalties increase if the overall value of the goods exceeds $10,000 or $100,000. The highest category of felony theft could lead to up to 25 years in prison.
Learning more about the laws about theft in Maryland can help you respond to accusations that you broke them.