Maryland Robbery Lawyer
Robbery is a serious felony crime that differs from similar crimes like shoplifting and theft in that robbery implies the use of force, or threats that make the victim fearful. In simple terms, robbery is considered an “aggravated larceny.” Maryland forbids robbery with stiff potential penalties, up to and including 30-years imprisonment. If you are charged with robbery by the State, a qualified Maryland robbery attorney is vital to your defense. Many elements of a theft can make it appear like a robbery, even if those elements are unintended. With theft penalties ranging from 90 days to 30 years imprisonment, examining all factors in a robbery case is crucial.
Robbery in the state of Maryland is the most serious form of theft, considered a felony under Maryland Criminal Code ß 3-402. This section simply forbids the crime of robbery in (a) while (b) assigns the maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment. Generally, there are eight elements to a robbery in Maryland. Your Maryland robbery attorney will defend you in court as the State attempts to prove that you:
- took and
- carried away
- the property
- of the alleged victim
- with intent of theft
- from the person himself/herself
- by using or threatening force
By finding evidence that any of these elements wasn’t present in a case, a qualified Maryland robbery lawyer can secure a conviction for a lesser crime, or a dismissal of the case altogether.
Under Maryland Criminal Code ß 3-403, another form of robbery, armed robbery, is included as a more serious crime. Armed robbery is robbery (or attempted robbery) committed with the use of a dangerous weapon like a firearm. ß 3-403 also classifies armed robbery as displaying a “written instrument,” like a note, with a claim that the presenter has a dangerous weapon. The possible penalty for armed robbery is a maximum 20-year imprisonment, five years more than robbery.
The final section under Subtitle 4, ß 3-405 of the Maryland Criminal Code, outlines the State’s laws on carjacking. A carjacking is the theft of a motor vehicle by force or violence (or threats of force or violence) while the owner is in possession of the vehicle. If the carjacking is performed by using a dangerous weapon, the crime is considered armed carjacking. Just like armed robbery, the penalty for armed carjacking is more severe — up to 30 years in prison.
The definition of a motor vehicle included in ß 3-405 is outlined in Maryland Transportation Section ß 11-135, which asserts that a motor vehicle is a:
- self-propelled or propelled by overhead electrical wire power; and is
- not operated on rails
However, Maryland does not consider mopeds and motor scooters motor vehicles. Maryland specifically forbids defendants from claiming that they did not intend to permanently deprive the owner of the allegedly stolen property.
Maryland uses the charge of theft as a blanket charge covering a range of charges often considered separate by other states. For example, Maryland Criminal Code ß 7-102 treats shoplifting, receiving stolen property, larceny, and embezzlement as thefts. As such, theft is the willful, knowing, and unauthorized control of the property of another person or entity provided that the accused:
- has the intention of taking the property
- purposely conceals or abandons the property
- shows the intention to conceal or abandon the property
A person is also forbidden from using deception to gain control of the property of another, or possessing stolen property he or she knows or has reason to believe is stolen. (2) under ß 7-104 also specifies that a person in the business of buying and selling goods can show knowledge of receiving stolen property if there are repeated occurrences, multiple transactions within a year before a charge of theft is filed, or the value given for the merchandise is well below the merchandise’s reasonable value.
Under ß 7-104, even keeping a lost item without attempting to find the owner, and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the item is considered theft, with the same potential penalties depending on the value of the item. The penalties for theft range based on the value of the property alleged as being stolen:
- Less than $1,000 – Misdemeanor – 5 year imprisonment/$5,000.00 fine
- $1,000 to Less than $10,000 – Felony – 10 year imprisonment/$10,000.00 fine
- $10,000 to Less than $100,000 – Felony – 15 year imprisonment/$15,000.00 fine
- $100,000 or more – Felony – 25 year imprisonment/$25,000.00 fine
All theft convictions also include a penalty that requires the defendant to return the property (or compensate the property-owner appropriately) within a reasonable time.
Motor Vehicle Theft
While motor vehicles are typically valuable items that, under normal theft guidelines, would include a maximum potential 15 year prison sentence, Maryland considers these thefts a different crime. And the difference in potential penalties is large. Under ß 7-105, motor vehicle theft carries a potential penalty of 5 years imprisonment and a $5,000.00 fine.
Maryland defines motor vehicle theft as the willful and knowing removal of a motor vehicle out of another person’s lawful control, but without the use of a dangerous weapon, and not through the use of force (or threat of force) against the owner. If you believe that you are facing normal theft charges when motor vehicle theft seems more appropriate, a Maryland theft attorney can assist you in pleading your case.