Q: I was charged with a theft scheme less than $1500 (>$500 really), in Frederick county, Maryland. I have no previous
Convictions or criminal record whatsoever nor do I have anything any record on my driving record. I unfortunately was laid off prior to being served, and with it being Christmas and having children have no funds for a lawyer, what do you believe to be the most likely outcome in my particular case, the theft was items from a grocery store, small things here and there over the course of a few months, less than $500 in total per their served paperwork, and the store does have video. I was originally trespassed and then received paperwork that I was being served for a theft scheme almost a month and a half later, I’m assuming from their loss prevention company. I’m just looking to have an idea of what punishment I’m likely to receive.
A: If you cannot retain private counsel, contact the Public Defender as soon as possible. Jail is unlikely for a first time offender. An attorney will likely be able to keep a conviction off your record. You should be prepared to make restitution which will be required and also go a long way to getting you the best result.
Eric Todd Kirk agrees with this answer
A: You have not described a series of thefts planned as one continuous theft scheme, but more probably multiple individual minor thefts unconnected to each other, but perhaps there is something missing from your recitation of the facts. Theft scheme is often an over-charged crime to bump the case into a felony as opposed to several misdemeanors. Regardless, you recognize that you need a lawyer. Unless you have money, credit cards, or the ability to borrow from friends or family, then you will need to apply as soon as possible for the Public Defender. Most first time theft cases of this type can be resolved with probation and often without a conviction (or the ability to strike the conviction at a later date), which will allow for expungement of your record. However, more details will be needed, which you should only provide in a private consultation with counsel. If you were an employee of the store you stole from, then the case will be treated more seriously.
A: Although any theft is potentially a jailable offense, I agree with Mr. Scherr that it would be an unlikely outcome on the facts you've described. You may wish to consider retaining counsel to leverage those factors to your benefit.
Scott Scherr agrees with this answer
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.