The legal definition of a property crime is any crime done with intent where the result is the destruction or theft of someone else’s property without their permission. There are many different types of property offenses and consequences can range from misdemeanor to felony charges. A Maryland criminal lawyer can explain the differences in detail, but the following is a brief overview.
Maryland property crimes can consist of several definitions:
- Vandalism and criminal mischief. If the actions are deemed to be intentional or reckless, it is usually referred to as vandalism. If there is damage or injury as a result of someone’s action or inaction, it is usually considered criminal mischief. The amount of damage done will determine the charge and/or punishment. Anything from a first- or second-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony. Punishment can be anything from two months in jail with a $500 fine up to five years in prison and/or up to a $5000 fine.
- Trespassing. Entering a person’s land or property without their permission constitutes trespassing. Consequences for trespassing will vary depending upon the extent, if any, damage done to the property.
- Arson. If someone sets a property on fire deliberately, this is the criminal act of arson. A first- or second-degree conviction of arson is very serious and can result in being convicted of a felony, ordered to pay a large fine, and possibly prison time that can be as drastic as sentenced to life depending upon the nature of the crime.
- Burglary. To enter a building with the intent to commit a crime constitutes burglary. A second-degree burglary conviction may demand a prison sentence of up to fifteen years and a very large fine. Add armed or aggravated burglary and the charge will be a first-degree felony. This can be punishable sometimes with a life in prison sentence and a large fine
What is the difference between burglary and robbery in Maryland?
The definition of burglary is entering a building illegally with the specific intent to commit a theft. It is considered burglary even if the owner/victim is not present.
Robbery is the taking or the attempt to take another’s property using force, intimidation, or threat. The victim needs to be present at the time for the crime to be called a robbery.
What is the difference between larceny and theft in Maryland?
Larceny is considered a type of theft. The charge is considered larceny if someone takes property such as goods or services without the permission of the owner and takes the property for personal use. Petty larceny is considered a misdemeanor when the property taken is worth a small amount, usually under $100. Property stolen valued over $100 would be considered grand larceny. Theft occurs when property is taken from an owner without permission or consent with the intent to sell or use. As a Maryland criminal lawyer can explain, theft is considered a generic term that describes all property crimes.
If you find yourself charged with any of these crimes, contact an experienced and knowledgeable criminal lawyer to help you develop an effective defense. Even being accused of a property crime can cause serious damage to your reputation and a conviction will entail long-term consequences that may include prison time, therefore it is important to contact a criminal lawyer Baltimore MD residents trust as soon as you are charged.