If you live close to state lines, you probably cross them frequently. Hence, if accused of stealing something, it is crucial to understand the rules applicable to where the alleged event took place.
States generally determine the crime based on the value of the property taken, although the use of weapons or violence could make your situation much worse.
Maryland has five categories of theft
The least serious is petty theft, where the value does not exceed $100. The punishment will not exceed a $500 fine and 90 days in prison. The most serious category is felony theft, where the value exceeds $100,000. It could lead to 25 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. In addition, you may have to compensate any merchant you are judged to have stolen from – up to twice the property value in some cases.
Virginia calls theft larceny
The least serious crime is petit larceny which is a misdemeanor. This applies when less than $5 was stolen directly from a person or less than $200 was stolen indirectly. It can lead to up to 12 months in jail and up to $2,500 of fines.
Grand larceny applies if either amount was more. This time the maxim prison sentence could run as high as 20 years.
Any theft or larceny charges can have serious short and long-term consequences. Remember, the associated criminal record could affect employment chances and your good standing in the community. Getting legal help to understand your defense options gives you the best chance of avoiding a conviction or at least limiting the consequences.