Shoplifting Laws in Maryland: Learn About Maryland Shoplifting Laws

by Ethel M.

Maryland Shoplifting Laws, Shoplifting Laws Maryland

What Are Shoplifting Laws in Maryland

Shoplifting has become a menace in the last few years in the USA. The rate at which the crime is growing is nothing short of a big challenge for authorities to control. One research has found out that on an average 55,000 shoplifting incidents occur across the country every day.

The retailers and shop owners lose around 13 billion dollars every year amounting to 35 million dollars per day. The main targets of offenders of shoplifting are electronic goods, cosmetics, groceries, and clothing. Different states have enacted strict laws to control the menace of shoplifting. The laws though similar in nature, mainly differ in the amount of punishment given to the offenders depending on the cost of the goods they stole from the shops and departmental stores.

The state of Maryland has considered shoplifting as a serious crime and punishes the offenders with hefty fines and jail term. It has also given the right to shop owners to sue offenders in the court to extract damages.

Maryland Shoplifting Laws

Definition of Shoplifting in Maryland

The Maryland State law defines shoplifting as a crime wherein the offender knowingly and willfully takes the possession of the property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property or conceals, uses, damages or abandons the property in a state, which deprives or probably deprives the owner of the property.

According to this law, even if a person conceals or hides merchandise inside the shop also considered an offender even though he wouldn’t have made it out with the merchandise. In that case, the onus of proving not guilty of the crime falls on the offender.

The Maryland State law further states that the people who buy stolen merchandise are also liable for punishment if they buy the goods even after knowing they have been stolen or intend to deprive the owner of the property in any illegal manner.
Shoplifting Laws Maryland

The statutes of Maryland criminal code Section 7-104 and Maryland Courts and Judicial proceedings code Section 5-402 (General Theft and Shopkeeper’s Privilege) have clear rules when and how to punish an offender of Shoplifting. Some of the highlights are as given below.

1. Less than $100 – If the value of stolen merchandise is less than $100 it is considered a misdemeanor and the offender is fined up to $500 with imprisonment up to 90 days.

2. Between $100 and $1000 – This offense is also considered as a misdemeanor with fines up to $500 and imprisonment for up to 18 months.
3. Less than $100 with two or more prior convictions – This is a misdemeanor with fines up to $5000 and imprisonment of five years.

4. Between $1000 and $10,000 – This is considered a felony with fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to ten years.

5. Between $10,000 and $100,000 – This is a felony which attracts fine up to $15,000 and imprisonment up to 15 years.

6. Above $100,000 – This is a felony which attracts fine up to $25,000 and imprisonment up to 25 years.

In all the above-mentioned cases, the offender has to give back the merchandise or the money amounting to the value of the merchandise to the owner. 

The offenders or the parents or guardians of the offenders in cases, if they are juvenile, are civilly liable to the victims and the victimized owners can choose to sue the offenders in the court if they feel their merchandise has been damaged beyond replacement or not recovered from the offender. The penalty ranges from a minimum of $50 to a maximum of $1000.

The state of Maryland offers diversion and probation programs for the first time and low-key shoplifting offenses. So if you have been accused of shoplifting then it is better to consult a lawyer so that you can explore the option of diversion program instead of a fine or jail term.

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