Can a 17yr old in the state of Maryland go to jail for juvenile theft under $500.00 (285.92)?

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Can a 17yr old in the state of Maryland go to jail for juvenile theft under $500.00 (285.92)?

was recently caught stealing a few items from a store what was in my bag was about 80.00 worth of stuff in the cart all equaled 285.92 am i supposed 2 pay for all items or just what was in my bag and can i go to jail for this?

Asked on May 1, 2009 under Criminal Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Yes but unlikely.  Under Maryland Criminal law, the penalty for a theft charge is related to the value of the goods allegedly stolen.  If the value of the stolen property is over $500, then the crime is a felony.  If the value of the property is under $500, then the crime is a misdemeanor.  In addition to the possibility of jail time, Maryland law requires the property to be restored to the owner or that the owner be compensated for the value of the stolen property, i.e. restitution. 

 From the facts you presented  (ie some items were still in cart) I'm going to assume that you got stopped before you left the store therefore the amount of the items stolen would be $80.00.  In Maryland the maximum you could get would be 90 days.  If however you were stopped outside of the store than the total would be $285.92 and the maximum you would get could be 18 months with a $500.00 fine.

As a practical matter if your record is otherwise clean and given the fact that you are a juvenile you might well get off with, restitution and "diversion".  Diversion is offered to first time offenders and instead of jail time community service or the like is imposed.  In time the charges could be dismissed.  You could also at a later date apply to clear your record, a process known as "expungement".

If you get really lucky the store might actually decline to file charges but don't count on it.

Good luck and DO NOT DO THIS AGAIN.  A second offense won't be handled lightly especially if you are over 18 at the time.


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