With the holiday season rapidly approaching, many people start to think about shopping for Christmas and Channukah presents for their friends and family. Although this is the season of giving, some people have a different idea when it comes to gifts. No doubt, some people think about how many people they want to give presents to, and they consider taking a risk to get all of the items on their list—by shoplifting. If you entertain such thoughts, stop.

Shoplifting is a frequently used term generally understood to mean stealing from a retail store. Most state shoplifting laws define shoplifting, at their most basic, as taking goods from a retail store without paying for the goods and having no intention of paying for them. Shoplifting also includes switching price tags and other such tactics in an effort to buy something for less than the legitimate price.

Shoplifting is a serious problem year-round, but the problem really ramps up during the holiday season. In 2012, retailers lost nearly $35 billion to shoplifters. By 2016, shoplifting and employee theft cost U.S. retailers nearly $50 billion.

Given the magnitude of losses, retailers are serious about recovering anything they can. Shoplifters frequently face prosecution, and civil recovery also is a possibility. In civil recovery, store owners demand payment outside of the criminal system to recover more of their losses.

Shoplifting Penalties in Maryland Are Severe

Maryland has some of the stiffest shoplifting laws in the nation. Penalties can add up quickly, and shoplifters can easily find themselves facing major fines, jail time, and even felony charges. Penalties are tied to the value of the goods stolen:

  • For goods of less than $100, a shoplifter in Maryland can face 90 days in jail.
  • For goods valued at more than $100 but less than $1,000, the penalties can include 18 months in jail and $1,000 in fines.
  • For goods valued at $1,000 or more, felony charges apply and the penalties rise to a potential 15 years in prison and as much as $25,000 in fines.

And that isn’t all. Like most states, Maryland allows civil recovery. Retailers can sue shoplifters for damages. Maryland law allows a retailer to recover double the retail price of the stolen item, as much as $1,000, in addition to recovering the stolen item. Obviously, the potential costs and penalties necessitate legal assistance in dealing with an arrest for shoplifting.

If You Were Charged With Shoplifiting in Baltimore, Contact The Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice Jr., LLC

If you were charged with shoplifting in the Baltimore area, consult with a criminal defense attorney to determine your options. You might face considerable financial losses as well as major jail time. The Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice Jr., LLC, can help. Reach us at (410) 694-7291 or through our online contact form.