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What Should I Do If I'm Arrested For Shoplifting In Maryland ?

Quite obviously, any criminal conviction can have lifelong and lasting implications. It goes without saying that possessing a criminal record can have a devastating impact on the educational or employment prospects of an individual.

A theft conviction is one of those blemishes on a record that can simply haunt an individual for the rest of their life. 

Under Maryland law, there is a hierarchy of criminal offenses starting with municipal or local offenses and potentially county level offenses. The next level, Maryland state level offenses, the most common form of criminal charge in Maryland, are graded from misdemeanors through felonies. Within those various gradations of offenses, there are some crimes that simply carry a stigma or a lasting label for those charged with and convicted of the offense, beyond that associated with merely “having a record”. Certainly, there are the most serious of all crimes involving  death or serious harm to another person- things like murder or manslaughter. However, within the category of crimes that are perhaps seen as less significant- those involving property rights or property laws- theft stands out as being a crime than has true lasting consequences, in my experience. Theft, by its very nature, incorporates concepts of dishonesty, and surreptitious, sneaking conduct or a concealment of wrong doing.   

Once the judgment of conviction is entered, it is impossible to put back in the euphemistic bag. By way of example, a history of theft maybe a reason to have one's testimony disbelieved in court. That may or may not be of particular import to one so convicted. Other consequences most certainly will be.

Upon becoming a convicted thief, the individual will find their application or consideration for position of trust declined.

Obviously, this type of record  can be impossible to explain away in a job interview. Some criminal offenses, even very serious ones like DUI, may be easier for a potential employer to overlook than a theft conviction. An experienced criminal defense attorney can assist you in laying the groundwork for a potential disposition short of, or in lieu of, a conviction. Early negotiations with the prosecution could potentially lead to an arrangement, satisfactory to the State of Maryland, that doesn't result in a lasting criminal record. I’ve observed over the years that many judges view theft as a very serious offense, even when the amounts involved are relatively small. This is particularly true, in my opinion, in cases of alleged employee theft. A thoroughly researched and prepared defense strategy can  convince a judge that a disposition of the case -short of conviction- is the most appropriate outcome.