Common Defenses Used in Maryland Theft Cases

When facing theft charges in Maryland, understanding the available defenses is crucial for mounting a strong legal strategy. The state’s criminal justice system recognizes various defenses that individuals can utilize to challenge theft allegations. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most common defenses used in Maryland theft cases. Remember, if you find yourself in such a situation, consulting with a qualified criminal defense attorney is essential to ensure your rights are protected and to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome.Common Defenses Used in Maryland Theft Cases

Lack of Intent:

One of the primary defenses in theft cases is proving a lack of intent. The prosecution must demonstrate that you had the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property. If you can show that you genuinely believed the property was yours or that you had no intention to permanently take it, it could be a compelling defense strategy.

Mistaken Identity:

Mistaken identity is another defense strategy used in theft cases. This defense argues that you were not the person who committed the theft and that there has been a case of mistaken identity. This defense relies on providing evidence such as alibis, witnesses, or surveillance footage to establish your innocence.


If you had the owner’s consent to take the property, it can be a strong defense in a theft case. Consent can be expressed or implied, and providing evidence that you had permission to possess or use the property can weaken the prosecution’s case against you.

Ownership Dispute:

In some cases, theft allegations can arise from a genuine dispute over ownership. If you genuinely believed that you had a legal right to possess the property or that you were the rightful owner, presenting evidence of ownership or supporting documents can form the basis of your defense.


Entrapment occurs when law enforcement induces or coerces an individual into committing a crime they would not have otherwise committed. If you can demonstrate that you were enticed or pressured by law enforcement to engage in the theft, it may be a valid defense.

Insufficient Evidence:

Challenging the prosecution’s evidence is a common defense strategy in theft cases. This can involve questioning the credibility of witnesses, disputing the accuracy of surveillance footage, or raising doubts about the chain of custody of the alleged stolen property. Insufficient evidence can lead to a weakened case or even a dismissal.

Constitutional Violations:

In some instances, a defense based on constitutional violations can be employed. This defense challenges the legality of the search and seizure conducted by law enforcement officers during the investigation. If it is determined that your Fourth Amendment rights were violated, such as an illegal search or arrest, any evidence obtained as a result may be deemed inadmissible in court, significantly weakening the prosecution’s case.


The defense of duress asserts that you were compelled to commit the theft under threats or coercion. If you can demonstrate that you reasonably believed that you faced imminent harm or danger if you did not commit the theft, it can be a viable defense. It is important to establish that there were no reasonable alternatives available to you other than engaging in the unlawful act.

Lack of Evidence of Control or Possession:

To secure a theft conviction, the prosecution must prove that you exercised control or possession over the stolen property. If there is insufficient evidence to establish your connection to the property or if there are doubts regarding your control or possession, it can weaken the case against you.

Age or Mental Capacity:

In certain cases, the defense may argue that the accused individual was underage or lacked the mental capacity to understand the nature of their actions. This defense is particularly relevant when dealing with minors or individuals with cognitive impairments. It aims to demonstrate that the accused lacked the necessary capacity to form criminal intent or comprehend the consequences of their actions.

Mounting a strong defense is crucial when facing theft charges in Maryland. By understanding these common defenses and working closely with an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can effectively challenge the allegations against you. Each case is unique, so it is important to consult with legal professionals who can provide personalized guidance and navigate the complexities of Maryland’s legal system. Remember, this blog post is not legal advice, and seeking professional legal counsel is essential to protect your rights and obtain the best possible outcome in your theft case

At Alpert Schreyer, LLC, we offer comprehensive legal support and guidance for individuals facing theft charges in Maryland. Our experienced team of attorneys specializes in criminal defense and can provide valuable assistance in utilizing common defenses used in Maryland theft cases. Here’s how we can help:

Legal Expertise:

We possess in-depth knowledge of Maryland’s criminal laws and theft statutes. Our attorneys stay updated on the latest legal developments and have extensive experience handling theft cases. This expertise allows us to analyze the specific details of your case, identify relevant defenses, and develop a strategic defense strategy tailored to your situation.

Case Evaluation:

We conduct a thorough evaluation of your theft case, carefully examining the facts and evidence. We assess the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case, allowing us to identify potential defense strategies that can be employed on your behalf. This comprehensive evaluation helps us determine the most effective defense approach to pursue.

Gathering Evidence:

Our firm has the necessary resources and investigative skills to gather evidence that supports your defense. We review surveillance footage, interview witnesses, examine documents, and conduct forensic analysis, if necessary. By obtaining and presenting compelling evidence, we aim to weaken the prosecution’s case against you.

Witness Preparation and Testimony:

If there are witnesses who can support your defense, we work closely with them. We conduct interviews, prepare witnesses for testimony, and ensure their statements are presented effectively in court. Strong witness testimony can bolster your defense and create doubt in the prosecution’s case.

Negotiation and Plea Bargaining:

We are skilled negotiators and can engage in plea-bargaining discussions on your behalf. We assess the strength of the prosecution’s case, explore potential weaknesses, and work to secure the most favorable outcome possible through negotiation. Our goal is to obtain a reduced charge or sentence that aligns with your best interests.

Courtroom Representation:

If your case proceeds to trial, our experienced trial attorneys provide aggressive and skilled courtroom representation. We present your defense strategy, challenge the prosecution’s evidence and witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, and argue your case persuasively to the judge or jury. Our aim is to achieve an acquittal or a favorable verdict in your theft case.

Appellate Representation:

In the event of an unfavorable outcome, we also handle appeals. We review the trial proceedings, identify potential errors or legal issues, and craft persuasive appellate arguments to seek a reversal or modification of the original decision.

At Alpert Schreyer, LLC, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive legal support throughout the process of defending against theft charges in Maryland. Our experienced attorneys offer expertise in common defenses used in theft cases, and we will guide you every step of the way. Partnering with us means having a committed team on your side, working diligently to protect your rights and pursue the best possible outcome in your theft case.