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Annapolis Criminal Lawyer
Fighting a criminal offense can be frightening and intimidating, especially to someone who has never navigated the criminal justice system. Being arrested, charged with a criminal offense, and appearing in court, differs greatly in reality from what courtroom dramas on television portray, so it is not a process that most are familiar with or understand.
An experienced Annapolis criminal defense attorney is both familiar with the local process and is able to navigate the system while ensuring that your rights are protected.
The type of cases that can result in criminal charges being filed can range from comparatively minor crimes, such as reckless driving or shoplifting, to serious offenses, such as sex crimes or murder. While the penalty for any criminal offense corresponds to the nature of the charge, even a relatively nominal period of incarceration for a misdemeanor offense may result in a loss of employment and housing.
Crimes in Annapolis are not statutorily classified as misdemeanor or felonies, but charges that are punishable with less than a year incarceration, fines that do not exceed $1,000, or both, are commonly considered misdemeanors.
When the penalty is greater, the charge is considered a felony, which is further penalized by a loss of the right to vote and own a firearm. Regardless of whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony, it does become a part of your criminal record, which can impact your opportunities after serving your sentence.
Court Procedures in Annapolis
Criminal cases in Annapolis may be heard in district court or circuit court. The District Court in Annapolis has jurisdiction in criminal cases that are classified as misdemeanors and felonies that are punishable with up to three years’ incarceration and fines exceeding $2,500.
If a party to the criminal case wants a jury trial, the case must be moved to circuit court; if the case remains in district court, it will be decided solely by a judge. The circuit court in Annapolis is the appropriate court for criminal offenses with penalties that are more severe than three years imprisonment.
There are two appellate courts in Maryland. The first appellate court is the Court of Special Appeals, which is located in Anne Arundel County, and is considered an intermediate appellate court. The judges in this court review cases that are appealed from circuit court. The Court of Appeals is the second appellate court in Maryland and is the state’s highest court.
There, the judges hear cases solely by a petition process, after which the judges decide whether or not to hear a case. There are few exceptions to that rule, such as death penalty cases, at which point the court is obligated to hear the case. It is not often that criminal cases will continue to the Court of Appeals.
Contact an Annapolis Criminal Attorney Today
If your freedom is in jeopardy following criminal charges being filed in Annapolis, contact an experienced local attorney who can begin helping you build a robust and strong defense against the charges that have been levied against you.