Misdemeanor and Felony Charges in Anne Arundel County
In Anne Arundel County, like all counties in Maryland, misdemeanor and felony charges are treated differently. From the start of the legal process to the finish of the trial, an Anne Arundel County defense attorney can act as an advocate at your side. An attorney may help fight for the best outcome and provide counsel to you about the different processes of misdemeanor and felony charges in Anne Arundel County.
Both processes start with court orders, whether it is a summons served, or a warrant issued. Misdemeanors and felonies both potentially carry the threat of incarceration and should not be taken lightly. Contact a lawyer as soon as you are aware of a charge to best protect your rights.
A person charged with a misdemeanor in Anne Arundel County will receive a summons or a warrant. Once they are officially served with a document and the charging paperwork, at some point, usually a few months later, they will get a court date at which time they will appear before a judge with the prosecutor present and any witnesses in court to address the charges. The most common misdemeanors in Anne Arundel are for drug possession, theft, assault, and DUIs.
If a person is charged with a felony offense in Anne Arundel, notification will most likely come by way of a warrant rather than a summons. And, the process and procedures are different because virtually all felonies must be heard in the circuit court in Annapolis. The potential for incarceration and consequences are far more serious, potentially affecting their freedom.
Felonies frequently seen in Anne Arundel County are first-degree assault, robbery, theft of something with a value of more than $1,500, and offenses of drug distribution or possession with intent to distribute.
Felony Charges vs. Misdemeanor Charges
Aside from maximum penalties and likely longer sentences, the entire procedure in court is different between felony and misdemeanor charges. A misdemeanor can typically be heard in district court, but felonies cannot be resolved at that level. Generally, they must be transferred to the circuit court for more formal and higher-level proceedings. This includes the possibility of a jury trial, which cannot take place in a district court where most misdemeanors are resolved.
First Court Date
There are many types of first court dates in Anne Arundel County, so the process differs depending on the case. Generally, it may be the person’s trial date when they must resolve a charge. Sometimes, it may just be a preliminary date where they are advised of certain rights, given their formal court date.
The first thing a person should do after being charged with a crime is to speak to an attorney immediately, regardless of whether or not they have been served with a summons, or they know there is a warrant that has not been served.
Contact an Anne Arundel Attorney About Misdemeanor and Felony Charges
A talented lawyer might be your first call as soon as you are made aware of an impending misdemeanor or felony charge. Both misdemeanor and felony charges in Anne Arundel County carry significant penalties, but they have different processes. Consult an attorney today to learn more about the differences between these two levels of charges and your rights.