Misdemeanor and Felony Offenses in Maryland

In Maryland there are two types of criminal offenses: misdemeanors and felonies. Below a Maryland criminal defense attorney discusses each type of offense and the associated penalties. To find out which offense you may be facing and begin building a defense call and schedule a consultation today.

Misdemeanor Offenses in Maryland

In most jurisdictions in Maryland, misdemeanors will be heard in the District Court and an individual will receive a court date notification by mail anywhere between four to six weeks after they were charged. That court date will then be another four to six weeks from the notice date. By the time the court date comes around the case may be resolved, or it may be postponed either by the defense or by the prosecution, so that either side can gather additional evidence or more effectively prepare their case.

Penalties For Misdemeanor Offenses

Misdemeanors penalties can include incarceration, fines, and probation as potential penalties. Additionally, misdemeanor offenses can also include points on your driver’s license if it is a driving offense.

Felony Offenses in Maryland

If an individual is charged with a felony, then they will be arraigned. They will have a judicial officer explain to them what they are being charged with, what the maximum legal penalties are and that they have the right to an attorney. That case, because it is a felony charge, will be in the Circuit Court rather than the District Court.

An individual in the Circuit Court can have a jury trial, but they can also have a bench trial. Just because the individual is charged with a felony, does not necessarily mean that their case will be heard by a jury.

Penalties For Felony Offenses

Penalties for felonies are much more significant than penalties for misdemeanors and as a result include longer jail time, higher fines, and longer periods of probation.

What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Criminal Fine?

Not paying a fine that was issued as a penalty is considered a violation of probation, which the court has a few different ways of dealing with. The judge may order a one-day probation to require you to pay your fines and then probation is complete or the court could find you in violation and order some period of incarceration in lieu of paying the fine.

The court can also grant you a disposition of Probation Before Judgment to keep the conviction off your criminal record, they may strike the fine against you or strike the Probation Before Judgment.

Can a Criminal Charge Affect Your Immigration Status?

A criminal charge and a criminal conviction can affect your immigration status. For specific details you should seek advice from a qualified immigration attorney as to the nature of the charge and the nature of your status in the country.