Removing the cuffs on criminal cases.
While we all know that you are innocent until proven guilty, an arrest in and of itself impacts relationships, family, and employment responsibilities. If you do not qualify for a public defender, the cost of mounting a defense can be substantial. Resolving a case could involve paying fines or restitution, along with a period of probation or even incarceration. Stress will be significant. In particular, studies have shown a link between post-traumatic stress and stays in prison.
Criminal Law encompasses many categories from serious traffic matters to murder. In Maryland, misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, but there is no absolute distinction between the two regarding maximum prison sentences. While most misdemeanor penalties encompass a fine and up to one year in prison, there are notable exceptions, such as second degree assault, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and/or a $2,500.00 fine.
Felonies typically carry more significant prison sentences than misdemeanors. However, the collateral effects of felony convictions are severe. For instance, the length of probation and the conditions imposed on you will increase significantly for a felony conviction. There will be an impact, or prohibition, on voting rights, the ability to obtain firearms, and on certain licensing requirements. Lastly, while a conviction for any crime may affect work opportunities, a felony conviction bars employment in many fields, such as personal care and respite care.
When someone accuses you of assault, this is one of the most frightening charges that you could face. What may have started as a mere disagreement with a spouse or family member suddenly imperils your freedom. In most instances, an assault charge carries with it a “no contact” restriction with the complainant.
Criminal charges for drug possession are misdemeanors in Maryland, with different penalties depending on the drug in question. Marijuana possession of less than 10 grams is a civil offense where you will receive a citation, though an amount of 10 grams or greater can be charged criminally with maximum penalties of 1 year in jail or a $1,000.00 fine.
DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
DUI charges threaten your liberty with possible jail time of 1 year for the first offense. You also could accumulate points that could result in a loss of your license. If you refuse a breath test or record a Blood Alcohol Content reading of .08 or more, which could happen with only two drinks, you will need to request a hearing within ten days or the MVA will suspend your license.
Juvenile Court covers various proceedings relating to the rehabilitation, care, and protection of children, including juvenile delinquency proceedings, Child In Need of Assistance (CINA), and Termination of Parental Rights (TPR).
Theft charges cover a variety of circumstances, from petty shoplifting to complicated schemes to defraud others. Maryland categorizes theft charges into ranges based upon the value of the items that were alleged to have been stolen
If you have been convicted of a crime, you have 10 days in which to ask for a new trial or 90 days from the imposition of a sentence to ask the court to modify its sentence.
After your trial concludes, if you are not satisfied with the result, there may be a legal basis for an appeal. On the other hand, you may be perfectly content with the trial judge’s decision, but you may find yourself in the appellate courts after the other side notes an appeal.