Maryland Misdemeanors and Felonies
In most states, the difference between misdemeanors and felonies is based on the potential penalty – misdemeanor crimes would result in up to a year in jail. In contrast, felonies would be punishable by more than one year of imprisonment. But, that is not the case in Maryland.
Traffic offenses, DUIs, certain assault charges, and domestic violence are among violations of Maryland law charged as misdemeanor offenses. Felonies, on the other hand, can include sex crimes, certain gun offenses, serious drug crimes, burglary, and robbery.
Penalties for some felony offenses in Maryland can include spending only a year in prison. At the same time, some misdemeanor charges carry sentences of imprisonment for up to 20 years. Also, an individual convicted of a misdemeanor may serve their penalty in state prison. However, that doesn’t mean felony crimes should be taken lightly.
Those facing felony criminal charges should bear in mind that having criminal defense attorneys by your side can make the difference between spending several years in prison and being found not guilty.
What Constitutes a Felony in Maryland?
Crimes that have historically always been felonies, such as rape, murder, and manslaughter, are also considered felonies in Maryland. In addition, felonies are also those crimes defined as felonies by the Maryland statute.
Felony Charges in Maryland
It can be confusing to understand what crimes can result in felony charges in Maryland. Although felonies and misdemeanors in Maryland may differ in severity, both can dramatically impact your everyday life.
Crimes that can be prosecuted as felony offenses in Maryland include murder, drug crimes, major theft crimes, rape, and other sex crimes. Although Maryland criminal law divides offenses into felonies and misdemeanors, there are further classifications depending on the severity of the alleged crime.
For example, Maryland has several levels of murder charges – first-degree, second degree and felony murder. However, all these crimes are felony crimes in Maryland, but they may carry different penalties. A conviction for first-degree murder can result in life without the possibility of parole or life in prison.
Can a State Felony Case Be Prosecuted on a Federal Level?
There are many different reasons why would a state crime be prosecuted on the federal level. Although the majority of criminal offenses in Maryland are prosecuted at the state level, the federal government has criminalized certain criminal conduct, making it an offense under federal law.
Drug crimes can sometimes be prosecuted on the federal level. If someone is charged with possession of a large quantity of drugs, that can usually be connected with interstate criminal activity, which falls under federal jurisdiction.
Criminal offenses that can be charged on the federal level also include crimes involving weapons, sex offenses, and white-collar crimes.
Maryland Felony Defense Attorney Explains Potential Penalties
The severity of the accusation is crucial when you are charged with a crime in Maryland. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a crime can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Penalties for Felonies in Maryland
In Maryland, the laws for every felony set the maximum penalty for a certain crime and, in some cases, a mandatory minimum penalty. Those convicted of felony crimes can expect penalties that are within these limits. But, it’s up to the judge to decide the actual penalty that would be imposed in any case. In addition, every judge typically considers the defendant’s criminal history and the circumstances of the committed crime.
In addition, Maryland has sentencing guidelines and worksheets that help the judge decide on the penalty. To make things more complicated, the law states that judges have to consider them but are not obligated to follow them.
The range of sentences for felony offenses in Maryland is from a year in jail to up to 25 years in prison.
The penalty for a first-degree assault that includes causing severe injury to the victim can result in up to 25 years in prison. A drug trafficking offense carries a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a steep fine of up to $100,000.
If an individual is convicted of theft of property valued at least $1,500 but less than $25,000, they could spend up to 5 years in jail, pay a fine and potentially restore the property to the owner.
Having a defense lawyer who knows the ins and outs of Maryland theft laws can help you navigate the legal system and, if possible, get less harsh penalties.
Sentencing for Maryland Felonies and Misdemeanors
After a felony conviction, sentences are typically served in state prison. But, if an imposed sentence involves 12 months or less of incarceration, it may be served in jail under certain conditions. If a sentence is, for example, between 12 and 18 months, the judge decides whether the sentence will be served in jail or state prison. Moreover, for some felony convictions, serving the penalty in jail rather than prison it’s specifically allowed.
Although some misdemeanor offenses, such as a first offense DUI, carry a penalty that can include up to a year in jail, second-degree assault charges can result in a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail. Machine gun possession or use for an aggressive purpose is also a misdemeanor crime, but it carries a penalty of up to 10 years of imprisonment.
Regardless of whether the charge you are facing is classified as a felony or misdemeanor, an experienced Maryland criminal lawyer can help fight them off. Attorney Paolo Gnocchi of Scrofano Law has experience representing clients in every one of these practice areas. She is prepared to aggressively pursue every option for your defense.
Can an Individual Who Is Convicted of a Felony Get Probation?
Whether there would be a sentencing alternative for the crime one was convicted of ultimately depends on the judge. A person convicted of a felony crime may get probation. But, in general, anyone who has used a weapon while committing a crime or committed a violent crime won’t be eligible for this type of sentencing alternative.
Help With Expungement from Felony Law Firm in Maryland
Typically, one’s criminal record in Maryland is available to the public. Although you don’t need the help of a Maryland criminal defense attorney when accessing public records, you may need their assistance with understanding court definitions and terms.
Some criminal records can be expunged or removed from the public view. If the crimes in question are felonies, certain requirements have to be met.
But, when it comes to felonies, convicted individuals may have to wait no less than 15 years after the conviction and completion of their sentences to request an expungement.
As an experienced criminal defense attorney, Paolo Gnocchi can answer anything you may want to know regarding this procedure. She has years of experience dealing with the Maryland criminal justice system and can assist if you want to know how to check Maryland criminal records or how to expunge them.
Felony Lawyers in Maryland Can Protect Your Future
A felony conviction can have long-term negative consequences even years after you have served your sentence.
If you’re facing a felony charge, reaching out to a Maryland felony lawyer is essential. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you gather evidence to support your case, represent you in court, and even negotiate a plea bargain if that is possible.
Facing criminal charges can be scary. That is why it’s beneficial to have an attorney in Maryland who can advocate for your rights and protect your future.
With Maryland criminal lawyer Paolo Gnocchi of Scrofano Law by your side, you can be confident regarding the outcome of your criminal case because you’ll know a dedicated legal representative has your best interests in mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does a Felony Lawyer Do?
A felony lawyer is defense is a criminal defense lawyer who focuses on protecting the rights of defendants accused of committing felony crimes. They help them build defenses that reduce the negative consequences of being arrested.
A skilled criminal defense attorney gathers evidence, questions witnesses, researches the circumstances of the crime, and analyzes the prosecution’s case. They may try to negotiate a deal that can include reduced charges and sentences, probation, as well as a bail reduction. A criminal defense attorney can also assess the potential sentences the defendant may face and review certain procedures such as search and seizure.
How Much Does a Felony Defense Attorney Cost in Maryland?
The average cost of a Maryland criminal defense lawyer can vary greatly. Various factors determine the pricing of legal services, including the seriousness of the charges, whether the case goes to trial, the lawyer’s location, the size of the firm, and the lawyer’s skills and experience.
You might also incur additional expenses when building your defense, including the costs of hiring investigators, expert witnesses, or psychologists. But, your goal in seeking representation should be to find the best Maryland criminal lawyer for your case and for you.
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