As many people know, there are two general types of crimes a person can commit: Misdemeanors and Felonies. Misdemeanor crimes are those crimes that are not as serious compared to felonies. Naturally, these crimes also come with the penalties and sentences that are not as severe compared to those given for felonies. Still, misdemeanor charges should not be taken any less seriously. Any person would want to protect themselves from the possible consequences of a conviction. To take all necessary steps to avoid these, a person charged with a misdemeanor should seek the advice and counsel of a Maryland criminal lawyer. An attorney understands the many effects that a conviction for any misdemeanor could have on your life in the near and distant future.
Misdemeanor offenses are crimes that carry the possibility of up to one year in jail as well as penalties including fines, probation, community service, driving restrictions, and more. While a misdemeanor conviction generally are less severe than for those of a felony, they can seriously damage your ability to find or keep a job, may lead to suspension or cancellation of professional licenses or certifications, and have lasting ripple effect in other areas of a persons life. Some offenses commonly charged as misdemeanors in Maryland include:
- Drinking and Driving
- Driving with a suspended license
- Reckless driving
- Petty theft
- Public drunkenness
- Resisting arrest
- Failure to appear in court
- Disorderly conduct
A majority of misdemeanors charges will be heard in the District Court of Maryland. A charging document is filed to enter the charge into the courts records. Examples of a charging document are things such as a hand-written summons, a traffic ticket or a more formal statement of charged filed by a law enforcement officer or private citizen. Some charges will even result in an arrest warrant. Still, most persons charged with misdemeanors are neither arrested nor held on any bail. An officer will often just issue a citation, sometimes with the requirement that the defendant present himself/herself to a court commissioner within a certain period of time merely make contact with the defendant without formal booking or arrest.
At trial, a defendant facing misdemeanor charges may in some cases have a right to a jury trial. If the maximum penalty is greater than 90 days in jail, a person may have that charge heard before a jury. In this instance, the case will be sent to the Circuit Couty because District Court does not have jury jurisdiction. A jury trial can often be used for tactical reasons that the attorney has thought of during preparation. If the defendant changes his mind, he may waive his right in future proceedings.
Our Maryland criminal lawyers treat these cases with due diligence, exploring every avenue for the strongest possible defense.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or any criminal charge, it is important for you to contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. Learn why HERE. In order for you to receive the best representation, you should act quickly to begin this process. CONTACT OUR OFFICE in Columbia, MD to discuss your options with our Criminal Defense Attorney. Call our office for your FREE consultation.