Articles Posted in Misdemeanor

Criminal charges fall within two commonly known and distinct categories:  misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors generally include less serious offenses and carry a less severe sentence than felonies. Despite the differences, both types of criminal charges are serious matters to be addressed as soon as a person is arrested. Keep in mind that there may be many different ways to respond to a criminal arrest or charge, depending on the circumstances of the case. In order to be sure you are presenting the strongest defense for your particular charges, it is critical that you contact an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

In any criminal case, it is important to pay close attention to the specific charges. In a recent case, Counts v. State of Maryland, the State charged the defendant with five counts of burglary and other related crimes. The issue in this case concerns Count 4, which charged the defendant with stealing property having a value of less than $1,000. But on the day of the trial, citing a typographical error, the prosecutor asked the court to amend Count 4 to read in pertinent part:  “theft of at least a thousand but less than $10,000.” The defendant’s attorney objected, pointing out that the amendment changed the charged offense from a misdemeanor to a felony. And since felonies typically carry longer sentences, the potential incarceration went from 18 months to 10 years.

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The seriousness of a criminal arrest cannot be overstated, no matter what the severity of the crime. An arrest record or conviction can affect a person’s life in a variety of ways for years to come. And while a felony conviction is typically accompanied by a lengthier sentence and possibly more stigma later on, it is equally important to defend against a misdemeanor charge. If you have been arrested or charged with any type of crime, it is critical that you take steps to prepare a strong defense as early in the process as possible. An experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney will work to protect and preserve your rights at each stage in the proceeding.

The State of Maryland prosecutes misdemeanors and felony cases alike. The laws governing these offenses are codified by section within the state code and set forth certain elements that must be established before a person’s rights can be taken away. In many cases, a jury will determine whether the State has proven that the defendant violated the law within the particular facts and circumstances of a case. This is where a defense attorney comes in:  to present a solid defense, either negating an element of the crime, or reducing the severity of the charges.

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