Criminal charges in the state of Maryland are classified into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are the lesser of the two categories and carry less severe punishments. A misdemeanor is a crime that can be punished by a maximum of twelve months in a count jail facility. Felonies are more serious with imprisonment anywhere from one year in a state prison to life in prison. Some circumstances in some states call for the death penalty for capital crimes that lie in the felony category.
Maryland misdemeanors are classified as first-degree misdemeanors and second-degree misdemeanor. First-degree offenses are the more serious of misdemeanors while second-degree offenses are the least severe classification of punishments in the state of Maryland.
Most states break their misdemeanors and felonies into alphabetical classifications. Maryland only breaks them into different degrees with different severities of each crime in each degree. These misdemeanors include driving with a revoked license, drinking and driving, prostitution, petty theft, reckless driving, public drunkenness, vandalism, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, failure to appear in court, and trespassing.
Punishments for these crimes can include incarceration in a county jail facility and a fine or restitution. The amount of time a person is held depends on the crime committed and the degree in which the crime is classified. Loss of certain privileges can often follow misdemeanors. These can include but are not limited to loss of a driver's license, loss of a professional license, loss of the ability to hold public office, and termination from public employment or government employment. Penalty convictions for misdemeanor crimes include community service, probation, severe fines, up to twelve months in a county jail, citations, and mandatory classes. All misdemeanors are given the issuance of a citation that will then be followed by a punishment. A citation is the summoning that is issued to the offending individual for the location and time in which to appear in court.
Virginia, Massachusetts, and Maryland
The terms and circumstances for misdemeanors and felonies are the same in the states of Virginia, Massachusetts, and Maryland as they are in close proximity to one another. Misdemeanors in these three states can include petty theft, public intoxication, prostitution, trespassing, vandalism, simple assault, drug possession, driving under the influence, and many others. These crimes become misdemeanors as they are only minor crimes. In contrast aggravated assault is a severe felony, which usually involves assault with the use of a deadly weapon with the intent to severely injury another individual. Simple assault is a misdemeanor crime as the injury is less severe.
Maryland law defines the possession, distribution, and manufacture of controlled substances to be both misdemeanors and felonies. The classification of the crime depends on the amount of the controlled substance in possession. Repeated offenders and dealers are often charged as felons rather than misdemeanants.
Expungement in the state of Maryland is only possible through the completion of the Petition for Expungement and the General Waiver and Release form, the filing the this petition to the required authorities, and payment of the filing fees. Only a few crimes are eligible for expungement in Maryland as such it is advised to consult a criminal defense attorney beforehand. See also:
Maryland Felony External link (opens in new window)
Maryland Expungement External link (opens in new window)
Maryland Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)