MISDEMEANOR VERSUS FELONY OFFENSES
In order to determine whether a crime is a misdemeanor versus a felony, you must look at the assigned penalty in the Annotated Code of Maryland. The legislature specifies in the penalty of each offense whether it is classifies as a misdemeanor or a felony offense. Despite the statutory difference, a conviction of a misdemeanor or a felony will present serious consequences beyond incarceration. For example, a criminal conviction will make it difficult to obtain or keep a job, get a loan, obtain housing, or gain college admission.
Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, it is important to hire an attorney with specific experience in handling criminal cases.
Misdemeanor offenses are crimes that are designated such by the Maryland legislature and are often handled at the District Court level. Some of the most commonly charged misdemeanors in Maryland include:
- Theft under $100 and Theft under $1,500
- Second Degree Assault
- Possession of Marijuana over 10 grams
- Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance
- Driving on a Suspended/Revoked License
- Driving Without a License
- Disorderly Conduct
- Prostitution or Solicitation
- Failure to Obey a Police Officer
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Hit & Run)
- Fourth Degree Sex Offense
All of the above listed crimes can be penalized with incarceration and probation up to three years if handled in the District Court.
Felonies are usually handled in at the Circuit Court level in the Maryland Court system. The prison sentences resulting from a felony conviction can range from a suspended sentence to a lifetime of incarceration. For those released upon parole or completion of a sentence, parole or probation can have stringent requirements for compliance. The probationary period can be up to five years if handled in the Circuit Court. The consequences can last a lifetime, for example, mandatory sex offender registration. Some of the most commonly charges felonies in Maryland include:
- First Degree Assault
- Drug Distribution and Drug Trafficking
- Theft Over $1,500
- Wearing, Carrying or Transporting a Handgun
- Unlawful Possession of Regulated Firearm
- First, Second, and Third Degree Burglary
- First, Second, and Third Degree Sex Offense