MISDEMEANOR V. FELONY
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. Felony convictions generally have a higher maximum penalty than misdemeanors. 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 preserve 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 $1,000
- Second Degree Assault
- Disorderly Conduct
- Failure to Obey a Police Officer
- Prostitution or Solicitation
- Driving Under the Influence
- Driving While Impaired
- Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
- Driving Without a License
- Possession of Marijuana over 10 grams
- Possession Not Marijuana
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 $1,000
- Gun Crimes
- Most Sex Crimes
- First, Second, and Third Degree Burglary