Felonies vs. Misdemeanors in Maryland
When you’ve been charged with a crime in Maryland, the seriousness of the allegation matters. Depending on the charges and the circumstances of your case, a crime may either be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor. While, by statute, misdemeanors are considered lesser offenses than felonies, the consequences of some misdemeanor convictions can be grave.
At Jonathan Fellner, Attorney at Law, we understand that our clients have a lot to lose if convicted of even the most minor criminal offense. Felonies bring serious consequences that can include heavy fines and jail time, but underestimating a misdemeanor charge could be a mistake. What may seem like a minor charge can also have steep repercussions that include a permanent mark on your criminal record.
Felonies vs. Misdemeanors
Knowing whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor is an important distinction. It may seem simple to figure out, but there may be factors present that can muddy the waters. For example, a crime that is considered a misdemeanor under state law may be considered a felony under federal law. There may also be aggravating factors in a case that elevate what is normally a misdemeanor crime to felony status.
Felonies and misdemeanors used to be distinguished by their penalties, with jail sentences of more than one year for felony crimes and sentences of less than one year for misdemeanors. This is no longer the case, where there are now some misdemeanors that have longer jail sentences than some felony convictions. For example, a 2nd-degree assault charge is a misdemeanor that could lead to as much as ten years in prison while some drug possession charges that are classified as felonies may have 5-year prison sentences.
Felonies in Maryland
It’s vital that defendants facing felony charges in Maryland have a skilled legal representative in their corner from the beginning. The state’s legal process can be confusing at best, and an aggressive Maryland criminal defense attorney can protect your rights while advocating for the most favorable legal outcome.
Examples of felony charges that attorney Jonathan Fellner has helped clients defend against include:
- Murder charges include first degree, second degree, and felony murder. When you are charged with taking another person’s life, it’s imperative that you receive the guidance and legal expertise of a Maryland violent crime defense attorney.
- Drug Crimes. Serious drug crimes that involve cultivation, distribution, sale, and possession over a certain amount of controlled substances are considered felonies in Maryland. A Maryland drug crimes attorney can help you understand your charges and work on a case strategy for a strong defense.
- Sex Crimes. Felony sex crimes in the state of Maryland can carry a penalty of up to life in prison. These crimes include first-degree rape, child sexual abuse, and first-degree sexual assault. A skilled criminal Maryland defense attorney may be able to help you avoid some of the harshest repercussions of these charges, which includes lifetime registration as a sex offender.
- Major theft crimes such as burglary, robbery, armed robbery, and carjacking are felonies in Maryland. A strong defense may be able to secure a case dismissal, reduced charges, or a beneficial plea deal.
- Weapons Offenses. Maryland has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, so violation of those laws can have severe consequences. If you’ve been arrested on weapons charges, it’s essential that you consult with an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Getting arrested and convicted of a felony in Maryland can have serious consequences that include:
- You will receive greater scrutiny on immigration applications.
- Most Maryland felonies are tried in Circuit Court, which is more serious.
- Felony convictions strip you of your civil rights.
- A felony conviction can prevent you from getting a job, getting into college, getting a mortgage, renting an apartment, and working in certain professions.
Misdemeanors in Maryland
Misdemeanor offenses in Maryland can also be quite serious, with penalties that may include heavy fines, jail time, probation, and points on your driver’s license. Just because a charge is labeled as a misdemeanor, don’t underestimate its potential impact on your life.
Examples of misdemeanor charges that attorney Jonathan Fellner has helped clients defend against include:
- Traffic Offenses. Depending on the nature of your traffic offense, you could face escalating charges that will expose you to fines, license suspension, jail time, and costly points on your license. Attorney Jonathan Fellner vigorously defends clients in these cases.
- Petty Theft. Crimes of shoplifting and petty theft may seem minor, but a conviction can lead to 90 days or more in jail in addition to other penalties. A Maryland misdemeanor defense attorney is the best choice to represent your rights in these matters.
- Assault. Even second-degree assault in Maryland, while a misdemeanor, can send a defendant to jail for several years with a guilty verdict. If you are charged with any type of assault crime, seek the advice of legal counsel immediately.
- DUI’s in Maryland may be misdemeanors, but they have serious consequences. Make sure that you only trust a skilled Maryland DUI defense attorney to vigorously defend your freedom and protect your right to continue driving while your case is pending.
- Domestic Violence. Domestic violence could be a felony or misdemeanor depending on the charges and circumstances. Because of the nature of these allegations, the stakes are high, and families could remain separated while a case is pending. A qualified Maryland domestic violence attorney can explain your options and move your case to a quick resolution.
Felony and Misdemeanor Criminal Defense in Maryland
If you’ve been arrested for a felony or misdemeanor crime in Maryland, your future could be in jeopardy. Some offenses that seem minor at the time have a lasting impact on your ability to find work, drive a car, and even secure a place to live. At Jonathan Fellner, Attorney at Law, we will help you understand the possible penalties associated with your case and thoroughly explain your legal options.
As an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney, Jonathan Fellner will aggressively defend your rights and take every measure possible to protect your freedom. His years of experience and contacts in the Maryland criminal justice system allow him to pursue the most favorable outcome on behalf of each client. Contact our Rockville, MD office now at ((301) 602-0835.
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