Brooklyn Park, MD Criminal Lawyers
An arrest is one of the most serious things that can happen to a person. Choosing the right criminal lawyer in Baltimore or the surrounding areas is one of the most important decisions you will make. It can mean the difference between freedom or incarceration, or the prospect of spending a relatively brief time in jail compared to a lengthy sentence. We fight to protect your rights and provide the defense you deserve. Never agree to a law enforcement interview before you have hired a criminal lawyer.
On a state or local level, you may be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. Any felony is punishable by at least one year in prison, but less serious misdemeanor charges can also mean jail time and considerable fines. In fact, certain misdemeanor convictions can put someone in jail for a decade. Maryland misdemeanor crimes include:
- Harassment – including the use of email to harass
- Second-degree assault – defined broadly as “harmful touching”
- Theft of property or services valued at less than $1,000
- Reckless driving
- Marijuana possession
- Carrying a concealed weapon
In general, legal proceedings for misdemeanors must take place within one year of the arrest, according to the state’s statutes of limitations. There are exceptions, however. Any misdemeanor punishable by incarceration does not have a limit for prosecution.
A felony is an extremely serious charge. Here are some examples and the possible consequences:
- Murder in the first degree – life in prison, perhaps without the possibility of parole. Maryland no longer has a death penalty.
- Manslaughter – up to 10 years in prison
- First-degree rape – life in prison, perhaps without a possibility of parole. Often minimum 25- year sentences are handed down.
- Carjacking – as much as 30 years in prison
- Aggravated assault – as much as 25 years in prison
- Distributing controlled dangerous substances – as much as five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Other crimes considered felonies include arson, burglary, robbery, and larceny. While the statute of limitations for some felonies vary, there is no limit for murder or manslaughter.
Anyone facing federal charges requires a seasoned federal Baltimore criminal defense lawyer. Federal charges may involve drug, weapons or fraud cases, or certain white-collar crimes. Federal sentencing guidelines are extremely strict for those convicted. Depending on the circumstances, an arrest by a local or state police officer can end up becoming a federal charge. Not only are federal charges generally more serious, but federal prosecutors have resources far beyond those available to state or local prosecutors. Even if you have dealt with local or state prosecutors in the past, a federal crime is on an entirely different level. In Maryland, federal cases are prosecuted through the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland, which has a court in Baltimore.
Contact a Maryland Criminal Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been arrested, you need the services of experienced Maryland criminal lawyers. Contact our Brooklyn Park office for an initial consultation. While most cases are settled, we fight hard and work diligently for our clients and will go to trial, if necessary.