Getting into trouble with the law can have long-lasting effects on many aspects of your life. From obtaining employment to keeping your driver’s license, having a criminal record can dramatically change the trajectory of your life. Even if you’re only facing the minor consequences of a misdemeanor, this is no small matter, and your circumstances can quickly worsen.
If you have been accused of a misdemeanor offense, it is important that you talk to a criminal defense lawyer right away. The sooner you get in touch with an attorney, the sooner they can begin protecting your rights and building your case. At Albers & Associates, our Towson misdemeanor defense lawyers move quickly on these cases, and we provide personalized, dedicated, and aggressive legal representation to every client we serve.
Learn how our team can help you with your defense today; call (443) 665-8030 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.
What Is Considered a Misdemeanor in Maryland?
Generally speaking, misdemeanors are considered to be “less serious” crimes than felonies. As such, they typically carry less harsh jail or prison sentences and other criminal penalties. However, this does not mean that misdemeanors are not serious. Being convicted of a misdemeanor in Maryland can result in jail or prison time, thousands of dollars in fines, probation, mandatory community service, and other far-reaching consequences.
If you are convicted, you will have a permanent criminal record. Unless you successfully apply for expungement, your arrest or conviction will be public and accessible by all potential future employers, lenders, landlords, and anyone else who looks up your criminal history. This can negatively affect your ability to get or keep your job, secure housing, obtain loans, attend school, and manage other aspects of your life.
Some examples of criminal offenses that are commonly charged as misdemeanors in Maryland include:
- Assault in the second degree
- Child neglect
- Disorderly conduct
- Domestic violence (in some circumstances)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
- Failure to appear in court
- Intentionally exposing others to an infectious disease (such as HIV or COVID-19)
- Minor drug crimes, such as possession of marijuana
- Reckless driving and other traffic offenses
- Resisting arrest
- Shoplifting/petty theft
- Theft between $100 and $1,500
If you have been accused of any of these or another misdemeanor offense in Maryland, reach out to Albers & Associates right away to learn how we can help.
What Are the Penalties for Misdemeanors in Maryland?
Because there are so many different types of crimes that can be charged as misdemeanors, the penalties for these offenses also range widely. In addition to the type of crime allegedly committed, many other factors play a role in potential penalties. This includes things like whether the alleged offender has any prior convictions and whether there are any aggravating factors present.
That being said, some penalties you could face if convicted of a misdemeanor in Maryland include:
- Several days to several years in jail
- Thousands of dollars in fines
- Restitution to victims
- Restoration of stolen property
- Mandatory community service
Many misdemeanors in Maryland have mandatory minimum sentencing requirements. This means that, while the judge has discretion when it comes to how long you could be sentenced to jail, they must abide by the mandatory minimum. In other words, if you are convicted of a crime that comes with a one-year mandatory minimum sentence, the judge cannot sentence you to anything less than one year in jail, plus potential additional penalties.
Will You Lose Your Job if You Are Convicted of a Misdemeanor?
Though you may not realize it, having even something as small as a traffic violation can harm your job prospects if your employer finds out. This is particularly true for people pursuing citizenship or people who hold security clearances. However, even people who aren’t in those circumstances can face employment problems if they are convicted of a misdemeanor.
For example, if you’re an accountant who has been charged with a crime relating to the theft of money, even a small amount, you may face challenges finding another job in your field. People convicted of assault charges may not be able to find jobs working in healthcare or with children. Context is very important in matters of employment, and people may not hire you if you have a criminal record.
Will You Go to Prison if You Are Convicted of a Misdemeanor?
The short answer is that no, you probably won’t go to prison. However, you may spend a short while in jail for a misdemeanor.
The difference between a jail and a prison is how long the inmates are meant to stay within the facility:
- Prisons: Prisons are meant to hold inmates long-term and are run by the state
- Jails: Jails are usually operated on a much smaller scale, typically by local law enforcement
Considering that most misdemeanors have short sentences, you will most likely go to jail instead of prison. Either way, it won’t look good on your record.
Why Work With a Lawyer on Your Misdemeanor Defense?
Even if your crime was minor, any mark on your criminal record can have major consequences. When you work with a lawyer for even something as small as a traffic ticket, you can help ensure that one bad day won’t ruin the trajectory of your life.
At Albers & Associates, our lawyers can help you with every aspect of your misdemeanor defense, including:
- Explaining your charges and the possible penalties
- Investigating the circumstances of the incident
- Uncovering evidence to support your defense
- Building a powerful, evidence-based case on your behalf
- Utilizing cutting-edge legal technology to present your case
- Seeking a dismissal of charges, reduction of charges, or not-guilty verdict
- Working to have sentencing reduced or appealing a conviction
- Protecting your rights throughout the legal process
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor in Maryland, you’ll need a seasoned criminal defense lawyer to help you. Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place. Albers & Associates is one of the leading legal teams in the state; we can handle your case and provide the personal attention you need.
To learn more about our practice and how we can help you, contact us today. We offer free consultations, so schedule one today to take back control of your future.
You can reach us online or by phone at (443) 665-8030.