Getting charged with a crime in Maryland can lead to several potential outcomes. If you’re lucky, your lawyer can find a way to get the charges dropped or reduced. If you have to fight it out, you’ll soon discover what category of crime you are being charged with. It will usually be a felony or a misdemeanor.
How to know what a misdemeanor entails
As you get further acquainted with the world of criminal defense, you’ll learn how to distinguish between the two major classes of crime. A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by up to a year in prison. There may also be a fine to pay.
A person who is sentenced to imprisonment on a misdemeanor charge will usually do their time in a county jail rather than a state or federal penitentiary. There are three classes of misdemeanor charges. These are:
- Class A: One year or less but generally more than six months
- Class B: Six months or less but more than 30 days
- Class C: Thirty days but more than five days
How to know what a felony entails
A felony is a much more serious charge than a misdemeanor and will carry a heavier penalty. Whereas a charge like possessing drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, being caught with massive amounts of a drug will result in a felony charge.
A felony is a charge that is punishable by more than a year in prison. The most severe felonies can be punished by life in prison or the death penalty. People who serve time on a felony conviction will do so in a state or federal prison. Class A is the highest form of felony while Class E will be the lowest.