Criminal Justice

For the common person, the number and degree of felonies are large and intimidating. If you are convicted, the fines, sentences, and damage to your criminal record, family relationships, and career can have an everlasting effect. If charged with any felony or serious misdemeanor, S.A. Stevenson is a lawyer with deep experience at defending those who are charged with serious crimes.

Maryland classifies controlled substances into five categories based on their addictive properties and therapeutic value.  Each category is assigned its own penalty.  The class of drugs that includes Heroin and Meth brings the highest penalties for possession, manufacturing, and distribution.

Penalties for possession can range from probation for a Class 5 the lowest category, to 20 years in prison and a fine of $25,000 for a first offense of possessing a Class 1. Multiple offenses or drug distribution charges carry higher penalties: [Sections 5-602, 5-603, Section 5-608(a-d)].

Federal drug charges [21 United States Code Section 13, 1, 841] are usually filed against interstate drug manufacturers and traffickers under the U.S, Controlled Substances Act.

There are two felony levels of assault: first, and second degree (though the latter is sometimes charged as a misdemeanor): [Sections 3-202 & 3-203]. Penalties are more severe depending on whether a weapon was used by the accused and/or, how severely the victim was injured. First-degree assault comes with a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. Hate crimes increase any prison sentence for an assault conviction.

There are too many felony sexual offenses: [Section 3-301] to cover briefly. So it’s best if your Maryland criminal lawyer explains the charges relative to your case. But a shortlist includes the following offenses:

  • First and second degree rape: [Sections 3-303 & 3-304]
  • First, second and third-degree sexual assault: [Section 3-305, 3-306 & 3-307]
  • Attempted rape or sexual offense: [Sections 3-309 – 3-312]
  • Sexual abuse of a minor: [Sections 3-315 – 3-324]

Sex crime penalties depend on the offense and other circumstances. But the most severe can be life with no parole. Some “criminal enterprise”-related sex crimes may fall under the purview of federal prosecutors. A conviction for state or federal sex crimes commonly requires the defendant to register as a sex offender.

Felony theft: [M.A.C. section 7-104(g)(1)(i) – (g)(1)(iii)] and burglary: [M.A.C. sections 6-202 – 6-205] penalties can be as high as a fine of up to $25,000.00, and a maximum 25 years in prison if the value of the stolen property is over 100,000. All convicted of either crime must pay restitution to the victims.

Felony theft can also involve white-collar crimes, grand theft, identity theft, fraud, and conspiracy charges. Many white-collar thefts are federal offenses [18 U.S.C.1-31].

There are four classifications of alcohol and drug-related driving offenses in Maryland:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol – DUI. [Maryland Transportation Code section 21-902(a)].
  • Driving while impaired by alcohol – DWI: [M.T.C. section 21-902(b)].
  • Driving while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol – DWI: [M.T.C. section 21-902(c)]
  • Driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance (including marijuana) – DWI: [M.T.C. section 21-902(d)]

The maximum penalties for any first-time DUI/DWI conviction include:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • $1,000 fine
  • Suspension of driver’s license

DWI (drug) convictions could bring lesser penalties, depending on the level of drugs that are present in your system if it’s a first offense. But a conviction of any DUI/DWI charge causes insurance rates to dramatically rise. A conviction could impact your personal and professional life for years. You will also incur demerit points against your Maryland driving record, which could endanger your license.

Reckless driving laws are prosecuted thorough Maryland Transportation Code section 21-901.1 due to the suspect’s willful disregard of the safety of other people or property. Penalties for a first-time conviction are a fine of up to $1,000 and six MVA points.

Penalties for the lesser charges of negligent driving: [M.T.C. section 21-901.1(b)] and aggressive driving: [M.T.C. section 21-901.2] are not as serious. But those who are guilty of these offenses will still incur fines and MVA penalty points.