A felony in Maryland is a serious crime that is punishable by death or a term of one year or more in prison. Maryland does not classify felony crimes into different classes. The Maryland criminal statutes provide the possible penalties for each individual felony.
Felonies in Maryland range from murder in the first degree—the most serious felony crime in the state—to rape, kidnapping, aggravated assault, robbery, and distributing a controlled dangerous substance. The following are specific examples of felonies and the possible penalties under Maryland law:
- Murder in the first degree – life in prison, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty
- Manslaughter – up to 2 years in a local correctional facility or a fine up to $500, or both; or up to 10 years in prison
- Rape in the first degree – up to life in prison, up to life in prison without the possibility of parole (and, in some cases a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison)
- Aggravated assault – up to 25 years in prison
- Carjacking – up to 30 years in prison
- Distributing controlled dangerous substance (Class V – codeine) – up to 5 years in prison or a fine up to $15,000 (optional)
For information on misdemeanors in Maryland, see Maryland Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Criminal Statute of Limitations
Maryland law requires that a criminal prosecution begin within a certain amount of time after a crime is committed or believed to have been committed. The criminal statute of limitations limits the length of time the state can wait before filing charges against a person. The length of time varies for different crimes and some, such as murder, may have no time limit. For more information on the criminal statute of limitations, see Criminal Statute of Limitations in Maryland.
The Value of Good Representation
A felony conviction becomes part of your permanent criminal record. If you are convicted later of another felony, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence in the new case. Being a convicted felon can hurt you when you are looking for a job and applying to rent a house or apartment. Convicted felons can lose the right to vote, to carry firearms, and to obtain certain professional licenses.
An experienced attorney can determine whether you have any grounds for dismissal of the charges against you, explore plea options, or represent you at trial. Only someone familiar with the local criminal court system and cases like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or at the negotiating table. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, assist you in making decisions about your case, and protect your rights.