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:
For information on misdemeanors in Maryland, see Maryland Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Criminal statutes of limitations require prosecutors to file charges within a certain amount of time after a crime is committed or believed to have been committed. Generally, the more serious the crime is the more time prosecutors have to file charges. In Maryland, felonies have no time limits—meaning the prosecutor can file charges at any time. The time limits for charging misdemeanors generally range from one to three years after commission of the crime. For more information on the criminal statute of limitations, see Criminal Statute of Limitations in Maryland.
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.