If you are facing felony charges, you must protect your freedom and constitutional rights – your reputation and your future depend on it. At James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, we believe that everyone facing criminal charges in Baltimore County deserves high-quality legal representation from an experienced felony lawyer. We will help you fight for your freedom.
What Is a Felony?
Typically, felonies are serious crimes that involve sentences of at least one year in prison, but can increase to life in prison under certain circumstances. Examples of Maryland felonies include:
- Battery and first-degree assault,
- Child abuse and child pornography,
- Drug crimes involving distribution, manufacturing, and trafficking,
- Firearm and weapons offenses,
- Fraud (such as bank, credit card, mail, and wire fraud),
- Hate crimes,
- Hit and runs,
- Identity theft,
- Murder and manslaughter,
- Robbery and theft, and
- Sex crimes (such as rape and attempted rape).
Lesser crimes are called misdemeanors. They include:
- Child neglect,
- Disturbing the peace,
- Public intoxication,
- Petty theft,
- Second-degree assault, and
Compared to some states, Maryland’s criminal code was created in a relatively piecemeal manner. For this reason, a misdemeanor offense might involve a longer sentence or larger fine than some felonies.
What Are the Penalties for a Felony Conviction?
Felony sentences vary dramatically, based on the severity and circumstances surrounding the crime. Maryland’s maximum sentences include:
- Carjacking: 30 years incarceration,
- Counterfeiting and forgery: 10 years and a $10,000 fine,
- Drug distribution: 40 years and $1,000,000 fine,
- First-degree child abuse: 25 years,
- First-degree murder: life sentence,
- First-degree rape: life sentence,
- Home invasion: 25 years,
- Identity theft using a re-encoder or skimmer: 25 years and $25,000 fine, and
- Kidnapping: 30 years.
Some crimes, especially drug crimes, carry minimum sentences. The courts can also order restitution, or the reimbursement of your victim’s financial losses related to the crime.
Additionally, a felony conviction will also lead to other restrictions – even after you serve your sentence. These restrictions include the inability to:
- Possess a firearm: Convicted felons cannot possess a firearm unless they receive a pardon.
- Sex offender registration: Depending on the severity of your crime, you might remain on Maryland’s sex offender registry for 15 years to life.
- Vote: As of 2016, your voting rights are restored once you complete your prison sentence. You can vote while on probation.
You might also have difficulty obtaining a professional license (such as a law, medical, pharmacy, real estate, or health care license), finding work, renting an apartment, or applying to a college or other academic program.
You should never take criminal charges lightly– regardless of whether they involve a misdemeanor or felony. Instead, immediately contact an experienced felony lawyer. An attorney will explain the possible implications of the criminal charges you are facing. Additionally, a felony lawyer will carefully review your case – looking for evidence that helps prove your innocence or reduce your sentence.
How Can I Defend Myself Against Felony Charges?
Depending on the nature of your case, you might have a variety of defenses, including:
- Burden of Proof: The prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high burden of proof. With the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you can point out problems and inconsistencies in the prosecutor’s case.
- Lack of criminal intent: Criminal intent is a complicated legal concept. Sometimes called “mens rea” (Latin for “guilty mind”), the prosecutor must prove that you intentionally and knowingly engaged in criminal activity.
- Procedural errors: Law enforcement officers and prosecutors make mistakes. A skilled lawyer will identify these mistakes, such as evidentiary problems and violation of your Miranda or search and seizure rights, which might reduce or eliminate your criminal charges.
- Statute of limitations violations: Prosecutors must file criminal charges within the correct statute of limitations. If they miss this filing deadline, the court will dismiss the charges. While Maryland does not have an overarching criminal statute of limitations, some criminal statutes impose filing deadlines for particular crimes. Your felony lawyer will assess whether a statute of limitations violation occurred in your case.
Under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, you have the right to counsel in a criminal case. While you can work with a court-appointed public defender, many people decide to hire a private criminal defense attorney. While some public defenders are hard-working and skilled, reduced funding for public defenders programs has left many overworked and underresourced. When you hire a skilled felony lawyer from James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, you can rest assured that we will fully prepare your case, educate you about your rights, and tirelessly fight on your behalf.
Discuss Your Felony Case with an Experienced Felony Lawyer
At James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, we represent people facing both felony and misdemeanor charges in Baltimore County and the surrounding areas. We deliver both compassionate advice and fierce representation. We will work with you to get the best possible result in your case – whether that is a dismissal of your charges, an acquittal, or a reduction in your charges or sentence. Contact us for a free, confidential evaluation today.