A misdemeanor charge is not as serious as a felony, but that doesn’t
mean you shouldn’t defend your side of the story. Misdemeanors can
still be punished with fines and prison or jail time, which can impact
your relationships, school or work.
There are several kinds of misdemeanors. The first is known as a petty
misdemeanor. Usually, the fine for this charge is no more than $500 and
results in less than a half year in jail. If you’re accused of a
petty misdemeanor, you may be able to defend yourself and have the charges
dropped or the penalties lessened. Some alternatives might be to attend
a rehabilitation program or to perform community service.
Gross misdemeanors differ as they are slightly more serious than a petty
misdemeanor. Ordinary misdemeanors fall in the middle of these two other
classes. A gross misdemeanor may also be a “wobbler,” in some
cases, which means that it could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony
depending on the preference of the prosecution and judge. When the prosecution
or judge decides on the route to take, all the consequences will change
to those required of either a misdemeanor or felony for that type of crime.
If your case in Maryland is dropped or you’re found innocent, a certified
finding of factual innocence can be provided to you to give to employers
or others who may question your criminal history. Your attorney can request
this certificate for you at court when your case is dismissed, so you
can have the information you need to show that you have a clear record.