Can My Sentence Be Reversed in Maryland?

If you’ve been convicted of a crime in Maryland and feel the decision is wrong, you may be wondering if you can have that sentence reversed. 

In short, yes. You can have it reversed. But making this happen requires following a specific procedure so that you can have your case reexamined and perhaps reversed. 

Here’s everything you need to know about sentence reversal in Maryland:

What is an Appeal?

First, you can reverse your sentence by getting an appeals court to reverse the judgement after a trial.  To be clear, an appeal is an official objection to the judge’s rulings during a trial.  After a verdict has been issued, the convicted person has the right to bring his/her case to the court above the one in which he/she was tried to review the case for any errors made by the judge. 

This is an important thing to remember: an appeal is not a new trial.  Instead, in the vast majority of cases, the higher court will review the case to make sure there were no errors in the procedure of the trial that may have impacted the outcome or in the sentencing. 

Who to Appeal and When

Timing is critical in appeals cases. In Maryland, if your case was heard in District Court, you would appeal to the Circuit Court. If your original case was in Circuit Court, then you would appeal to the Court of Special Appeals. 

Most appeals stop there, but if you were to continue the case, the next step would be the Court of Appeals in Annapolis, the highest state court in Maryland. 

If you’re appealing to the Circuit Court or the Court of Special Appeals, then you have thirty days from the day of your court decision to file. 

As you can see, the window is quite narrow. And if you let it shut, you forfeit your right to appeal and have your sentence reversed. 

How to Get Your Sentenced Reversed in Maryland

If you’re going to appeal you case, here’s a bit more about your different options at each level of the Maryland court system:

Appeals to Circuit Court and the Court of Special Appeals

If your case originated in District Court, you can appeal the decision to the Circuit Court. It will very likely be a de novo appeal (not “on the record”), and you can do your trial all over again.  For cases that originated in Circuit Court, you must go to the Special Court of Appeals. 

De Novo or On the Record

Once you start to appeal to the Court of Special Appeals, know that your case will be heard “on the record.” This means the Court of Special Appeals will not hear any new evidence. Instead, it will review the court proceedings and make its decision based on what is found there. 

Because of this, appeals on the record center around legal arguments and interpretations of the law, one of the many reasons why you should work with an experienced attorney throughout your appeal. 

Alternatives to Reversing a Sentence in Maryland

If the window to appeal your conviction has passed, or if you were unsuccessful in your attempts to get your sentence reversed, not all hope is lost. There are other avenues you can pursue to at the very least reduce your sentence and also its impact on your future. 

Sentence Reconsideration/Modification

If you’re in the middle of serving a sentence, you can get it reduced by displaying good conduct in corrections facilities and also by getting a judge to review your case. If you can prove that you’re rehabilitated and don’t need to serve your entire sentence, and if you have filed a Motion to Reconsider your sentence within 90 days after your sentence, you should be able to  get a hearing to convince the judge to modify your sentence. your release date moved up.  This hearing to reconsider/modify your sentence must occur within 5 years of your sentence. 

Get Help Reversing a Your Sentence in Maryland

If you feel your sentence is wrong or unfair, consider appealing your case and trying to get your sentence reversed.  IF an appeal is not successful or the time has passed to do an appeal, you can ask for a hearing to reduce/modify your sentence. But remember, time is of the essence, so don’t wait around.  Get in touch with a lawyer and start crafting your case today.

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