Legal Question in Criminal Law in Maryland

While on vacation in Maryland, I got arrested for theft under 100. I live in PA. I went to court and was given 40 hours of community services. If I did that the case would be dropped. I didn't do those hours. I went back to court and the judge doubled my community service hours and gave me only 2 1/2 months to get it done. The next day I went off to college. I had preseason for soccer and was doing two a days (9-11 and 4-6) Classes started on August 31. I was a freshman last year, but left because I I was clinically depressed. I am now a freshman again and feel overwhelmed. I can't seem to get any of my 80 hours completed. I am always busy with classes, school work, practice, and games (traveling too). I went to three places and all of them do not have evening hours which would work best around my schedule. I don't know what to do. I habe to get 80 hours completed by Oct 8. If I get them done I don't even have to show up in court the case gets dropped. If I do not get it done I think the judge is going to make me serve the maximum of 90 days in jail. I want to stay in school. What would happen if I didn't go to court on my court date? If they issue a bench warrant would I be picked up and brought to Maryland? What about international travel. renewing my driver's license, or if I get picked up for a traffic offense etc could PA or any police see that warrant? What about employment background checks would they see that warrant? Any advice as to what to do and how not showing up will effect me would be appreciated. Thank you.

Asked on 9/12/09, 6:59 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Jason Cleckner Law Office of Jason Cleckner, LLC

Not showing up in Court would be a very bad idea. If you don't, the warrant will be transmitted nationwide, and if you are stopped for a minor traffic offense, you could be detained. Maryland may not want to extradite you for such a small case, but you may sit in jail for 30 days before you find out. Also, it is very unlikely that the Court would give you the full 90 days unless you have a very bad rap sheet. And if that's the case, either the State has no evidence or they wouldn't be offering you the community service. Also, typically, judges in Maryland don't negotiate these type of things, prosecutors do, so this scenario sounds unusual. I would need more info to properly advise you. In addition, instead of attempting to handle this case yourself, you should get an attorney, because then you may be able to get a continuance. Or if not, at least you could have someone there to try and make sure you don't get screwed.

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Answered on 9/17/09, 7:45 pm
William Welch William L. Welch, III Attorney

Worse yet, you may end up with a conviction for theft. Convictions are permanent and consquently can affect your life years later. Get the hours done before you have a criminal record. Nothing that you are doing now, including your classes and soccer will have as much affect on the rest of your life as a criminal record for theft.

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Answered on 9/17/09, 10:10 pm

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