All criminal courts are stressful and unfair, but Maryland has one positive thing going that is unique to the state: a Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence. In federal court, and most other state courts, once you are sentenced that is it. Not so in Maryland.
We have some important things for you to remember when approaching your Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence.
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I’ve been sentenced in Maryland State Court. What are my options now?
In criminal matters in Maryland State Court there are two main parts to a case. First, there is the choice to either go to trial or decide to plead guilty. If you are found guilty by a jury, or if you plead guilty, then you will face sentencing by your Maryland judge.
After you are sentenced there are various options to you. We are going to write a serious of blog posts to address these options. After your sentence you may consider:
- Filing a Notice of Appeal or Request for Leave to Appeal
- Motion for Review of Your Sentence by a Three-Judge Panel
- File for a Modification of Sentence
Each case is different, so you should thoroughly discuss your post-sentencing options with your lawyer.
As you will see why below, in almost every situation filing a motion for reconsideration of sentence should be done in almost 100% of cases.
Important Facts to Know About Your Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence.
Our firm recommends that a Motion to Reconsider be filed in each case. Why is that? Each of our clients have a story.
We do our very best to tell our client’s story at their first sentencing hearing. But, the beauty of the Maryland Courts is that we get two bites at the apple! With a motion to modify we get the opportunity to have the judge sit and reconsider their original decision.
We can supplement our motion with certificates of achievement, family histories, and attach progress reports showing how well you have done since the judge’s original sentence.
We sometimes advise our clients to wait a little while before they ask for a hearing on their motion to modify. However: YOU ONLY HAVE 90 DAYS TO FILE THE MOTION. The motion has to be filed within 90 days of you being sentenced.
This filing stays your right to be heard on the reconsideration at a later day if you wish. We can always ask for a hearing later, but we CANNOT file the motion after the time has passed.
There is no risk in filing a motion for reconsideration. Under the law, a judge cannot increase your sentence after you request a reconsideration. Did you hear that correctly? Yes, the judge does not have to reduce your sentence. But, the Court has no right to increase your sentence. As a result, the Maryland Courts have said that failure of counsel to file a motion to modify a sentence is ineffective assistance of counsel. Matthews v. State, 161 Md. App. 248, 252 (2005). If your trial counsel failed to file a motion our firm can be retained to file a post-conviction case against your trial counsel asking that you be able to file a late (belated) motion to modify.
A Recent Appeal Shows Why You Need a Good Attorney Who Knows How to Handle a Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence.
A recent Maryland Court of Appeals decision shows exactly how important it is to have diligent counsel for your Motion for Reconsideration (Modification) of Sentence in Maryland.
In State v. John Schlick, Mr. Schlick’s attorney failed to file a timely motion for modification. Normally, the court would only have five years to rule on whether the sentence should be modified. That date runs from the date someone is sentenced. However, the Maryland Court of Appeals held recently in that case that if the trial court finds that your attorney was ineffective, because they failed to file the motion for reconsideration at your request, then the date for starting the calculation of that five years changes.
You MUST get your request for a hearing in in advance or the court may not have time to schedule a hearing. Here is a copy of this recent decision on Motion for Modification (Reconsideration) of sentence in Maryland.
Our Attorneys Have Experience with Reconsiderations.
Both of our attorneys have received extensive training on sentencing advocacy. We feel it is our duty to make the judge in each of our cases sees the good side of our clients. We are all humans, and we all make mistakes. We offer free consultations on a motion for reconsideration of sentence. All you need to do is click the below link and one of our attorneys will contact you within 2 hours.