Appeals from District Court Verdicts
Everyone in Maryland has the right to have his or her case decided by a judge of the Circuit Court. Yet, most criminal and civil cases are prosecuted in the District Court. Many people are happy to have their case decided by a judge in the District Court. But if you don’t like the outcome in your case, you don’t have to live with it. In most cases, you can file for a de novo appeal to the Circuit Court. This forces the State to re-prosecute the case in the Circuit Court. This may allow your attorney to re-negotiate a more favorable resolution of the case. For example, we represented a client who was convicted of a relatively minor offense in the District Court. That decision, however, had severe unforeseen consequences for the client’s employment and immigration status. After filing an appeal, Mr. Martella was able to negotiate a resolution that did not require a conviction but was satisfactory to the State, the defendant, and the victim. If an agreement cannot be reached, you may elect to have your case tried in front of a judge or a jury. But there are risks. By filing an appeal, you may give up certain procedural rights or advantages that existed from the District Court decision. If you do not prevail in the Circuit Court, a judge may impose a sentence that is more severe than the sentence received in the District Court. Therefore, we highly recommend you consult with an attorney prior to filing an appeal. Call us at 301-251-9001.