In Maryland there are 2 major classes of offenses for which a person may be prosecuted: misdemeanors and felonies. Most are defined in the Annotated Code of Maryland Criminal Law and Transportation Articles, and others can be found in local ordinances such as the Prince George’s County Code.
A misdemeanor is a “lesser” type of criminal act that is committed by an individual. The penalty for a misdemeanor varies with the crime, although generally it is punished much less severely than a felony. Examples of misdemeanors include shoplifting, trespassing, possession of controlled dangerous substances and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
A felony is a more serious type of criminal act committed by an individual. Generally, the penalties for felonies are much greater than those of misdemeanors. Examples of felonies include robbery, burglary, manufacture or distribution of illegal drugs, rape and murder.