What is Maryland Probation Before Judgment?
Maryland Probation before judgment, also known as “PBJ” in Maryland is a disposition or outcome a person can receive in a criminal or traffic case in Maryland. A PBJ means a person has not been convicted, even though a Judge or Jury may find a defendant guilty. The Court will strike the “guilty” finding and enter a “probation before judgment.” Probation before judgment is available in most criminal and traffic cases in Maryland. However, some cases and charges are not eligible for a PBJ. Read more to learn about PBJ, when you can and cannot receive one in Maryland.
Who Can Get a PBJ in Maryland?
Anyone can received a PBJ in Maryland including a probation before judgment for a driving while under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI). There are situations when a person cannot receive a PBJ in Maryland.
- A PBJ for a DUI if you have been convicted or received a PBJ for a DUI in the past 10 years.
- You cannot receive a PBJ for possession of CDS if previously convicted of possession of CDS, unless the defendant has completed certain condition after the previous conviction
- There is not option for a PBJ if you are convicted of certain sexual offenses; and
- Any moving violations if the driver holds a provisional license and the driver has been previously been placed on probation for a moving violation.
How Does a PBJ Work in Maryland?
Once a Maryland probation before judgment is entered, the Judge will typically place the defendant on a period of supervised or unsupervised probation. The probation can be supervised by Maryland Parole and Probation. There are various divisions of Parole or Probation that can supervise an individual including:
- Drinking Driving Monitor Program;
- Parole and Probation;
- Sexual Offender Management Team; or
- Alternative Community Service.
In addition to a period of probation, the Court may also order the defendant to pay fines and costs to the Court. The Court may also direct the person who receives a PBJ to complete community service or pay restitution to the victim in the case.
If you receive a PBJ from a District Court Judge, probation can last for a maximum of 3 years. A probation before judgment from a Circuit Court Judge can last up to 5 years. If you want to read the full text of the PBJ rules, check out Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Section 6-220.
The Benefits of a Probation Before Judgment in Maryland
So what are the benefits of a probation before judgment in Maryland? In traffic cases, the benefit of a probation before judgment is the Motor Vehicle Administration will not access points to the driver’s driving record. This can be key in ensuring the driver’s insurance rates do not increase as the PBJ record is not public record and not accessible by the insurance companies.
One of the other benefits of a Maryland probation before judgment is a person is able to expunge the charge from their record. However, an expungement for a PBJ cannot be filed in Maryland if the defendant was charged with drunk driving/DUI/DWI.
In addition, a person is not eligible for expungement of a PBJ if within 3 years of the entry of probation, the individual has been convicted of a crime other than minor traffic violation or a crime where the the act is no longer a crime in Maryland.
To receive a probation before judgment, you must waive your right to appeal. The Court will ask the defendant on the record in the Courtroom if they wish to waive their right to appeal and accept the PBJ.
Hire a Lawyer for a PBJ in Maryland
Charged with a DUI or DWI as well as a criminal charge in Maryland can be scary. Worried about the possible outcomes including a probation before judgment can cause a lot of sleepless nights. A PBJ for a first time DUI or DWI can make a lot of the consequences a lot easier to deal with. A experienced Maryland DUI/DWI lawyer can be helpful in getting your a PBJ for a first time DUI or DWI charge in Maryland. If you are facing criminal or traffic charges, contact attorney Randolph Rice today to discuss your case and if you’re charges are eligible for a PBJ.