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What is a crime?

A committed crime is an unlawful or illegal act. The action may be punished by local, state or federal jurisdiction. There are many types of activities that have been classified as crimes in the United States.

The type of crime will usually determine the kinds of punishments that are ordered. Some crimes are dismissed with a verbal or written warning. Others may allow a judge to require the offender and/or serve time in jail. Certain crimes have a mandatory minimum sentencing guideline, which can be anywhere from around fifteen years in jail to a life sentence. These sentences may or may not offer the possibility of parole.

Can I use crime as a reason for seeking divorce?

Crime can be used as grounds for divorce in the state of Maryland. The offender must have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. They cannot have been accused and found guilty or had the charges dropped if the crime is to be used as a reason for ending a marriage.

Current types of misdemeanors in the state of Maryland are as follows:

  • Child neglect. People who are found guilty of this crime can be ordered to pay a fine of no more than $5,000 and/or sentenced to a maximum of 5 years in jail.
  • Cyberbullying. This crime carries penalties of a fine of up to $10,000/and or a prison sentence of 3 years at the most.
  • Disorderly conduct. This misdemeanor is less serious. It carries maximum penalties of a fine of no more than $500 and/or a jail term not to exceed 60 days.
  • Intentional exposure. This involves deliberately exposing a person or group to a potentially dangerous disease without taking proper safeguards to prevent possible infection. This is a crime that can result in a fine of $500 at the most and/or a prison sentence of up to 1 year.
  • Second degree assault. Offenders may face a fine of no more than $2,500 and/or no more than 10 years in prison.
  • Theft of services or goods. The goods or services that were taken must range in value from $100 to $1,499. Persons convicted of this crime must either repay the owner the value of those items or restore the property that was stolen. They could also be mandated to pay a fine of up to $500 and/or serve a maximum of 6 months in jail for this crime.
  • Use of an assault weapon. This charge applies if the weapon was used during a violent crime or felony. This is punishable by anywhere from 5 to 20 years in prison.

Current types of felonies that are recognized in Maryland are listed below:

  • Aggravated animal cruelty. Offenders could be ordered to pay a fine that will not exceed $5,000 and/or serve a maximum of 3 years in jail.
  • Child abduction. The abduction must have been of a child who was 16 years of age or younger who was transported to a different state for 30 days or less. Penalties for this particular felony are a fine of up to $1,000 and or no more than 1 year in prison.
  • Drug trafficking. This crime carries a fine that can be as much as $100,000 and a mandatory minimum prison term of 5 years.
  • First degree assault. This crime typically results in serious bodily harm to the victim. They may have been assaulted with a gun, strangled or suffered significant injuries. People convicted of this crime could face a maximum of 25 years in jail.
  • First degree burglary. Offenders may be sentenced to no more than 20 years in prison for this crime.
  • First degree murder. A person found guilty of first-degree murder could be sentenced to life in prison with or without the possibility of parole eligibility.
  • Second degree rape. This charge usually applies cases where an individual who was younger than 13 years old at the time was raped. This conviction carries a minimum 15-year prison term. Offenders could be sentenced to life in prison if necessary.

What types of crime can be considered?

Only misdemeanor or felony convictions can be considered for this kind of divorce grounds. The crime must still be active on the offender’s records. If the charge was dropped, it can’t be used as a crime when asking for a divorce in Maryland.

Is the offender required to serve time in jail if crime is used as grounds for divorce?

According to current state laws, the accused must have been sentenced to at least three years or more in jail or a similar penal institution. They will need to have served a minimum of 12 months of their prison sentence. Those months will usually be consecutive.

How can I prove that my spouse was convicted of a crime?

Prison and court records can be used to confirm a person’s conviction, sentencing and jail time. The court may receive copies of the offender’s parole record and learn whether or not any requested paroles were granted. They will evaluate all information that is received regarding the particular felony or misdemeanor that the person was charged and convicted with during divorce proceedings.

What can I do if my partner accused me of committing a crime when requesting a divorce?

You can respond to the divorce paperwork after you’ve been served. The arrest and criminal records may be difficult to refute. However, if you can verify that you were cleared of the charges, had the charges dismissed or your record was expunged, you can present that documentation to the court where the divorce complaint was filed. Each side will have the opportunity to present their own witnesses, evidence and testimony before a judge.

Criminal convictions often carry a negative stigma, even if the crime was relatively minor or the accused person was later found not guilty or had the charges against them dropped. Friends, relatives, neighbors and coworkers may feel uncomfortable around those individuals. Employers in at-will states like Maryland could even use that as a reason to terminate that person’s employment.

If you’ve been served with divorce papers or are thinking about requesting a divorce, we can help. Contact us to set up a free consultation. Our trained professionals will listen to your side of the story and make recommendations for potential future actions. We can represent you in court during the divorce hearings if you so choose.

Our main goal is to help you get back on your feet again. This won’t happen right away. Understand that it can take several weeks, months or even years to rebuild and regain trust, respect and credibility. You’ll know when that happens when you can finally enjoy spending quality time with people who genuinely care about you.