The Misdemeanor Division prosecutes most misdemeanor offenses, certain non-violent felonies, serious traffic offenses, as well as violations of county and municipal ordinances scheduled in the District Court at 2 S. Bond Street. Misdemeanor Assistant State’s Attorneys are assigned to a designated courtroom each day and are responsible for handling all cases set on that courtroom’s docket.
The District Court does not conduct jury trials; therefore, all District Court cases are argued before a Judge. However, defendants in certain cases may elect a prayer for jury trial (PJT) which transfers their cases to the Circuit Court. Unless waived, defendants have a right of appeal which also transfers their cases to the Circuit Court. Typically, Misdemeanor Assistant State’s Attorneys will follow those cases from District Court to Circuit Court.
The District Court often schedules cases for free trial within 30 to 90 days. Paralegals or Assistant State’s Attorneys of the Misdemeanor Division contact complainants and prepare the cases for trial. It is paramount that complainants and witnesses comply with requests for information promptly so that cases can be ready for prosecution on the scheduled trial date.
In addition to prosecuting District Court, PJT, and appealed cases, Misdemeanor Division prosecutors are also assigned to specialty courts such as Opioid Recovery Court, Domestic Violence dockets, and the Mental Health Diversion Program. Additionally, Misdemeanor prosecutors review Expungement Petitions and cases referred to Community Mediation.
Prayer for Jury Trial
By entering a prayer for jury trial (PJT), the defendant removes the case from the jurisdiction of the District Court and the case is transferred to the Circuit Court, which is located at:
20 West Courtland Street
Bel Air, Maryland 21014.
The District Court prosecutor has no control over the defendant’s choice of method of trial and the defendant need not give the prosecutor advance notice of his or her intention to exercise this right. However, this election by the defendant may only occur if the charged offense has a maximum penalty of 90 days incarceration or greater.Typically, the Misdemeanor Division prosecutor who was assigned to the case in District Court will follow the case into Circuit Court.
If you are the victim in a case that has been transferred to Circuit Court, the Circuit Court Victim/Witness Coordinator will inform you by letter of the schedule for this case. If you have already provided information or documents to the Misdemeanor Division, that material will be forwarded with the file.