Maryland law says that within 90 days of being sentenced in a criminal case you can request a modification. Your request needs to be made in the form of a motion, filed with the clerk of the court in which you were sentenced. The 90 day time limit on filing your motion to modify is a real 90 days; it is not extended to allow for weekends and holidays. If your motion is received by the court by the deadline, the judge who sentenced you may reconsider your sentence. The operative word here is ‘may.’ The judge is under no obligation change your sentence. That is why it is extremely important to offer compelling facts in support of your motion. If your motion is persuasive, the judge will schedule a hearing and consider modifying your sentence.
Motion to Modify Sentence in Maryland – Why?
Why file a motion to modify your sentence? One very common reason for filing a motion to modify is to request that the court change a guilty and a probation to a probation before judgment. If you are unfamiliar with probation before judgment please follow this link to learn more. If the judge was unwilling to give you a probation before judgment at the time of your original sentence, the judge may be willing to reconsider that decision provided you have made significant progress on your probation. This is often the case when the court wants you to take corrective measures, such as to get a drivers license or to pay someone restitution. Besides hoping to get probation before judgment, other reasons why you may wish to file a motion to modify include to change the terms of your probation, to shorten the probationary period, to request unsupervised probation, or to permit prohibited travel while on probation. Virtually any part of your sentence can be changed provided you can offer the court a good reason to do so.
Motion to Modify Needs Supporting Facts
Just because you ask for it doesn’t mean that you will get it. What makes for a good motion to modify? Ideally your motion to modify should provide the judge who sentenced you with information that was not available at the time you were originally sentenced. A good motion to modify should also demonstrate that you are making strong efforts to comply with the terms of your probation and with any programs you were ordered to complete. Any motion to modify should be supported by compelling facts. Good reasons that may cause a judge to modify a sentence include having fully paid restitution, having completed a drug program, having completed an anger management program, or having successfully completed other aspects of your probation. There are just examples. There are many other possible accomplishments that may provide good support for your motion.
Motion to Modify to be Held Sub Curia
Because accomplishing any of these very worth-while things often takes more time than the 90 days allowed for filing the motion to modify, attorneys who write motions to modify frequently request that their motions be held sub curia, for consideration by the bench at a later date. Note that the motion to modify can be held sub curia almost indefinitely. By receiving but not ruling on the motion to modify, the judge allows you the opportunity to demonstrate that you deserve a different –and perhaps better– sentence than the one you originally received.
Matthew Baum is a criminal defense lawyer based in Baltimore, Maryland. As a part of his criminal defense practice he has written numerous motions to modify in criminal and serious traffic cases. If you or someone you care about was sentenced inside of the past 90 days and you would like to have some part of the sentence modified, please don’t delay! Contact Matthew Baum at (410) 929-3435 and request a free consultation immediately. If you allow the filing deadline to pass without filing your motion to modify then you may forever lose your right to request that the judge change your sentence.