PBJ: Maryland Lawyer explains “Probation Before Judgement”

peanut-butter-jelly-time

PBJ: Maryland Lawyer explains “Probation Before Judgement”

PBJ: Maryland Lawyer explains “Probation Before Judgement”

PBJ is a acronym that is thrown around all the time in legal circles.  No it doesn’t mean Peanut Butter Jelly.

PBJ’s (The Law):

In Maryland criminal law circles, PBJ is a shorthand for Probation Before JudgmentProbation before Judgment is essentially being placed on probation BEFORE THE JUDGMENT IS ENTERED.  That means you have not been found guilty of the crime.  This may not seem like a big benefit, but it is.  You can truthfully answer you have not been convicted of a crime on job applications, your car insurance does not go through the roof (if it’s a DUI), and (for certain crimes) you can get the matter expunged after successfully completing probation.

The rules governing PBJ’s for DUI’s and other violations of Maryland law are outlined in Maryland Criminal Procedure §6-220.

PBJ: When you can one

  • For a first-time DUI or DWI offense (or if you have not had a DUI/DWI conviction/PBJ within the last 10 years).
  • For a first-time violation of the Maryland Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS or Drug) laws
  • For any first-time offense of any felony or misdemeanor violation of Maryland law, except as listed below.
  • For any repeat offense, unless statutorily prohibited, where the defendant can demonstrate to the court, usually through an extensive sentencing presentation through counsel, that the defendant is amenable to treatment through probation before judgment.
    PBJ, Probation Before Judgment, Maryland Lawyer, probation, DUI, DWI, Maryland DUI laws, Maryland Criminal laws, cds, VOP, Violation of Probation

    Sometimes even goobers get PBJ's!

When you cannot, by law, get a PBJ:

  • For a second DUI or DWI offense within the last 10 years (if you have more than one conviction for DUI/DWI it will be difficult to obtain a PBJ at any time).  Crim. Pro. §6-220 (d)(1)
  • For a second violation for the Maryland Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS or Drug) laws.  See Crim. Pro. §6-220 (d)(2).
  • First-time sex crimes against a child as enumerated in the PBJ statute.  See Crim. Pro. §6-220 (d)(3).
  • When the enumerated crime has a mandatory minimum penalty.  Examples of this would be certain violations of narcotics laws, handgun violations, or violent crimes such as murder.
  • Traffic violations while driving on a provisional license and already having a PBJ.  See Crim. Pro. §6-220 (d)(4).

Practical pointers:

  • As a defendant you should understand that most judges view that PBJ’s are something to be earned and may not be automatic for any first offense.
  • At sentencing, no matter what judge it is, proper behavior, presentation, and appearance are key.
  • Although a judge MAY grant PBJ for almost any first-time conviction,  you should not be surprised, absent unusual circumstances, to NOT be offered a PBJ for:
    • crimes of violence (robbery, etc),
    • large quantities of drugs,
    • A DUI with a high blood alcohol content result, and/or
    • DUI’s with accidents

There are some drawbacks to PBJ’s and depending on your circumstances it may NOT be best to accept a PBJ.

Drawbacks to PBJ’s:

  • You’re going to be on probation for some period of time, usually supervised…so, don’t screw up because…
  • You face the entire sentence when you are brought back in front of the judge for a VOP – i.e. if you got a PBJ for a second degree assault and you violate your probation, you are facing 10 years in prison for the violation of probation.
  • You give up your right to appeal. This is probably the key when you lose a trial at district court and the judge offers you a PBJ.  If you have a good trial issue, you still can take an appeal “de novo” which means “of new” to the Circuit Court.  Judges often offer PBJ’s to avoid appeals and to guarantee you will receive some type of probation.
  • If you are not a United States Citizen – a PBJ may be as bad as a conviction
  • If you have a security clearance, a CDL license, or some other type of special circumstance, a PBJ may not be in your best interest and you might need to retain your appeal rights.

The bottom line is that every case, every judge, every prosecutor, and every client is unique.  A PBJ is never guaranteed and if you find yourself charged with a violation of Maryland DUI laws or a Maryland crime, be sure to contact your Maryland lawyer.

 

and just for fun….click here.

Read this page in: Spanish

14 Comments
  • Maryland DUI: Timing is Critical for MVA Administrative Hearings
    Posted at 16:40h, 21 May

    […] a huge sigh of relief.  The goal for first-time offenders is to get the charges reduced for a PBJ or Stet in the criminal aspects of the case and to keep your license intact in the MVA […]

  • Baltimore Marijuana Lawyer: Marijuana Diversion and Marijuana PBJ
    Posted at 14:05h, 06 July

    […] Marijuana Lawyer’s responsibility to fight for their client to obtain a PBJ (short for Probation before Judgment). A Marijuana PBJ would signify that a client has not received a conviction, and would still have a […]

  • Maryland DUI: DUI court appearances - don't miss the memo
    Posted at 19:01h, 11 July

    […] up to court like you just rolled out of bed for your Maryland DUI is not enough to earn the Stet or PBJ.  We believe in a complete package for your Maryland DUI defense: Lindsay Lohan clearly (and […]

  • Maryland DUI Probation Before Judgment (PBJ): The Importance of treatment
    Posted at 15:57h, 16 August

    […] of treatment Maryland DUI PBJ and Treatment Needs As many of you read in an earlier post found here, receiving a PBJ on your Maryland DUI is of the utmost importance. However, just because you are a […]

  • Baltimore Marijuana Lawyer relays new scientific findings
    Posted at 18:32h, 29 August

    […] record and would count for subsequent offender sentencing purposes and/or if you are seeking a PBJ for a different drug.  In any event, avoiding a conviction is a good idea.  Bottom line, if you […]

  • Maryland Lawyer explains traffic ticket
    Posted at 17:55h, 14 October

    […] results were the same-GUILTY! Not a single driver was offered a Probation for Judgment (PBJ, read here for a further explanation). None of the driver’s asked the Judge to reduce the speed, reduce […]

  • Maryland Abogado de DUI
    Posted at 20:01h, 16 July

    […] muchos de ustedes leyeron en un post anterior se encuentra aquí, recibiendo una PBJ en su Maryland DUI es de la mayor importancia. Sin embargo, sólo porque usted […]

  • Maryland Abogado Criminal: Multas de Traffico
    Posted at 15:36h, 30 July

    […] Ni un solo conductor se le ofreció una libertad condicional por sentencia (PBJ, leer aquí para una explicación más detallada). Nada de que el conductor del pedido al juez que reduzca la […]

  • Maryland's first female Episcopal bishop 'kills cyclist in gruesome hit-and-run' | TKGNEWS.COM
    Posted at 03:33h, 29 December

    […] to the law offices of Eldridge and Nachtman, in the state of Maryland this […]

  • Maryland’s first female Episcopal bishop exposed as hit-and-run driver!! | Catholic4Life
    Posted at 10:50h, 29 December

    […] ‘probation without judgement’ for the DUI charge. According to the law offices of Eldridge and Nachtman, in the state of Maryland this means: You can truthfully answer you have not been convicted of a […]

  • Maryland’s First Female Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook Named As Driver In Fatal ‘Hit-And-Run’ Bike Crash
    Posted at 12:19h, 29 December

    […] judgment” for the DUI charge, which, according to legal experts quoted by the Daily Mail, implies that “she can truthfully answer” in formal applications, such as job and insurance, […]

  • Homepage
    Posted at 16:52h, 22 June

    … [Trackback]

    […] There you will find 97163 more Infos: enlawyers.com/1554/attorney-information/pbj-maryland-lawyer-explains-probation-before-judgement/ […]

  • DUI on Federal Property
    Posted at 11:04h, 07 October

    […] under CFR allows for harsher penalties then state law. For example, Federal law does not recognize probation before judgment (PBJ). Thus if a defendant is charged under the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) then a PBJ is not a […]

  • Maryland Shoplifting Laws
    Posted at 11:34h, 07 October

    […] you don’t know what a PBJ is, read here first. Some Maryland counties offer diversion programs, especially to juveniles, and probation before […]