Motions to Reconsider or for Modification in Maryland

The Maryland Rules of Court and related statutes grant criminal trial courts jurisdiction to consider a modification, reconsideration or reduction in sentence upon a timely motion for that consideration.

In order for a criminal court to exercise jurisdiction in such a case, the defendant (usually through legal counsel) must file a motion for reconsideration with the court within 90 days of the entry of the disposition. ┬áIn some cases, it is appropriate to file such a motion under advisement sub curia and then to file a second “activation” motion later after a defendant has completed all probation, made full restitution, completed drug treatment, etc.

A court is not obliged to consider such a motion at all, and may summarily deny the motion from chambers without a hearing; the defendant has the right to file but not a right to a hearing (although such hearings are often granted.) A court may elect to continue consideration on such a motion until it is satisfied that the defendant is a suitable candidate, or may grant the modification requested (usually a change from a conviction to probation before judgment, or the termination of active probation or other conditions of the sentence.)

Filing the motion within the 90-day window is critical, even if the goal is not to have a hearing on the merits until much later; after 90 days, the court largely lacks the capacity to entertain the motion (with limited exceptions.)

If you or a loved one has received a criminal sentence and would like assistance in filing or arguing a motion for reconsideration of that sentence, and you do not currently have an attorney, please call the Law Office of Bruce Godfrey at 410-561-6061 so that we may discuss your case and the Law Office’s fees.