How Are Crimes Categorized in Maryland?

Posted on : October 29, 2019

In Maryland, all crimes fit into one of five different categories. Understanding the nature of the offense and what category it falls under can help you create a strategic defense plan. Here’s what you should know about crime classification and how to get legal assistance after being charged with a crime.


Violent crimes are crimes committed against another person to harm them and are usually charged as a felony. These are among the most serious crimes that an individual can be charged with and often result in lifetime prison sentences and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Examples of common violent crimes include murder, manslaughter, rape, kidnapping, endangerment, harassment, and assault.


Crimes against property can carry serious consequences, but depending on the nature of the crime, may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Property crimes include carjacking, petty theft, vandalism, arson, and motor vehicle theft. However, many property crimes can be charged in conjunction with violent crimes.

For example, a carjacking might also include an assault charge for harming the driver or an arson charge may have an accompanying murder charge if someone died in the building that was burned.

Public Order

Public order crimes are offenses considered to disrupt the community or harm the good of the public. They include but are not limited to public intoxication, disorderly conduct, drug possession, pornography-related crimes, and prostitution.


Enterprise offenses are crimes that combine a legitimate business entity with the crime, often obscuring the illegal activity. Sometimes this type of crime is called organized or syndicate crime. This includes but is not limited to money laundering, bootlegging, and human trafficking. Enterprise crimes can sometimes be charged in conjunction with violent crimes, like in the case of human trafficking.

White Collar

Many enterprise crimes, like money laundering, are also considered white-collar crimes. These offenses are crimes that are financially motivated and non-violent in nature. Usually, these crimes are committed by professionals or business owners, and also include embezzlement, intellectual property crimes, bribery, fraud, insider trading, identity theft, and forgery.

Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you were charged with any crime — whether misdemeanor or felony — it’s critical that you reach out to an experienced Bethesda criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The Avid Injury & Criminal Defense Law Firm can help protect your rights under Maryland law. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at (240) 561-7433.