If you've been charged with a criminal or traffic offense in Maryland and you have gone to court for those charges, then you probably have heard of probation before judgment or PBJ. Anyone charged with a criminal or traffic offense have the option to plead guilty in exchange for receiving a PBJ (some offenses are exempt from having option for a PBJ). Whether it is a speeding ticket or a DUI, a PBJ means that you cannot get into trouble with the law at all during your probationary period, which usually is for one year. That means that if you receive another speeding ticket or are charged with a DUI during your probationary period, you have violated your probation.
A violation of a PBJ probationary period works the same way as a violation of any other probation associated with serious criminal charges. A PBJ violator may face harsher penalties for their crime or violation, and that may include jail time.
Having the option for a PBJ should be seen as a privilege and should not be taken for granted by those who receive one. A PBJ essentially "erases" any terrible mistake that you have done and helps you avoid any conviction. However, if you get into more trouble, the PBJ will be taken away. Additionally, you do not get an unlimited number of opportunities to receive a PBJ from a Judge. It is only meant to help someone who has made one single mistake in their life and "forgive" them for that mistake.
If you've been charged with a criminal or traffic offense in Maryland, call the attorneys at Portner & Shure today for a free consultation: (410) 995-1515, (301) 854-9000.