What Role Does A

What Role Does A "Stet" Play in Maryland Criminal Law Charges?

What Role Does A "Stet" Play in Maryland Criminal Law Charges?

One of the weapons in a Baltimore criminal law attorney’s arsenal in defending a client is getting a charge placed on the stet docket.

What is a Stet?

Stet is a Latin term that means “let it stand.”

According to the Baltimore County state’s attorney office, a stet is an indefinite postponement and, while it is not an acquittal or dismissal, no guilty verdict is entered. The charges remain; but, they are not active in the system.

Basically, a stet in Maryland means that the case is placed on the inactive docket and forgotten by the state. In fact, in many instances a case placed on the stet docket means that the prosecutor sticks the case file in a drawer and forgets about the Baltimore or Maryland criminal charges, unless there are special conditions to the stet that must be completed within a certain amount of time.

A stet can be a good result.

Conditions of a Stet

But, there is no such thing as a free lunch. In order to get the stet, the defendant will have to waive his right to a speedy trial if the case is re-opened. In many instances, the stet will be re-opened if the accused is arrested on a new charge.

If a stet is re-opened and set for trial, then the accused cannot claim that his right to a speedy trial under state and federal law has been violated.

In obtaining a stet, the defendant may be asked to accept conditions laid down by the court such as fulfilling community service hours, undergoing counseling or making restitution within a certain period of time. When the conditions are completed by the defendant, the stet will be opened and the charges dismissed. If the conditions of the stet are not completed, the case will probably be re-opened and the State will probably continue the prosecution of the case.

How Long Does a Stet Last?

A stet can be opened for three years; but, in the second and third years, the standard that the state must meet in opening up the stet becomes more difficult. During the first year, a case on the stet docket can be re-opened for any reason. During the second and third years, however, the stet can only be opened by filing a motion and showing “good cause.”

If a case is on the stet docket after three years, it can be expunged. According to the People’s Law Library of Maryland, you may file for expungement of records relating to a criminal charge if the case was placed on the stet docket. Expungement is a process that allows the accused to ask the court to remove certain kinds of court and police records from public view.

Please note that some counties may not offer a stet for certain offenses.

More Questions about a Stet or other Legal Matters?

An experienced Baltimore criminal law attorney can help you to determine if placement on the stet docket is a possible remedy for your Maryland criminal charges. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Maronick have experience fighting Maryland criminal charges on your behalf. You can contact Thomas Maronick at 410.244.5068 or via our website for a free consultation.