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. A guilty verdict is not entered, but a “stet” is not an acquittal or dismissal. 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 criminal charges, unless there are conditions to the stet that must be completed within a certain amount of time.
A stet can be a good result.
Last year, the charges against one of three men arrested in June after allegedly swiping a vehicle and fleeing from police in Ocean City were placed on the “stet” docket.
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, 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.
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.”
After three years on the stet docket, the case can be expunged. Expungement is a process that allows the accused to ask the court to remove certain kinds of court and police records from public view.
Some counties may not offer a stet for certain offenses. A Baltimore criminal defense attorney can provide more details.
If you are facing criminal charges in Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Glen Burnie, Ocean City, Towson or White Marsh, you should talk to a criminal defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you to determine if placement on the stet docket is a possible remedy for your criminal charges. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Maronick have experience handling Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Glen Burnie, Ocean City, Towson or White Marsh criminal defense matters.
The Law Office of Thomas J. Maronick is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your legal needs. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410-885-1775 or via our website for a free consultation.