A “stet” is a Latin term meaning “let it stand” and is used in Maryland criminal cases. It’s an indefinite postponement of prosecution where the charges remain on file but are inactive.
A stet is not a conviction, guilty plea, acquittal or dismissal. The case is simply placed on an inactive docket. The state can reopen the case within 3 years if the defendant violates any conditions. After 3 years, the case can be expunged.
How a Stet Works
When a case is stetted in Maryland, the charges are essentially forgotten by the state unless the defendant breaks certain conditions. This allows the defendant to avoid an active prosecution and conviction.
To obtain a stet, a defendant usually waives their right to a speedy trial if the case is later reopened. They may also accept other conditions like community service, counseling or restitution. If the conditions are fulfilled, the stet is opened and the charges rare dismissed.
The state can reopen a stetted case more easily in the first year. In years two and three, they must show “good cause” to reopen it. After three years, the case can potentially be expunged if not reopened.
Benefits of a Stet
A stet can be a favorable outcome for certain defendants. It avoids an immediate conviction while allowing the case to eventually be dismissed and expunged. The defendant must comply with any conditions, but a stet gives them a chance to move on with limited consequences.
While a stet appears on background checks initially, it can be removed after expungement. This allows the defendant to avoid having an indefinite criminal record for charges that were essentially dropped.
Examples of a Stet Being Granted
The charges against one of three men arrested after allegedly swiping a vehicle and fleeing from police in Ocean City were placed on the “stet” docket.
Charges of third-degree sex offense; second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense against a Maryland man were placed on the stet docket in Prince George’s County in 2022.
If you are facing criminal charges in Maryland, you might be able to get a stet. The attorneys at Maronick Law LLC have experience with Glen Burnie, Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh criminal defense matters and can help.
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