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Prince George's County's Re-Entry Court can reduce your sentence

The probation officer for a 37-year-old defendant had approved for him to take a trip to Florida in anticipation of him moving there. He just had to take a drug test before heading out of town.

A family member had died and anyone that could give him a ride to the office was at the funeral. He missed his drug test. When he did, he put his trip and graduation from re-entry court on the line.

At his next court hearing, the judge asked him when the funeral had ended and about the efforts he made to find someone to bring him in to take the drug test. The judge asked why he didn't reach out to his probation officer about the situation and why he didn't have a back-up plan for a situation like this.

The judge warned the defendant that by him missing his drug test, he risked having to attend several more months of hearings. He then asked the defendant, who'd been invited to take part in the early re-entry program nearly halfway into his 15-year prison term for assault, to take a seat while he thought about how to handle the situation.

Sometime later, when the defendant was given another opportunity to speak, he read aloud an essay outlining how he handled the drug testing situation poorly. He also spoke of his future careers goals and his desire to reunite with his kids. The judge was so impressed by his candor that he allowed him to go on his trip. He's since reconnected with his kids, held many professional jobs and graduated the re-entry program.

Had he been convicted of his crime in any other place other than Prince George's County and the only other one in Maryland that has a Re-Entry Court program, he would've had to complete his entire sentence. He's glad that the judge gave him a second chance at life though.

Individuals who are convicted of felonies in Prince George's County can apply to be accepted to Re-Entry Court provided that they aren't serving time for kidnapping, arson or sexual offenses. Defendants with convictions for violent crimes may be admitted at the judge's discretion.

If you'd like to learn more about your prospects for being accepted to the program, then a criminal defense attorney can advise you of your rights to do so.

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