Key Terms: P

  • Perjury - Lying during a judicial proceeding after taking an oath to tell the truth.
  • Pleas - Pleas of guilty, which are dispositions in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty, or admits his or her culpability on a particular charge. Most often, pleas will have an agreed-upon sentencing recommendation.
  • Police - In addition to ensuring the security of the citizenry and endeavoring to prevent crimes, the police investigate crimes and arrest individuals who are suspected of committing crimes. Prince George’s County has 27 municipalities within its geographical borders and 27 separate law enforcement agencies in addition to the Prince George’s County Police Department. The primary law enforcement agency within the county is the Prince George’s County Police Department, which has approximately 1,800 law enforcement officers.
  • Postal Trial Rights - Post-trial rights are rights that the defendant has after he or she pleads guilty or is found guilty by way of a judge or jury trial. These rights include an appeal, a motion to reconsider the sentence, a review of sentence by a three judge panel and post convictions proceedings.
  • Preliminary Hearing - An evidentiary hearing to determine whether there is probable cause to move felony charges to Circuit Court.
  • Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) - Sentencing guidelines are a set of guidelines aimed at ensuring uniform sentences throughout the state of Maryland. The documents making up the guidelines categorize all crimes, giving them a designated number. Next, the guidelines categorize prior criminal conduct of the defendant, giving this conduct designated numbers. Finally, the guidelines use a chart where the numbers are plugged in for the designated categories. The sentencing guideline range is then calculated using the chart. Judges are not bound by the guidelines. They may go below or above the guidelines but must give a reason on the designated form.
  • Prince George's County Department of Corrections - The Prince George’s County Department of Corrections is the agency in the county placed in charge of all persons in detention.
  • Probable Cause - Probable cause refers to facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonably intelligent and prudent person to believe that a particular person has committed a specific offense, or that a physical location contains evidence of a crime.
  • Probation - Probation may be given following a term of incarceration, or in lieu of jail. A Circuit Court judge may impose up to five years of probation, and a District Court judge may impose up to three years of probation.
  • Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) - Probation before judgment is a form of probation that a judge may impose after a finding of guilt, but before the judge enters a final judgment of conviction. Unlike standard probation, once probation before judgment is satisfactorily completed, defendant will not obtain a criminal conviction. After the period of probation has ended, the defendant may the file documents with the court to have the probation before judgment removed from his or her criminal record. During the period of the probation before judgment, the defendant may truthfully answer on any job application that he or she has not been convicted of the crime.
  • Probation Order - A probation order is a court order setting forth the terms and conditions of release of a defendant who has been placed on probation by the court. The terms can be general or may be specific to the defendant or circumstances of the case.