In Maryland, a life sentence may mean a full life sentence, a life sentence with a potential for parole, or a life sentence with no potential for parole.
Full Life Sentence
A full life sentence in Maryland is when a court finds that the crime committed is so severe that it mandates the defendant to remain in prison for their natural life, with no eligibility for parole.
Life Sentence With Potential for Parole
A life sentence with the potential for parole occurs when the court requires the defendant to spend a minimum of 25 years in prison, as a result of their crime. However, the defendant will be eligible to petition the parole commission after they have served at least 25 years of their sentence.
Life Sentence With No Potential for Parole
A life sentence with no potential for parole is when a defendant is sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, meaning that the defendant will never be released from prison. This sentence is typically handed down for the most severe criminal cases, such as murder or drug-related offenses.
Life sentences in Maryland vary and depending on the charges, defendants may receive a sentence with or without parole eligibility. A full life sentence will keep the defendant in prison until they die, while life sentences with the possibility of parole require the defendant to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison before they are eligible to petition for a parole hearing. A life sentence with no potential for parole means that the defendant will never be released from prison.
No matter the sentence given, Maryland law is very clear on the fact that life sentences are meant to provide not only retribution for the crime but also to protect society from potentially dangerous criminals.