Assault is a crime of violence, and a conviction of assault will travel with you. It is likely that your reputation will be permanently marred. If you are facing any charges for a violent crime there are proactive steps that you can take that will mitigate the possible consequences. We will examine the facts of your case to make certain that the police followed all of the procedures and did not violate your rights, we will make certain that every possible defense is explored, we will conduct discovery to examine the evidence that will be used against you.
In addition to preparing for your defense, we will discuss what is going on in your life and what you can do to prepare and help assist in your own defense. When we appear in court, we will work as a team. You will be an important part of your defense. If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime of violence, please give us a call. We will be happy to give your case a free review.
The enforcement of drunk driving offenses are very strictly enforced. A lot of proactive participation in your defense is expected by the court. Failure to do what is expected or to appear for trial unprepared can result in serious consequences, like incarceration and losing your driving privileges. This can happen even if it is your first offense.
At the time of the stop:
When you are stopped for a drinking and driving offense whether you refuse to submit to the test, or submit to the test and the result indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, your Maryland driver’s license will be confiscated, you will he issued an Order of Suspension and, if eligible, a temporary license valid for 45 days. The following periods of suspension shall he imposed against your license or privilege to drive in Maryland:
Blood Alcohol more than .08 and less than .15
If your test result is an alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 but less than 0.15: The suspension will be 45 days for a first offense and 90 days for a second or subsequent offense.
If your test result is an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more: The suspension will be 90 days for a first offense and 180 days for if second or subsequent offense. Also, you may consider participation in the interlock program. The Ignition Interlock System Program (§ 16-404.1 of the Maryland Vehicle Law) requires that the vehicle(s) you drive to be equipped with a device that prevents you from operating it if you have alcohol in your blood. You blow into the device, and your blood alcohol is tested.
If you refuse to submit to a test: The suspension will he 120 days for a first offense and one (1) year for a second or subsequent offense. An additional criminal penalty of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 2 months or both, may be imposed under § 27101(x) of the Maryland Vehicle Law if you are convicted of a drunk or drugged driving offense under § 21-902, and the judge or jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly refused to take a test arising out of the same circumstances.
If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and were driving a non-commercial motor vehicle when you were stopped, and refuse to submit to a test, your CDL, or privilege will be disqualified for one year for a first offense or for life if your CDL or privilege has been previously disqualified for at least 1 year under § 16-812(a) or (b) of the Maryland Transportation Article, a federal law, or any other state’s law. If you were driving a commercial motor vehicle and refuse the test, your CDL or privilege will be disqualified.
The penalty for suspension of your license can be modified under certain circumstances, but not if you refuse a test, or take a test with a result of 0.15. In these circumstances you are ineligible for modification of the suspension or issuance of a restrictive license, unless you participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program under § 16-404.1 of the Maryland Vehicle Law. This program requires the vehicle(s) you drive to be equipped with a device that prevents you from operating it if you have alcohol in your blood.
You will be scheduled for a hearing at the Administrative Offices of the Motor Vehicle Administration. At a hearing, an administrative judge may modify a suspension by permitting you to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program for one year, but is not required to do so.
In the alternative, you may elect to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program for one year, instead of the period of suspension, if the following conditions are met:
1) Your driver’s license is not currently suspended, revoked, canceled, or refused;
2) You were not charged with a moving violation arising out of the same Circumstances as the Order of Suspension that involved the death of, or serious physical injury to, another person; and
3) Within thirty (30) days of the date of the Order of Suspension you
You may request an Administrative Hearing at any time within 30 days of the date of the Order of Suspension to show why your driver’s license or privilege should not be suspended. You must request a hearing within 10 days of the date of the Order of Suspension to insure that your privilege to drive is not suspended prior to your hearing. Your request for a hearing must be made in writing. You may use the “Hearing Request” form if available. Send your request to the Office of Administrative Hearings at 11101 Gilroy Rd., Hunt Valley, MD 21031-1301. You must include a check or money order for $125.00, which is the required filing fee, made payable to the “Maryland State Treasurer.” Your request for a hearing will be invalid if submitted without the required $125.00 filing fee.
Offenses Occurring While Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle:
In addition to any suspension for a test failure or refusal, if you were operating a commercial motor vehicle and your test result indicates an alcohol concentration of 0,04 or more, or you refused to submit to a test, your commercial driver’s license or privilege shall be disqualified 1 year for a first offense, or 3 years for a first offense committed while transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded, and disqualified for life if your commercial driver’s license has been previously disqualified for at least one year under MD TM 16-812(a) or (b), a federal law, or any other state’s law.
Your Driver’s license or Privilege will be Suspended on the 46th Day after the Order of Suspension if:
Drug charges will have a serious impact on your life. It can affect your current and future employment, and for students it could have serious repercussions regarding both your enrollment in college and your eligibility for student loans. Repeat offenders are given harsher sentences, often with minimum required jail time, so it is absolutely crucial that you avoid having drug charges on your record whenever possible. We will work to review every detail of your case, from the circumstances of your arrest to the nature of the charges, in order to avoid a guilty verdict or, when that’s not possible, to seek the most lenient outcome.
Possession for controlled dangerous substances (CDS) carry a maximum sentence of four years in prison and a $25,000 fine under §5-601(c)(1) of the Maryland Criminal Code. However, courts are not always inclined to view drug users brought in on possession as criminals. Instead, they can be persuaded to treat addiction as a disease. There are many alternatives to jail time for individuals facing possession charges, and we are experienced in advocating for the best possible outcome.
Although possession of Marijuana has recently been classified as a civil offense, possession of more than 10gm is still subject to the criminal code under §5-601. This carries a maximum sentence of one year and a $1,000 fine. Quick and aggressive legal action can keep convictions to a minimum.
Possession of CDS with the intent to sell, distribute, or transport can be a very serious offense and is routinely met with harsh sentencing in Maryland courts, with repeat offenders facing mandatory jail time. The maximum and minimum sentencing under §5-602 of the Maryland Criminal Code depends on the classification of the drug. CDS are split into five schedules, with Schedule I containing the most dangerous and addictive (e.g. heroin, amphetamines, etc.) and Schedule IV containing primarily additives. A full list of drugs and their schedules can be found here.
Recently, possession of marijuana under 10gm has been decriminalized, making it a civil offense without the potential for jail time. First offenders can receive a fine up to $100, with repeat offenders facing fines from $250-$500. In addition, substance abuse rehabilitation can be ordered by the court in situations where they deem it necessary.
Children under the age of 21 will likely have their driving license suspended, along with the possibility of court ordered substance abuse rehabilitation or a mandatory work program consisting of 20-40 hours a week depending on the number of offenses committed.
Oddly, though marijuana under 10 grams is a civil offense, possession of marijuana paraphernalia is still criminal. This leads to a rather absurd situation where you cannot be prosecuted criminally for smoking, but you can technically be prosecuted for whatever tools you are using to do so. The state of Maryland attempted to change this law in 2015 but it was vetoed by governor Larry Hogan after the bill passed through the General Assembly. For more information, see this article. Though it is likely the law will change soon to make paraphernalia legal, it has not yet done so. In addition, the state of Maryland has passed a law that will make smoking in public places punishable with up to a $500 fine starting in 2015.
Sex crimes can cover a variety of charges including but not limited to rape, assault, harassment, and prostitution. The vast majority of sexual offenses will, in addition to jail time, be subject to the sex offender registration. Being a registered sex offender is a life altering consequence that will make it extremely difficult to hold down a job and even find housing. We understand how devastating such an accusation can be, and will work tirelessly to analyze evidence and police reports, investigate the motivations and credibility of the alleged victim and any witnesses.
The state of Maryland classifies rape in the first and second degree. A conviction of first-degree rape holds a maximum sentence of life in prison, while second-degree rape has a maximum of 20 years. Without aggressive and proactive legal defense, both condemn you to a lifetime on the sex offender registry, no matter how lenient the sentence.
Sexual offenses can be crimes not classified as rape, but are treated just as harshly by the courts. The severity of sexual offenses depends on the use of force, the use of a weapon, and threats made to an individual. Statutory rape often is prosecuted as a sexual offense. The age of consent in Maryland is 16, and intercourse with an individual under that age can receive a second-degree rape sentence or, more likely, a third or fourth-degree sexual offense sentence depending on the ages of the parties involved. Exceptions known as “Romeo and Juliet laws” are made for minors who are less than four years older than the victim.
Stalking and harassment, though less serious than charges of assault, can still be treated with severity in court. Stalking can get up to 5 years in prison with a $5,000 fee and harassment can get up to 90 days in prison and a $500 fine with the first offense, and 180 days and a $1,000 fine for the second offense. Charges of stalking and harassment are based on intent and the actions of the alleged victim. This means that the case generally rests on details of witness testimony, which we review carefully in order to avoid wrongful charges. It is important to note that individuals who are working with political or religious connections will likely not fall into this category as “legal purpose” is a requirement to prove harassment.
Cases involving search warrants can be tricky, especially when individuals aren’t aware of what their rights are in relation to search and seizure by the police. Search warrants can be used when there is probable cause that a crime is being committed in your home or probable cause that illegal items are being stored in your home, in your car, or on your person. Search warrants must be looked at in detail in order to ensure that the police acted within the law and your constitutional rights were not infringed.
A legal search warrant must be:
While you generally need to be given notice by the police before they begin their search, there are times where notice isn’t needed. This includes when there is a suspicion that illegal items may be disposed of or hidden and when the life or safety of the officer is threatened.
Though the police have the right to retain anything that was illegally used or obtained, in many situations you can retrieve what is legally and rightfully yours. Wrongfully taken property will be returned to you by order of a court judge. This generally happens if the wrong item is confiscated, if there is no adequate probable cause, or the search warrant is over 15 days old, after which it is void. Rightfully taken property can be retrieved when the case is dismissed, if the defendant is acquitted, if the state doesn’t appeal the case, or if the item was held without real reason. Many instances of repossession require a court order for the items to be released.
The police do not always need a warrant to search you. If you are arrested on the street or for a traffic violation, the police can search your person or your car without a warrant. They also don’t need a warrant when you give your permission, or when illegal items are in plain view.
Recently it became a lot easier for a person accused of domestic violence to be found guilty. The accuser merely needs to prove that it was “more likely than not” that the violence occurred. If the court finds a person responsible for domestic violence, the court will issue an “Order of Protection Against Domestic Violence.” The Order may include restraining orders in favor of the spouse and children, loss of custody, vacation of the family home, and the payment of maintenance, among many other possible reliefs.
A domestic violence charge will seriously affect not only your family life but can have criminal repercussions as well. A first-degree sentence, which includes serious bodily harm, could carry a 25 year prison sentence. Second-degree domestic violence could result in up to 10 years in prison with a fine of $2,500. While other sentences can be given, including community service, probation and restraining orders, the state of Maryland does take domestic violence charges seriously.
We understand that a conviction of domestic violence, and the public record that goes along with it, can do irreparable damage to your own reputation and that of your family and children. We will do everything to ensure that your case is dealt with in a way that is appropriate to your family situation.