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What is a Batson Challenge?

Before a criminal trial begins, the prosecution and the defense are allowed to question potential jurors before they are seated. The purpose of jury selection is to screen out any biases that might compromise a juror’s ability to render a fair and impartial verdict. Either side may challenge a juror “for cause,” meaning they fail […]

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Recent Posts
  • What is a Batson Challenge?

    Before a criminal trial begins, the prosecution and the defense are allowed to question potential jurors before they are seated. The purpose of jury selection is to screen out any biases that might compromise a juror’s ability to render a fair and impartial verdict. Either side may challenge a juror “for cause,” meaning they fail […]

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  • How Long Can a Person be Deemed Mentally Incompetent to Stand Trial?

    There are situations in which a person accused of a crime is considered “incompetent to stand trial” (IST). When a defendant’s mental competency is at issue, the trial court is required to conduct a hearing. If the court finds a defendant IST, the judge can release the defendant or order civil commitment to a mental […]

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  • Is Fleeing the Scene of a Crime Proof of Guilt?

    When a possible criminal act has occurred in your presence, your first instinct may be to get away from the scene as quickly as possible. But could such a split-second decision be later introduced as evidence that you were the person who committed the crime? The answer to that question is more complicated than you […]

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  • How Long Could I Go to Jail for Distributing Opiates?

    The opiate crisis has led Maryland prosecutors to crack down on anyone suspected of distributing drugs such as Fentanyl. Federal and state laws classify Fentanyl and similar opiates as a Schedule II controlled substance. This means that under Maryland law, a person convicted of distributing or possessing opiates with intent to distribute faces a maximum […]

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  • When “Knowledge” of a Crime is Not Required for a Conviction

    With certain exceptions, it is generally against the law in Maryland for an individual to “wear, carry, or transport a handgun, whether concealed or open, on or about the person.” Historically, Maryland has considered this a “strict liability” offense. This means that prosecutors do not have to prove mens rea–that the defendant acted with knowledge–to […]

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  • What is “Felony Murder” in Maryland?

    Murder refers to the intentional killing of another human being. When death is the result of accidental but reckless behavior, prosecutors will normally charge the killer with manslaughter instead. However, if an accidental death occurs during the commission of another, unrelated felony, then prosecutors may charge the accused with murder. This is known as the […]

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  • How Does Sentencing Work After a Criminal Trial?

    A criminal trial does not end when the jury delivers a guilty verdict. There is then the matter of determining the defendant’s sentence. The trial judge is responsible for sentencing the defendant after considering information offered by the prosecution and any statements from the victims (if any). The defendant also has a statutory right to […]

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  • When is Hearsay Admissible in a Criminal Case?

    In a criminal trial, a judge will not admit hearsay statements as evidence. Hearsay is formally defined as “a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered as evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.” For example, a witness could lawfully testify that they saw […]

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  • When Can a Juvenile be Charged as an Adult in a Maryland Criminal Court?

    In most cases, when a minor is arrested on suspicion of breaking the law, they are tried in a juvenile court. But for certain offenses, a minor as young as 14 or 16 must be charged in adult court. In such situations, the minor can ask to have their case sent down to juvenile court, […]

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  • What are the Rules Governing Breath Tests in DUI/DWI Cases?

    A person commits driving while impaired (DWI) in Maryland if they operate a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.07%, and driving under the influence (DUI) if their BAC is 0.08% or greater. If police arrest you on suspicion of DUI/DWI, it is common practice to request a chemical test, i.e. […]

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  • Federal Appeals Court Rules Baltimore Police Department’s Aerial Surveillance Program Unconstitutional

    Technology makes it easy for us to keep track of people at all times. But this also raises special challenges for criminal defense. After all, if the police can simply track everyone’s whereabouts at all times, do they even need a warrant? In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Carpenter v. United States that […]

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  • What Happens if I Decide Not to Testify at My Own Criminal Trial?

    In any criminal proceeding where you are a suspect (or the defendant), you have the right to keep silent and not say anything. This applies not only to interrogations by the police, but also during any criminal trial. In other words, if you are tried for a crime, you cannot be compelled to testify as […]

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  • Can You Submit Character Evidence as Part of Your Criminal Defense?

    In general, a Maryland prosecutor cannot introduce evidence of your “character” to prove guilt. A trial is supposed to determine if you committed a particular crime, not whether you are a person of bad character who was possibly inclined to commit a crime. That said, as the defendant you do have a right to offer […]

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  • When Will a Maryland Court “Merge” Multiple Convictions for Purposes of Sentencing?

    The Constitution prevents a person from being tried or convicted twice for the same crime. This is known as the prohibition against double jeopardy. At the same time, prosecutors often charge defendants with multiple crimes arising from the same set of facts. To avoid a potential double jeopardy violation, the trial judge can “merge” these […]

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  • When Can a Criminal Defendant Ask for a New Trial Based on “Newly Discovered Evidence”?

    What happens if a person is convicted of a crime but evidence is discovered later that casts doubt on that conviction? Under the rules governing criminal trials in Maryland, the defendant may ask for a new trial or other relief, but they must do so within a very strict time frame–typically one year after their […]

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  • Can You Waive Your Right to a Jury in a Criminal Trial?

    Most of us associate a criminal trial with the jury. This goes back to the founding of the United States, when the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution guaranteed the right of the accused in all criminal prosecutions to a “speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.” In Maryland, this means if you are accused […]

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  • Can the Police Arrest You for Having a Plastic Vial in Your Pocket?

    Criminal drug laws do not just apply to controlled substances. They also make it illegal to possess certain items as “drug paraphernalia,” which can include anything that may be used to store a controlled substance. For example, a vial or a plastic bag may be considered drug paraphernalia. This means that if the police lawfully […]

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  • Can a Judge Actually Reject My Plea Bargain?

    Although high-profile criminal trials get a lot of attention, in reality it is rare for any criminal case to make it that far. According to the federal government’s own statistics, roughly 97% of all federal prosecutions end in a plea bargain of some sort. A plea bargain is basically an agreement between the prosecution and […]

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  • Can the Police Stop You Based on an Anonymous 911 Tip?

    The Fourth Amendment guarantees your right to be free from “unreasonable” police stops. In plain terms, the police cannot randomly stop you without a reasonable suspicion that you might be guilty of a crime, such as drunk driving. But can that reasonable suspicion be based on something like an anonymous tip from a 911 call? […]

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  • What the “CSI Effect” Means for Criminal Trials in Maryland

    Television crime dramas often present a misleading picture of how the system actually works. One example of this is the so-called CSI effect. If you recall, the CSI franchise is a series of fictional dramas that focus on the work of crime scene investigators–in particular, how they gather and use forensic evidence to identify potential […]

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  • Maryland Approves New Rules to Compensate the Wrongfully Convicted

    We all know that the criminal justice system is far from perfect. Too many people are wrongfully convicted of serious crimes every year. As a result, there are innocent people who continue to languish in prison, sometimes for decades. When a wrongfully convicted person is later exonerated, Maryland law does make it possible for them […]

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  • Can I Get a Federal Criminal Arrest Expunged?

    In the United States there are separate federal and state criminal justice systems. This means that certain rules followed by one may not be applicable to the other. For example, while there are fairly detailed procedures in place in the State of Maryland to expunge certain records of a criminal arrest, these same rules do […]

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  • How Using a Firearm Can Lead to Stiffer Criminal Penalties in Maryland

    Anytime a weapon is involved in a crime, the suspect is likely to face serious criminal charges. Indeed, it is itself a crime to use a firearm in the commission of another crime under Maryland law, regardless of whether or not the weapon is loaded or actually used to injure someone. For instance, if you […]

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  • How Maryland’s Problem Solving Courts Can Offer an Alternative to Prison

    Alcohol and drug addiction are serious social problems that often land abusers in trouble with the law. To enable individuals to recover from their addictions many states, including Maryland, have established alternative “drug courts” that provide an alternative to imprisonment for individuals charged with crimes like DUI or possession of a controlled substance. Maryland refers […]

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  • What Questions Can You Ask Prospective Jurors in a Criminal Trial?

    Every person on trial for a crime in Maryland has the right to have their case heard by an impartial jury. At the start of the trial, the prosecution and the defense are given the chance to ask questions of prospective jurors. This process is known as voir dire, and it is intended to screen […]

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  • Could I Really Go to Prison for Perjury?

    If you have ever testified under oath or signed a legal document making statements “under penalties of perjury,” you might be asking if anyone is ever actually prosecuted for perjury. The answer is yes. If prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly made a misstatement of fact while under oath, you can […]

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  • Alternative Pleas: No Contest, Conditional, and Alford

    When you think of entering a plea in a criminal case, you may only think of “guilty” and “not guilty” pleas. Depending on the state you live in, however, you may have more ways to plead. Keep reading to find out what they are. No Contest Pleas A no contest or “nolo contendere” plea can […]

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  • Can I Post Bail While Appealing a Conviction?

    Understanding Post-Conviction Bail Once you have been convicted of a crime, you are no longer presumed innocent. Nevertheless, you do have the legal right to appeal a conviction, and in some cases, you can remain outside of jail while you do so. To seek bail after a conviction, you must convince the judge that is […]

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  • Facing DUI/DWI Charges in Maryland? Here’s What You Should Know

    An arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has the potential to change your whole life. DUI/DWI is a serious offense, and being charged with this crime can lead to jail time, financial penalties, and other consequences. If you are facing these charges, it is important to have experienced representation on your […]

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  • Medical Marijuana is Big Business in Maryland

    Medical marijuana is big business in Maryland. According to statistics compiled by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC), which is the agency responsible for licensing, registering, inspecting, and testing measures that apply to Maryland’s medical cannabis program, total medical cannabis dispensary retail sales from December 2018 through December 2019 approached $270 million. For the same time […]

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  • Maryland Marijuana News for the New Year

    Will marijuana continue to make headline news in Maryland in 2020? Stories about marijuana use, criminalization, and potential adult recreational use legalization cropped up frequently throughout the year. According to one article posted inU.S. News & World Report early in 2019, for example, Marilyn Mosby, Maryland’s prosecuting attorney in Baltimore, had decided to discontinue prosecution […]

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  • Can a Parent be Charged with Child Endangerment in Maryland?

    Like other states, Maryland can force a parent to face criminal charges in a situation that is deemed to be child endangerment. In most cases, charges are initiated after someone like a teacher or medical professional makes a report to the police or Child Services. In order to defend yourself against charges of child endangerment, […]

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  • Can Medication Use Lead to a DUI in Maryland?

    Have you ever received a prescription that came with a warning not to drive or operate machinery while taking the medication? This is because the medication in question can cause drowsiness. You could injure yourself or cause injuries to someone else if you drive or work with machinery while using this medication. As people age, […]

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  • Red Flag Laws

    As we start a new decade, the debate between gun rights and gun control proponents continues to be a source of controversy that attracts media attention. CBS News reports that, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), there were over 33,000 acts of violence committed with guns in 2019. In 2017, according to information published by […]

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  • What is the Initial Appearance in a Maryland Criminal Case?

    If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense in Maryland, the first appearance in court is one of the most important. In a Maryland criminal case, the offender is taken before the judge or court commissioner, which is his or her chance to be released after an arrest and start […]

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  • Ways You Can Accidentally Incriminate Yourself in a Maryland Criminal Case

    Facing criminal charges can be overwhelming. You are likely stressed out and concerned about your future. It is easy to let your nerves get the best of you. This can lead to you saying something that you should not. In some cases, accidental comments can actually incriminate you. This is why it is so important […]

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  • What Are Your Obligations and Risks Under Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law?

    As many Maryland residents know, they do not have to fear prosecution as a result of calling 911 to alert authorities that someone has overdosed on drugs. In years past, the state was covered in billboards announcing this law in response to a massive spike in drug and alcohol overdoses in the state. Also in […]

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  • Common Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Charles County Criminal Defense Attorney

    If you are facing criminal charges in Charles County, you will want to find the best attorney for your particular situation. You should hire someone who has experience in the courtroom and is competent. Minor criminal charges can carry long-term consequences, so do not take even a misdemeanor charge lightly. Choosing the right attorney can […]

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  • What is Considered a Violent Crime in Maryland?

    If you or a loved one has been charged with a violent crime in Maryland, it is imperative that you retain a skilled Maryland criminal defense attorney. Violent crimes are felonies, and a conviction can have a serious impact on your life, including your ability to get a job, apply for loans, rent an apartment, […]

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  • Defense for Maryland Indecent Exposure Charge

    Unfortunately, a silly prank like “mooning” someone at a public event could result in a criminal charge in Maryland for indecent exposure. State law defines indecent exposure as exposing one’s private parts or genitals in a public setting where other people are also present and could witness your actions. This is not something to take […]

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  • What is the Difference Between Civil and Criminal Fraud in Maryland?

    If you or someone you love committed an act of fraud, you might be wondering what that means as far as punishment or a potential lawsuit. The main difference between civil and criminal fraud is how the matter is pursued. If someone files a lawsuit against you, it would be a civil case and the […]

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  • What is an Aggravated Assault Charge in Maryland?

    If you or a loved one has been charged with aggravated assault in Maryland, you may be wondering what the difference is from a standard assault charge. Aggravated assault is not technically a separate crime as defined in the Maryland statutes, but references an assault that either intended to, or did, inflict severe or aggravated […]

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  • What is the Difference Between a Burglary and Home Invasion in Maryland?

    Some people use the terms burglary and robbery interchangeably. However, they are actually separate and distinct charges with different penalties. Burglary is different from a home invasion, as well. If you have been charged with burglary or a home invasion, it is imperative that you speak with a Maryland criminal defense attorney as soon as […]

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  • Do I Need a Criminal Attorney for a Bench Warrant in Maryland?

    Courts issue bench warrants when circumstances necessitate it. They are common in Maryland courts when someone misses a court date. In these cases, the judge will issue a bench warrant that instructs law enforcement officers to hold or arrest the individual if he or she fails to obey an issued court order or failed to […]

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  • What to do if You Have Been Accused of Shoplifting in Maryland

    Have you been charged with shoplifting in Maryland? Even something as minor as stealing a candy bar on a dare can result in serious legal consequences. The state of Maryland takes shoplifting seriously, which is why you need a knowledgeable Charles County criminal defense attorney. In addition to criminal charges, store owners may sue you […]

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  • Is Prostitution Illegal in Maryland?

    Prostitution is not permitted in Maryland in any form. This includes solicitation, which is the act of buying, known as assignation in the state; selling; and pimping, which is primarily linked to human trafficking in Maryland. The switch in focus from pimping, or pandering as it was commonly known, to human trafficking was an important […]

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  • How do Plea Bargains Work in Maryland Criminal Cases?

    It may surprise you to learn that a majority of criminal cases resolve by a plea bargain rather than a trial. This is when a defendant agrees to take a deal and pleads guilty to a lesser crime. In exchange, the prosecutor will recommend that the judge impose a lighter sentence. A plea bargain is […]

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  • Maryland’s Forgery Laws

    The act of forgery in Maryland contains several elements that, when present, would add up to a convictable offense. In order to proceed, the prosecutor has to show evidence that would make a jury believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the state met its burden of proof. Forgery is the possession with intent to use, […]

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  • What Are the Differences Between Maryland State and Federal Criminal Charges?

    Being charged with a crime is a stressful and worrisome experience. It can become even more confusing if you do not understand how the criminal process works and in what court you are being charged. In general, criminal charges are classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Felonies carry more serious penalties, typically, including […]

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  • Waldorf Criminal Defense: What Happens if You are Arrested for Cybercrime?

    If you have been accused or arrested for a cybercrime, it is imperative you speak with a Waldorf criminal defense attorney right away. Some internet crimes are felonies and can result in hefty sentences if convicted. Someone who is convicted of a cybercrime offense will have more difficulty obtaining a job once released from prison. […]

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  • Vehicular Manslaughter in Maryland

    Maryland law is strict when it comes to penalties for vehicular manslaughter, especially when committed while under the influence of alcohol. The most severe penalties are reserved for a drunk driver who causes someone else’s death. A person who is driving under the influence and unintentionally kills someone else can be charged with vehicular manslaughter […]

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  • Important Differences Between Criminal and Civil Cases in Maryland

    The court system in the United States is divided up between the civil and criminal justice systems. While they might seem similar in some ways, there are some notable differences. These differences primarily revolve around: Who can file a lawsuit or bring charges; The punishment and applicable laws; and What the burden of proof is. […]

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  • What Happens if My Teenager is Arrested for Drunk Driving?

    Being arrested for drinking and driving is already a serious offense on its own. If the arrest involves someone who is not of legal drinking age, then there is even more cause for concern. If your teenager has been arrested for drinking and driving, it is imperative that you contact a skilled Maryland criminal defense […]

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  • Is Marijuana Oil Legal in Maryland?

    Cannabidiol (CBD) has the ability to treat a number of chronic conditions, thereby increasing its demand. It is used in a variety of products, including marijuana oil. However, there is a question on whether marijuana oil is legal in various states, including Maryland. While CBD is legal in all US states, certain derivatives are illegal, […]

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  • Why Being Charged with Carjacking in Maryland is Serious

    The crime of carjacking is a serious offense in Maryland and other states. If you have been accused of a carjacking, you could be facing some serious prison time. This offense should not be taken lightly. If you or someone you love has been charged with carjacking, it is imperative you speak to a skilled […]

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  • Can You be Charged in Maryland for Posting Your Crime on YouTube?

    Video is one of the most popular types of media content created today, and many of these videos are uploaded to YouTube where they may, in some instances, go viral. What happens if you post a video that depicts you or someone else committing a crime? Can you be charged in Maryland? The answer is […]

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  • What is Considered White Collar Crime?

    The term ‘white collar crime’ is typically used to describe crimes that are nonviolent and are committed by professionals, primarily for financial gain. These types of crimes are often investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In Maryland, there are […]

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  • What to Know About Getting a DUI/DWI in Maryland

    If you or an immediate family member have been arrested for a DUI or DWI, it is important to speak with a Maryland criminal-defense attorney right away. A DUI stands for driving under the influence, while and a DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. The intoxication can be from drugs, alcohol, or some other type […]

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  • Noah’s Law and Driving Under the Influence in Maryland

    Like other US states, Maryland has its own drunk driving laws. It also has a special law called Noah’s Law, which helped make ignition interlock devices mandatory for all drivers who were recently convicted of a DUI or DWI. History of Noah’s Law Noah’s Law became effective in 2016 and is named after a 24-year-old […]

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  • Is Sexting a Crime in Maryland?

    The term “sexting” refers to the electronic transmission of sexually explicit, suggestive, or nude photos. It is usually done by cell phone using text messages or iMessage, but it can also be done over social media sites like Snapchat and Facebook. Some states have enacted specific laws that deal with sexting, but Maryland has not. […]

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  • What Happens When You are Arrested for Drinking and Driving the First Time?

    Unfortunately, all it takes is one bad decision to result in consequences that can haunt you for the rest of your life. In the event you have been arrested for drinking and driving, it is important to retain a skilled Maryland criminal defense attorney to represent you. A criminal defense attorney who specializes in DUI/DWI […]

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  • What are Typical Probation Conditions in Maryland?

    Maryland judges have a number of options when sentencing an offender. Ordering a period of probation is common, especially for first time offenders and minor offenses. Essentially, a judge offers probation rather than the maximum penalty allotted under the case. As long as you do not commit any additional violations and you comply with all […]

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  • What is Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law?

    Maryland enacted a Good Samaritan Law in 2015, which affords some protection against arrest and prosecution for several stated crimes. It was primarily enacted to protect people who administer assistance in an emergency situation involving any type of drug overdose, where the individual might fear risk of arrest and prosecution. The necessity for a law […]

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  • How to Expunge Your Criminal Record in Maryland

    Obviously, everyone would love to have their criminal record expunged, but only some cases qualify. Expungement means information about a criminal offense is removed from court and law enforcement records, as though it never happened. What Types of Records can be Expunged? There are several types of records that may be eligible for expungement. In […]

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  • Can Police Search Your Vehicle Without a Warrant?

    The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects you against unlawful search and seizure, which can generally prohibit random searches of your vehicle by police. If the police search your vehicle without a valid warrant, a legitimate reason, or without your permission, they may be violating your Fourth Amendment rights. However, there are some […]

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  • Kushner Companies’ Apartments Being Investigated by Maryland Attorney General

    According to CNN Money, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh may be heading up an investigation into Kushner Companies for potential abusive debt collection practices and poor conditions at several of its Maryland area properties. Westminster Management Media reports surfaced earlier in the year that exposed alleged coercive tactics and inferior maintenance procedures in multi-family properties […]

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  • Some Maryland Residents Get Driving Records Expunged

    One of the new laws that went into effect October 1, 2017 is helping more than 600,000 Maryland drivers expunge their driving records. House Bill 1017 was passed during the 2017 legislative session and allows for automatic expungement of eligible driving records. The new law eliminates the need for residents to apply for expungement, which […]

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  • Maryland Loses Chance at Federal Funding for Untested Rape Kits

    For the third year in a row, Maryland was not awarded any assistance from a federal funding program that would help process a large backlog of untested rape kits in the state. According to The Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore County Police Department applied for the federal grant the first two years and was denied both […]

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  • Understanding Maryland’s Impaired Driving Laws

    Drinking and driving in the state of Maryland is illegal, as it is elsewhere in the United States. If you are arrested for an offense related to impaired driving in the state, you can face immediate administrative sanctions, as well as criminal penalties and driver’s license sanctions if convicted. Legal Limit on Blood Alcohol Concentration […]

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  • Why it is Important to Talk to Your Child About Sexual Abuse

    Sexual abuse is an uncomfortable topic on its face, and an even more uncomfortable topic to try and address with your own children. However, shocking cases, like the recent matter of a Charles County ex-school aide charged with 119 counts of abuse, illustrate why these conversations need to happen. It is estimated that at least […]

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  • New House Bill Seeks to Allow Employers to Require Genetic Testing of Employees Through Loophole

    Our genetic structure can tell a lot about the type of people we are, the possible risks of contracting certain genetic diseases, and any predisposition that we may or may not have to certain ailments. Though this is the type of information that is critical to understanding and assessing our health risks and whether we […]

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  • Maryland Bill Proposes Statute of Limitations Extension for Civil Actions Against Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse

    In the United States, when someone violates a law, whether under criminal or civil practice, the victim or the plaintiff will have a certain amount of time to bring either criminal or civil proceedings. The time between the injury or harm and when the victim/plaintiff must bring a claim is called the statute of limitations. […]

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  • Maryland Seeks Stronger Penalties Against Medical Professionals and Others for Not Reporting Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect

    Children are one of the most vulnerable populations in our society. This is due not only to their age, but the effect that a lack of maturity and inexperience can have on the child’s ability to perceive life situations and encounters with others, whether it is a family member, another child, or a stranger. Children […]

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  • Maryland Bill Will Permit Supervised and Legal Use of Illicit Drugs

    Opioid addiction and drug abuse are serious issues in the state of Maryland, as they are around the country. In Baltimore City, for example, there are an estimated 19,000 people who inject drugs, with at least 481 fatal overdoses reported from January 2016 until September 2016. This represents a 65% increase for the same time […]

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