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Maryland Criminal Defense Law Blog

An order of protection can make life challenging

The four forms of domestic abuse were our topic for last week's blog. Those forms show just how widespread allegations of domestic abuse can be. When it comes to domestic violence accusations, it is vital that you take those accusations seriously because they can affect every aspect of your life.

When you have been accused of domestic violence, you might face proceedings in civil court and criminal court. Both courts have serious penalties that can make your life difficult. From the start, you will likely have to make some serious life changes because if an order of protection is issued you won't be able to go home as long as that order is in place. If you have children, that order usually means that you won't be able to see the children for a while.

Domestic violence encompasses 4 forms of abuse

Domestic violence is something that hits close to home in a literal sense. When you learn that you are being accused of domestic violence, it can often feel like your world is crashing down around you. In some cases, you will be forbidden from seeing the people you love. If criminal charges are filed, that adds another level of difficulty to the situation.

It is important that anyone involved in a relationship understand some basic points about domestic violence. Not all domestic violence is physical. In fact, there are four forms of domestic violence: physical, emotional, economic and sexual. Each covers a different set of actions, but some forms of domestic violence can include more than one of these forms.

Theft charges require aggressive representation

People in this world want to protect the property they worked hard to accumulate. For that reason, people usually decide to contact the police when their property is missing. In some cases, the person who took the property is properly identified. In other cases, the person who is detained might not be the person who took the items. No matter which category you fall into, it is vital that you understand your rights throughout the process.

Just last week, we discussed how you should know your rights about being detained without being formally charged with a crime. That is only one thing that you should be aware of if you find yourself being accused of theft. You also need to know that you have the right to have legal representation throughout the proceedings, including during the interrogations with the police.

Know your rights about being detained without charges

When you are arrested, you likely want to know what you are being charged with. You probably want to move through the process as fast as possible so that you can move on with your life. But, what happens if you are arrested and held without charges? The answer to that might interest some of our readers.

The Constitution of the United States provides defendants with the right to a speedy trial. This means that under the Sixth Amendment, you can't be held indefinitely without the prosecution pressing charges on you. In most cases, you can't be held in custody for more than 72 hours without charges.

Sentence lengths might not predict recidivism rates

Last week, we discussed how minimum mandatory sentences for some drug charges might be changing if a bill becomes a new law. Some of our readers might find that troubling, but we want our readers to know that longer sentences might not reduce recidivism.

If you think about the crime rates now, you might notice that recidivism rates are high despite the lengthy sentences some defendants receive. On the other side of the coin is the fact that most crimes are attributed to people who are under 35 years old. This is the argument that some people use to say that longer prison sentences are the key to reducing crime, especially if the person is kept in prison until he or she is 35.

Mandatory minimum sentences might change in Maryland

Changes to the minimum sentencing laws for drug offenses might occur soon in Maryland. There is a bill before the Maryland House that seeks to allow judges to depart from the mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug offenders. This could have a considerable impact on the criminal justice system in the state.

Maryland House Bill 121 sets up a safety valve of sorts that would allow judges to move away from the minimum sentencing requirements for drug-related offenses that aren't violent. This would allow judges the ability to bypass unjust cookie-cutter sentences that are based solely on the number of convictions a person has had. As it stands now, the bill has passed the Senate and is waiting on a vote in the House.

Why are plea bargains used in criminal cases?

People who are going through a criminal case might learn that they are being offered a plea deal. More than 90 percent of criminal cases are resolved using this method. It is important for defendants to understand some points of plea bargains so they can decide if they want to accept the offer or not.

Why should I consider a plea bargain?

Protect your rights as you fight against drug charges

As we discussed last week, there are certain freedoms that are removed when you have a felony drug conviction on your record. One of those freedoms that can be affected is the freedom to travel where you want. When you are facing drug charges, all of the consequences of a conviction are likely going through your mind. We know how stressful that can be.

You don't have to fight against drug charges on your own. We can help you with your defense from the start of your case until the end. We have handled a variety of drug cases, including manufacturing, distribution, possession, trafficking and possession with intent to distribute. Even if your case involves prescription drugs, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana or mushrooms, we can help you fight the charges against you.

Felony convictions might make traveling difficult

People who are facing a felony charge might realize that a conviction can lead to having to pay fines, spending time in prison or having to live on probation. While those are some of the consequences of a felony conviction, they aren't the only consequences. Some people might not realize that a felony conviction might stop you from being able to travel.

One factor that determines if you are able to get a passport with a felony conviction is the charge you were convicted on. Some drug felonies can disqualify you from being able to get a passport. One example is a conviction for international drug trafficking. That charge is an automatic and mandatory disqualification from being able to get a passport. Other drug felonies can also stop you from getting a passport.

What is the Ignition Interlock Program in Maryland?

When a person is convicted of drunk driving offenses in Maryland, he or she might have to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program. This program requires that participants have an ignition interlock device installed on all vehicles they drive.

How will police officers know I am required to have an ignition interlock?

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Gaithersburg, MD 20877
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