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Maryland Criminal Defense Law Blog

Adults who allow minors to drink can be held accountable

A rather interesting trend is occurring in Maryland that involves parents allowing people who are under the legal drinking age to have parties at their homes. In this state, doing that comes with the possibility of criminal penalties because of a Maryland law that forbids adults from allowing underage drinking. A new ruling by the highest court in Maryland now adds another possible penalty that adults who allow underage drinking might have to face -- civil penalties.

The Court of Appeals noted that children aren't able to handle the effects of alcohol. With that note, the court ruled that adults who allow children to consume alcohol can be held liable in civil court. The court's opinion is a marked difference from the usual reluctance that it has shown for holding third parties liable for the actions of people who are drunk.

What is drug possession and what are some elements?

Drug possession charges are some serious charges that can often come to people in a desperate situation. People who are addicted to drugs often think that there isn't anything that they won't do just to get their next hit. This often leads them to do things they wouldn't normally do. When they are finally caught with drugs on them, they might end up facing drug possession charges.

What is drug possession?

What exactly does it mean to be placed on probation?

Probation is one of the possible sentences that a judge can hand down in a criminal case. If you are being told that you will be placed on probation, you should make sure that you know what it means because failing to comply with the terms of probation can mean that you will face additional criminal charges.

What does it mean to be on probation?

Ruling clarifies domestic violence convictions and firearms

We have often discussed how much a domestic violence conviction can have on your life. The United States Supreme Court has recently clarified that a domestic violence conviction can prevent a person in the United States from owning a firearm. That ruling might have you wondering exactly what you need to do to fight against the charges.

The ruling provided an important clarification that some people might be interested in learning. The court was asked to determine if the ban on owning firearms after a domestic violence conviction applied to all convictions, including misdemeanors and those that were based on recklessness instead of intent.

What does it mean to be placed under arrest?

People who are being charged with criminal acts are usually placed under arrest. This is a big difference from being detained or being questioned. Understanding the points that make an arrest an arrest can help you when you are dealing with law enforcement officers.

What elements are present during an arrest?

Professional drivers are greatly impacted by DUI charges

If you are a professional driver, or even a delivery driver who relies on your ability to drive, you might realize that a drunk driving charge can end your career. What you might not realize is that you might face a drunk driving charge even if your blood-alcohol concentration is below the commonly quoted .08 percent. We know that you might have some questions about the charges you are facing and the options you have for a drunk driving defense.

If you have a commercial driver's license, you can face a driving under the influence charge if your BAC is above .04 percent. For ordinary drivers who are over 21 years old, a DUI is possible if your BAC is above .08 percent. As you can see, commercial drivers have a limit that is half that of ordinary drivers.

Defacing or destroying another person's property is a crime

People work hard to acquire the property they have. Most people want their property to remain in good condition for as long as possible. Sometimes, other people will take it upon themselves to destroy or deface property that belongs to another person. This might be done for any number of reasons, including trying to show off their artistic abilities in the form of graffiti. No matter what the reason, defacing or destroying another person's property is a criminal act that can lead to criminal charges.

Some people might not realize that even actions that seem more like pranks, such as egging a home, are considered vandalism. Other possible acts of vandalism include keying a car, slashing tires, breaking windows, knocking down signs, altering street signs or spray painting someone else's property.

Governor signs laws decreasing sentences for some crimes

The sentencing guidelines in the state are what the court uses to determine the length of a sentence that a person receives for a particular criminal act. In some cases, such as when a person is charged with a minor theft case or a drug case, the sentencing guidelines are particularly harsh. That means that the prison population is teeming with people who might need treatment or other help instead of simply being thrown into prison.

Governor Larry Hogan has recently signed legislation that will overhaul the sentencing guidelines for some crimes. It is estimated that this will help to reduce the population in the state's prisons by around 1,000 inmates.

Know what probation and parole entail

There are a host of different options that are available for sentencing in a criminal trial. In some cases, the defendant will face probation instead of incarceration. In other cases, the defendant will face incarceration with the possibility of parole. It is crucial that anyone who is facing the sentencing phase of a criminal trial understand the difference between the two programs so they don't face violations of the terms by which they must abide.

Probation is commonly referred to as community supervision that is handled by a probation officer. A person on probation would have to report to the probation officer at preset times. In some cases, drug testing and other terms are required as part of the probation sentence. Each probation officer has specific ways of doing things. You should make sure that you understand the terms of probation, which can include holding down a job and other conditions, because if you don't comply with them, you might find yourself in front of the judge again facing probation violation allegations.

Not all property crimes involve theft

There is a host of different property crimes that can occur. While most people think of property crimes involving thefts, such as robbery or larceny, there are other crimes that involve property that might not be as common. That isn't to say that they aren't serious. All property crimes, even those like arson that don't involve theft, are serious matters that can come with considerable penalties.

The malicious and willful burning of property is the definition of arson. This means that anyone who sets fire to a property can be charged with arson, even if the property is his or her own property. There are certain elements that must be considered in an arson case, some of which can vary slightly.

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