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Maryland Criminal Defense Law Blog

Domestic violence is a serious matter in Maryland

When you and a family member get into an argument, it is easy for things to get out of hand. In some cases, you might end up with criminal charges or civil action against you because that family member claims that he or she was a victim of domestic violence.

Maryland has some very strict laws about what constitutes domestic violence. In this state, domestic violence occurs when there is a rape, sexual offense, attempted rape, attempted sexual offense, assault, stalking or false imprisonment. Domestic violence is also defined as doing something that places a family member or household member in fear of imminent body harm that would be serious.

Probation violations must be taken seriously

When you are given probation as a penalty for a criminal conviction, you must ensure that you meet all the requirements for the probation program. When you don't meet the requirements, you can stand to face new criminal charges for a probation violation. In some cases, being found guilty of a probation violation can land you in jail and can result in more fines.

There are several ways that probation can be violated. The tie that binds them all together is that you didn't follow the rules of the program. Generally, the terms of probation stipulate that you can't get into any new legal trouble, you can't miss any court dates, you can't miss meetings with your probation officer, you can't use drugs and you can't leave the area without permission.

Several factors affect drug case defense strategies

The circumstances surrounding drug cases can vary greatly. In our previous blog post, we discussed the case of the fatal heroin sale that led to one person facing criminal charges. If you recall, that case was resolved with a plea agreement. That is only one possible way that a drug case can be resolved.

We know that you value your freedom and don't want to have to face a lifetime of negative impacts because of a drug charge. We can't promise you that you will be found not guilty or that you won't have to deal with some penalties. We can, however, promise you that we will give your case personalized attention from start to finish.

Plea agreement ends criminal proceedings for fatal heroin sale

For some people, selling drugs is a way to make fast money. Making that money, however, can come at a high cost if the person is caught. Drug charges in Maryland have serious penalties that aren't anything to laugh at. One 24-year-old man was recently sentenced as part of a plea agreement involving heroin sales.

The incident occurred on July 18, 2013 when the young man sold heroin to a customer. Later on the same day, the man sold more heroin to the same individual. That individual died shortly after that second purchase. The cause of death was ruled to be heroin intoxication.

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.

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