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Maryland Criminal Defense Blog

Purging a criminal record isn't easy, even for misdemeanors

You've been stopped for a minor drug possession charge or maybe a DUI. If you're convicted, you could be given a misdemeanor on your record and sentenced according to the laws for the state. Is a misdemeanor really that big of a deal after your sentence is served? Will it really have an effect on your life? The short answer to these questions is yes, and here's why.

Although you may not go to jail over a misdemeanor, this doesn't mean you won't have repercussions in your daily life. Your permanent record will show your misdemeanor, making it possible for potential employers to see the misdemeanor and to question your potential as an employee. Interestingly, misdemeanors have the same kind of collateral consequences as a felony would.

Is sexting a friend illegal if you are a minor?

Internet crimes come in many forms, but in reality, not all Internet crimes actually take place online. One common internet crime that comes up in court is called sexting. Sexting is essentially texting involving sexual topics and descriptions. Sexting can be the transmission of nude photos, suggestive materials or image-based items. Sexting can be completely text-based, but it doesn't have to be.

Sexting, when between consenting adults, isn't anything the courts worry about. The problem comes when images of minors or individuals who don't want their images on the Internet or a text message are used. If a minor sends a sexual image through a text, it can even be seen as child pornography.

Get your bail lowered or reduced in Maryland

When you're facing time in jail due to a felony or misdemeanor, there's a chance you'll have a bail amount set for your case. If you can't meet the bail cost, then you'll have to wait in jail until the day of your hearing or trial. If you can pay the bail, then you can typically go home and wait for your case to come up in court.

Typically, you'll go through a hearing where your bail will be set. If your bail is not approved, you could be stuck in jail until trial; fortunately, you can fight back against a denied bail judgment.

Understand your misdemeanor in Maryland

Misdemeanor cases vary, and the punishments for misdemeanors do, too. With recent riots in Maryland, understanding what a misdemeanor is and how you know if you've been charged is important. Depending on the type of offense claimed against you, there could be as little as a fine as a penalty or as much as a prison sentence. Typically, a misdemeanor's penalties are less than felonies, although not always.

Generally speaking, misdemeanors are violations that break the law but don't cause serious harm or major damage. So, for instance, a robbery where no one got hurt could be considered a misdemeanor, but a bank robbery where someone was shot would be considered to be a felony.

What are some kinds of criminal defenses in Maryland?

If you've been accused of a crime, the first thing you'll want to do is to develop a defense. There are several kinds of defenses you can use if you end up in court. The truth, an admission of guilt and denials can all be used in your favor.

With the truth, you want to show people that you either couldn't have committed the crime or that it has been taken out of context. You want to base your story on truth, and you want to have a compelling story that gains sympathy from the jury or judge on the case. If you can describe how the events didn't happen like the prosecution has said they did and have evidence to support this, it can be a strong defense.

What are some Internet crime statistics for the United States?

Internet crimes range in type and severity, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation keeps tabs so complaints can be registered and reflected on for studies and ongoing research. Each year, the FBI focuses on the places with the most complaints as well as the number of complaints that come in about things like cyber bullying, online sexual harassment and other serious Internet threats.

Being accused of one of these crimes can be life altering, so using this research makes it possible to show the likelihood of a person committing a crime or having the resources to do so. Here are some of the most common statistics that could be used in court during your case.

Protect yourself against underage drinking charges in Maryland

You're young, and going to parties or hanging out with older friends can be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, if you're drinking and you're underage, you've put yourself at risk. There are few cases where a minor drinking alcohol won't be pursued by the authorities. If you're caught with even trace amounts of alcohol in your blood, you could be in a lot of trouble with the law.

If you're stopped and a breathalyzer shows you've been drinking, you could be arrested on the spot. It's illegal for those under 21 to possess or drink alcohol in Maryland. You can have a blood alcohol content level of up to 0.02 percent before you can get in trouble, but if you register above that amount, then you can be charged with underage drinking.

Man potentially transmits HIV and faces 18 months in prison

If you had a serious transmittable disease such as HIV or AIDS, you'd probably want to make sure other people didn't get it from you. With medical advances, the drugs you take may be able to help reduce the risk of transmission, but if there's any risk, should you have to tell the people you have sexual relationships with about your disease?

In a case involving a Virginia man with HIV who had traveled to Bethesda, Maryland, police are claiming that the man was attempting to transfer HIV to two women he had unprotected sex with after they met at a local bar. He has now been sentenced to 18 months in prison, because Maryland's laws make it a misdemeanor for anyone with HIV to knowingly transfer the disease to someone else.

Human trafficking to stay a misdemeanor in Maryland

If you've been accused of kidnapping someone or are being investigated as part of a rape or sex crime scandal, then you may be interested to know that while many rape-related crimes are felonies, human trafficking is not. Despite the fact that human trafficking is well-known in Maryland, which is known as a hot-spot for the crime, it has not yet reached felony status. That means those who are accused can only receive a misdemeanor, even though people in assault or rape cases could be penalized via a felony.

While some people may argue that human trafficking is something that should be a felony under law, that's not going to be the case in Maryland, according to news from March 26. Human trafficking, which involves slavery and potentially rape or assault, is classified as being a misdemeanor in Maryland.

What are some criminal defense ideas for federal charges?

If you've been accused of a crime in Maryland, then you may be wondering what kinds of options you have for defending yourself. It's possible to use several tactics to do so. Here are a few you may be able to apply to your case.

Take for instance this scenario. If you were attacked and forced to fight with someone to defend yourself, you could be said to have been in duress. If your fight resulted in you killing your attacker, it could be possible to have the murder charge eliminated if you can prove that you had no motive and were in danger. If you were under threat of bodily harm or death, this is one defense you may be able to fall back on. This type of defense may also be similar to a defense alleging self defense.