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Maryland Criminal Defense Blog

Embezzlement charges can put your life on hold

Embezzlement is a charge in which someone accuses you of stealing his or her property or money when you were in a position of trust. For instance, an accountant who uses your funds to pay for his or her own home while telling you they have dropped in value in the stock market would be embezzling.

Accounting embezzling is one of the most common forms of this crime and involves manipulating records to hide theft. The fact is that many times, mistakes are made, and they could look like someone was trying to cover up embezzlement when it was an honest error. Writing down a number with a 4 and 7 switched, for instance, could make it look like $7,400 was withdrawn when a person only took out $4,700, leading to accusations about the location of the remaining money

Felonies, misdemeanors and the expungement process in Maryland

Living with a felony can seem like a life sentence, even if you're not in prison. It affects every aspect of your life, from social and personal relationships to career choices and opportunities.

If you've been living with a felony, you might be asking yourself if you could succeed at getting it expunged. It's true that felony convictions and arrests can look bad when you apply to jobs or for housing, and many argue it can hold you back, even when many years have passed since the arrest or conviction.

What is mens rea, and why does it matter?

After a crime is committed and you're accused, one way your attorney can argue your case is to defend your mental state at the time of the incident.

Does a defendant's mental state matter to the court? Absolutely. Most crimes that take place require "mens rea." This term is Latin for a guilty mind. What that means is that the person who committed the crime must have intended to do so and known what it meant to do so. This simple phrase allows the justice system to determine a difference between those who commit crimes intentionally and unintentionally.

Maryland probation agents short-staffed, worried about reform

With criminal justice reform comes a chance to make changes in your life. If you are potentially going to be on parole or probation, hearing that reforms could give you a better chance of life outside prison or more freedom in a parole or probationary program would seem amazing. Unfortunately, in Maryland, probation agents are saying that there aren't enough of them to keep up with the latest reforms.

A new law has been designed to keep nonviolent offenders out of prison completely, but that won't be possible without the parole and probationary agents needed. There is a chronic shortage of probation agents, so there's no one to check offenders or to file reports with the court in a timely fashion. Without enough support, the new reform, called Justice Reinvestment, will simply overwhelm the agents who are already behind due to larger-than-usual caseloads.

When it's legal to drink while under the age of 21

When you're under the age of 21, getting caught with alcohol can mean you're in deep trouble. Fortunately, there are some defenses for having alcohol that can protect you and your reputation, so you don't end up with a misdemeanor on your record.

For instance, if you work in a restaurant that has a liquor license in the state of Maryland, you can legally serve alcohol and possess it, but you aren't allowed to consume it. As long as you're in your work environment or performing work duties, you may possess and handle alcohol as necessary.

Internet crimes: You can face serious penalties

Can you get into trouble for sending spam, hacking into a friend's email account or participating in eBay fraud? Yes, and the consequences might be surprising to you. If you've been accused of one of these or other Internet crimes, your attorney can help you build a defense.

What is the most common Internet crime?

Is sharing passwords a federal crime? Time will tell

It's fairly normal for friends and family members to share passwords to services they use often. For instance, an entire family may share one email account, or roommates may share the same Netflix password and account.

If you share a password to a service that you pay for, does that make you a criminal? Shouldn't the other party be paying for their own services, too? A July 13 report looked into that question for anyone who has ever used a service like Netflix or Hulu. According to a federal court ruling, sharing your password to a subscription service could be a federal crime in the future, and that's something you might want to talk about with your attorney.

What are the penalties for repeat intoxication offenses?

Everyone makes mistakes, but some are more serious than others. If you've been drinking and driving, you know that you shouldn't have been. It's dangerous, and it puts your life and the lives of others at risk. If this isn't the first time, then you could be facing serious penalties for your actions.

What happens after you commit multiple violations of drunk driving laws?

Earning back a life: Felonies and the collateral damages faced

Should a felony affect you for the long term, even when you maintain a clean record? Your attorney can help you work toward having your record cleared through expungement in some cases, but until then, you need to abide by the laws of the state. Maryland's state lawmakers have been working to enact the Justice Reinvestment Act, now a law. The act reforms the current criminal justice system in the state.

Reintegration is important for people who go to prison. They need to be able to get housing, to find employment and should have the right to vote. In many places, people who have been through the system struggle without the support they need; in Maryland alone, over 40 percent of offenders are put back in prison within three years for re-offending. These re-offenses may be due to being unable to reintegrate effectively.

Misdemeanors: More influence in your life than you may think

If you're being accused of a misdemeanor crime, you may not think it's that big of a deal. The crime itself wasn't severe, so that means your penalty won't likely be either. Is that really the case though? In fact, a misdemeanor can almost be worse than a felony today, thanks to the way the court system is designed. A misdemeanor can still influence your life in a few ways, and it's important to defend yourself to prevent this unfair complication from happening.

While the sentence given to you by the court after a trial may not seem severe, the consequences that happen socially are different and can be unpredictable. Fair punishment may be necessary, but having years of complications from a one-time mistake isn't fair.