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Maryland Criminal Defense Blog

The difference between felonies and misdemeanors in Maryland

A misdemeanor is distinguished from a felony in a number of ways. As a rule, the type of crime is differentiated by the amount of time you could spend in jail. Knowing the difference can help you understand how long you could potentially go to jail if you're accused and convicted of a crime.

Did you know that a misdemeanor is defined as a crime that is punishable with up to a year in jail? You may not have to go to a high-security prison if you are convicted of a misdemeanor, which means you could go to a local jail instead. In some states, a misdemeanor is instead defined as not being an infraction or felony, which means in those states it can be harder to guess the amount of jail time that you could receive.

Don't let underage drinking affect your life forever in Maryland

Drinking underage in Maryland can cause many problems for teens or young adults. Even having a small amount of alcohol in the blood stream can be enough for a minor to be arrested and charged, leading to penalties like fines or jail time. For that reason, if you're under age and accused of drinking, you need to defend yourself.

It's not legal for anyone under 21 to drink alcohol. If you, as a teen or person under 21, are caught with a blood alcohol content of .02 percent or higher, you can be charged with underage drinking. If you were driving at the time when you registered the 0.02 BAC, you can be found guilty of driving under the influence even though the adult legal limit is 0.08.

How does a lawyer defend you against federal crimes?

If you're accused of a crime, you need to defend yourself. Criminal defense is an area of the law that can help. In general, when you're developing a defense, the job of an attorney is to look at what the prosecutor is planning to do or the story he will tell. So for instance, if the attorney is going to talk about a robbery and how it happened, the defense attorney would make sure to have alibis, witnesses and a story that negates the prosecutor's theories.

A criminal defense needs to be based on truth. So, if you've been accused of a federal crime, then it's important to be honest about what happened if you speak with an attorney. Take for instance if you have been accused of murder; your story of what happened may be very different than what the prosecution tries to say happened. There is no reason that you shouldn't be heard, and with the right defense, you can be.

Defend yourself against computer crime charges in Maryland

Have you been accused of computer-based crimes like Internet solicitation or child porn? If so, you know that your life and livelihood could be at risk. As a whole, the world is moving toward using the Internet more but with that, identities can be stolen or you could be accused of crimes someone else did in your name.

When you're accused of a crime, you need to first focus on defending yourself. Evidence against you might include things like emails or programs you have on your computer; if evidence was obtained illegally, then the evidence may be thrown out and unable to be used by the courts. In Maryland, there are many programs where police can work to collect information from your computer and use the data that was mined to prosecute you. You can fight back, though.

Identity theft: A federal and state crime in Maryland

Identity theft is a serious problem that happens when your information is stolen and used online or in person. Identity theft is often seen as an Internet crime, due to the ease of stealing credit card information and other private banking information online. If you've been charged with identity theft, you may be overwhelmed by the way it's handled. It's a federal crime along with a state crime, so the burden will be on you to prove your innocence.

Here are some statistics about identity theft in Maryland and the U.S. that may show why it's so severely punished by the law. For instance, there are over 9 million incidents of identity theft each year. Identity theft ranges in severity, from using a credit card once, using someone's identification to get into a club or activity or actually stealing the entire contents of a person's bank account.

What is the right to a speedy trial in Maryland?

Many people in Maryland know that they have a right to a lawyer or an attorney, based on the Sixth Amendment. While this part of the law has become popular, that is by no means all that the Amendment does. It also gives people the right to a speedy trial, and that trial is supposed to be carried out by a jury that has no bias regarding the case. What does this really mean?

At its essence, this part of the Amendment just means that things cannot drag on for too long after a person is arrested on state or federal charges. After all, they may be held in jail until their trial. Whether they are guilty or innocent -- but especially if they are innocent and expect to be released -- they want to to get to court quickly to get things sorted out. The Sixth Amendment promises that this will happen.

Underage drinking: A misdemeanor on a criminal record

Underage drinking is a big deal in today's world. Drinking under the age of 21 is an offense in Maryland, although those underage may have a blood alcohol content under .02 without consequences from a DUI. It's illegal for anyone under 21 to drink alcohol or to possess it; that means that they may only have a bottle in their vehicle, but it's still illegal.

For those under 21, the limit for their BAC is .02. If the BAC is found to be over .02, then the minor can be charged with underage drinking. If your child happens to be driving with a BAC of 0.02 or higher, police may charge your child with driving under the influence.

Felony burglary and murder charges filed against 20-year-old

When you're charged with a felony for a robbery, you want to know that you have the right to protect yourself and your reputation. If you're facing burglary charges, you could face work punishments like getting fired or suspended and penalties from the law in the form of fines or even prison time. Because of this, it's vital that you do what you can to defend yourself in Maryland.

This young man may be in a position similar to yours. The man in Baltimore has been charged for allegedly taking part in a string of robberies and a shooting in Maryland. Police have said that the man, a 20-year-old, was arrested on Aug. 22 for armed robbery and then connected to several other burglaries around the area. That's just one of the 12 robberies in the Southeastern District on that day, six of which he's been linked to.

Man faces felony for drug offenses in Maryland

A man who was serving a sentence in Harford County, Maryland, has been sentenced again for his part in a federal heroin distribution conviction in a separate case. The man, a 32-year-old, has been given 12 years in prison and four years of supervised release for having in his possession over 100 grams of heroin.

The man pleaded guilty to the federal charge of possession with the intent to distribute narcotics in June 2014, court records showed. Since the man was already serving time in prison, it was ordered that the sentence of 12 years be served at the same time as his current 20-year sentence that he was serving for another offense.

Marijuana laws in Maryland changing, leaving gray areas

Maryland has recently passed two marijuana bills into law: SB 364, which decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana, and HB 881, a law that allows patients to obtain medical marijuana with the right identification. Having marijuana on you in Maryland is no longer a misdemeanor in these small amounts.

Under SB 364, the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana becomes a civil offense. So, realistically, it's not really decriminalized. You just get less of a punishment for having it. Initially, a first offense can result in fines of up to $100. On a second offense, you face fines of up to $250. For a third offense, you can be fined up to $500. If you're under 21 and/or a third-time offender, you have to have clinical assessment completed for substance abuse disorder and go through a drug education program.