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Maryland Criminal Defense Blog

Types of misdemeanors and how to show you were proven innocent

A misdemeanor charge is not as serious as a felony, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't defend your side of the story. Misdemeanors can still be punished with fines and prison or jail time, which can impact your relationships, school or work.

There are several kinds of misdemeanors. The first is known as a petty misdemeanor. Usually, the fine for this charge is no more than $500 and results in less than a half year in jail. If you're accused of a petty misdemeanor, you may be able to defend yourself and have the charges dropped or the penalties lessened. Some alternatives might be to attend a rehabilitation program or to perform community service.

What can the law do about online stalking or harassment?

If you're accused of online sexual harassment or other Internet crimes, it's important that you understand how you can defend yourself. What exactly made your actions a crime, and is the prosecuting party mistaken? What can you and your attorney do to fight off the charges?

If you go on a date with a man or woman who isn't interested in you, sending that person a sexual text, Snapchat or other message could be considered harassment. Of course, adults do send messages like this sometimes, and typically, when they are solicited or wanted, there's no problem. The issue is when that message is sent unsolicited, making the person receiving the message feel threatened.

Secret Service agent faces child pornography charges

Internet crimes may be a single bad choice or something you do repeatedly; if you're caught, you need to defend yourself. Because of the way the Internet links multiple states and countries, you may find that you have to be present in a different state to stand trial, which is something you may need help with. That's what is happening in this case

A Secret Service officer has been implicated in a case involving sexual activity with a teen girl in Broward County, Florida. The man, who is from Maryland, was fired from his job at the White House after investigators reported that he had allegedly sexted with underage girls while he was working.

Protect yourself against lasting harm from felony charges

If you are convicted of a felony, you may have a life of challenges ahead of you. The penalties associated with a felony don't just affect you for a few years; many of the penalties don't have time limits at all. For instance, did you know that in some places, even ex-convicts can't vote, get driver's licenses, seek public housing or food stamps or adopt? No matter what your crime was, you won't be able to own a firearm, either.

When you're first accused of a felony crime, you may think you'll be able to walk away unscathed even if you're convicted. Maybe you'd serve a short time in jail or be able to get away with paying a fine; the truth is, even if you have a lesser penalty from the courts, your felony could follow you throughout the rest of your life.

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?