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Maryland Criminal Defense Blog

You can protect yourself against double jeopardy

Double jeopardy protection can make sure you don't face penalties for a crime you've already been tried for. There are many reasons that double jeopardy protections have been put into place in the U.S. judicial system.

For example, without double jeopardy, it could be possible for the government to try a person over and over again until they are exhausted financially and emotionally. That could lead to an innocent person being convicted of a crime.

Mentally ill man faces charges after threatening TV station

Sometimes, people do things that they don't realize they're doing because of mental illnesses. Or, they see what they're doing but don't believe it's wrong. If you struggle with a mental illness, you know that sometimes you may not act like yourself. That's what allegedly happened in this case.

A 25-year-old man is facing charges following a threat he made against a local Baltimore TV station. The man made the threat while dressed in an animal onesie; he entered the TV station's building and began talking to a security contractor. That contractor recognized what looked like explosive devices on the man's body. He told the staff about the situation so they could evacuate.

Why should I get an expungement?

When you are convicted of a crime, one of the things you may be worried about is how that crime is going to affect you in the long term. One of the ways you can help yourself is by going through the expungement process. This court-ordered process seals your criminal record, which means it's unable to be seen in most circumstances.

When an expungement is awarded to you, your arrests or convictions are sealed away from the public eye. That means that for the most part, no one will be able to see that part of your past. However, there are some cases where your record may be opened, like if the federal government needs to see your criminal record.

Man accused of having and distributing child pornography

Being charged with a crime is very different from being convicted. In fact, without a conviction, you should always be considered innocent, even if you're a person of interest in a case. Until a conviction, it's not fair to have your reputation harmed by media coverage or other news about the case. If that's happening to you, your attorney can help you defend and protect your good name.

In cases where child pornography is suspected, it's important to protect yourself from the start. There could be several reasons for this to be on a computer, and you may not be the person who downloaded or distributed it on your system. You have the right to defend yourself against such charges and your attorney can help you develop what strategy should be used for your defense.

Can computer crimes be misdemeanors or felonies?

Computer crimes can be very serious in the eyes of the law. Sending or creating viruses, damaging networks, hacking into governmental websites, and other activities are illegal. If you're accused of a computer crime, you need to be proactive about your defense.

While one of the most common forms of crime online is hacking, something you're more likely to see is spam or viruses. Spam, which is essentially digital junk mail, may carry damaging viruses. Some viruses open a way for hackers to access information on a server once the spam has been opened or downloaded.

Misdemeanors versus felonies: Distinguishing factors

If you're charged with a crime, you may be concerned about the severity of the charge. You will either be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. There are a few major differences between the two that you should understand, so you know how to approach your case with the help of your attorney.

What is a misdemeanor?

You can work to stay on probation after a violation

When you commit a crime, the courts can decide on a punishment that suits what's happened. If you've been able to get probation, it's been determined that it's safe for you to live in the community instead of going to jail. You may pay heavy fines or be under many rules and regulations, but you won't have to go to prison or be in jail for an extended time.

It is possible to go to prison or jail if you violate your probation. There are normally terms that you will need to agree with, and if you violate those terms, you could be taken back to court and given a new sentence. For example, most people on probation need to check in with a probation officer at certain times. For some people, that might be every day, while others may only need to once in a while.

Cyberbullying and the law

Misdemeanor crimes come in many shapes and forms, but cyberbullying is one that you may not have considered. This is a relatively new crime in many locations, and some areas may not have specific laws on the books yet. However, in places that do, cyberbullying is generally seen as a misdemeanor crime, but it could also result in civil penalties or jail time. If you're accused of it, it's important to know what kind of penalties you'll face in your own state and local jurisdiction. Penalties vary widely, so your attorney may need to focus on a strong defense to protect you.

Cyberbullying refers to the bullying that happens online or through digital means. For example, if you take an inappropriate photo of a person and share it on social media to make fun of that person, then you'd be considered a cyberbully. Cyberbullying can actually be more traumatic than other kinds, because social media can allow these photos or videos to spread quickly. Instead of only one or two people making fun of a person, several hundred or even thousands of people could see the image or videos, leaving that person the subject of public humiliation.

Marijuana penalties raised in Maryland

If you have ever been arrested for possessing marijuana, you may know that the state has been working to decriminalize the drug. You need to defend yourself regardless of the potential punishments; any drug charge can leave you frustrated and facing penalties. The benefit of decriminalization is that you can be caught with a drug and not face as serious of penalties. You could be asked to seek drug treatment or pay a penalty, but the charges wouldn't usually affect you as seriously as a misdemeanor or a felony.

The House of Delegates has determined that a bill that raises fines for smoking marijuana in public is necessary in the state; the bill passed and will make public smoking a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500.

Expungements and your right to have your record sealed

If you've been accused of or convicted of a crime, one of the things you may be considering is how the expungement process works. Expungement is never guaranteed, and you may have to work with your attorney to file the appropriate documents. If you want your record expunged, you'll have to show why you believe this is a decision the court should make.

When you commit a crime, you normally have to tell everyone about it when you apply for housing, a job, or other important things in life. That can hinder you, since some employers or housing associations may not want someone with a conviction on his record working or living in the area.