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Maryland Criminal Defense Blog

Woman's conviction overturned after car accident linked to defect

A conviction of manslaughter has been overturned for a person who was accused of killing a passenger in her vehicle in a crash. According to an article from August 27, a woman had been convicted of involuntary manslaughter after she was accused of reckless driving in 2012. At the time, the 25-year-old woman had been driving 75 mph in a 35 mph zone when she collided with a school bus and telephone pole. Her boyfriend, a 16-year-old at the time, was killed in the accident. He was not wearing his seatbelt.

Normally, crashes like this wouldn't necessarily result in convictions being overturned, but her case is special. According to the story, the woman's vehicle was part of the GM recall for a faulty ignition switch.

Is sex or human trafficking a felony in Maryland?

Being accused of sex crimes is very serious in Maryland, especially if there's any sense of coercion or fraud involved. Why? These added offenses instantly help turn a once potentially misdemeanor crime into a felony. As someone who is accused of this kind of crime, it's important to defend yourself, because it's not always clear how a charge will be dealt with; it could be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the situation.

In Maryland, any time fraud, force or coercion leads to a person performing a sexual act, the crime is a felony. The same is true if you help, benefit from or harbor a minor who is being prostituted. That means that even as a parent or friend, if your underage ward, a child or someone staying at your home has been a prostitute, you could be accused of harboring him or her and could be charged with a felony. Of course, those charges can be argued, but the fact remains that mistakes about a situation can get you into hot water.

Defend yourself against accusations of theft or burglary

Accusations of burglary or theft can quickly become dangerous for your reputation and can put your future in jeopardy. Accusations spread quickly through the community you live in and can make friends and family question your integrity. What can you do to prevent yourself from suffering from these accusations and the negative feelings that come from them?

There's little you can do to prevent someone from accusing you of an act, but you can defend yourself from the moment the accusation is made clear. Burglary in particular is a very serious felony in Maryland, so you'll want to make sure you defend yourself by pointing out why you couldn't have been the person responsible or how you were forced to participate in a crime.

Computer crimes and defending yourself against identity theft

Computer crime is a category of offenses that you could be accused of if a computer was part of a criminal act you were or allegedly were involved with. Sometimes, computer crimes are named similarly to crimes that don't use the computer. For instance, fraud can be computer or Internet fraud, or it can simply be fraud.

Computer crimes can involve several kinds of acts. For example, if you introduce a virus to a computer, then you can be accused of a crime. If you use a computer to defraud someone, like if you decide to steal someone's identity, then that's a computer crime as well. Taking data, copying programs, falsifying emails, or stealing information services are all kinds of crimes that can lead to charges.

Will a misdemeanor make it hard to find a job?

You're facing a misdemeanor, and that means you're going to have a blemish on your criminal record. Does it really matter? Will it affect your ability to get a job in the long run?

The truth is that around a third of all Americans get arrested for one reason or another before they turn 23, the National Institute of Justice reports, and misdemeanors then end up on their records in some cases. These offenses don't look as bad as a felony, but they can still come up in job interviews or during applications, making your search just a little bit harder and interviewers more difficult to convince of your integrity.

You deserve a fair and unbiased trial under federal law

Criminal defense is important to your case, because even if you're guilty of a crime, you have the right to be treated as innocent until your guilt is proven. As a person who has been accused of a crime, you have the right to a fair and bias-free trial. You are guaranteed that your legal proceedings will be fair under the Bill of Rights of the United States.

To start with, you're protected by the writ of habeas corpus. Under this, the burden of proof must be provided by the government. This must justify the reason for arrest and for holding a suspect. So, if there is no warrant or no reasonable cause for your arrest, this protection may have been violated. If that's the case, you can be immediately released from jail or prison.

Know your right for a fair sentence in court

When you're going to be sentenced for a crime, you want to know that you're going to receive a punishment that is fair based on the crime committed. If you've made a plea or have been convicted of charges, the sentencing hearing is the moment where your defense will either show its benefit or failure.

During the sentencing hearing, you can attempt to convince the judge why you deserve a particular sentence. Maybe you would like to seek probation instead of jail time, or you would rather have house arrest instead of a prison sentence. Suggesting these punishments in the right way could be convincing, but only if you can make the judge understand why you're someone who deserves that chance.

What are some common online crimes?

What are the most common types of crimes that take place online? You may be surprised to know that fraud and identity theft have been the most common in recent years. As someone who may now be dealing with claims that you've participated in identity theft, you need to be able to defend yourself and explain how the incident took place. There are ways to do so and to prove your innocence without your reputation being too badly damaged.

Certainly, some instances of alleged identity theft could be mistaken; for instance, using a public computer and logging into an email or program without realizing you're under someone else's identity could be easily done. That's why it's important that people log out of their computers at the end of a session. Other kinds of Internet crimes aren't as straightforward.

Gun laws vary: Defend yourself against these potential charges

Gun control is an important part of keeping people safe. Each state in the United States has its own handgun possession laws, which apply to various situations differently. For instance, your state could restrict those with mental health conditions from owning a gun, or it may not have any laws restricting gun purchases at all. Some states don't allow minors to have guns until they're 21, and others allow them at 18. These differences can make it difficult to know where you can carry your weapon, and that could lead to accidental criminal charges that you have to fight.

Under federal laws, most states restrict gun access to those over 18, and those who have received felonies may not be allowed to own one. Certain mental health conditions may also lead to a person being disallowed from owning a gun.

Federal crimes: Avoid serious punishments at the federal level

In Maryland, if you're accused of a federal crime, you need to understand that the weight of punishments is typically heavier than if you were tried in a state court for a misdemeanor or state-recognized felony. Generally speaking, if you face federal sentencing, your case will call for longer sentences in jail or prison and potentially higher fines.

As a person who wants to avoid any unnecessary penalties, knowing that simply being tried at a different level could result in more serious punishments is frustrating. Fortunately, there are ways you can help yourself and hopefully reduce the sentence you might receive.