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Baltimore Criminal Law Blog

Defending against weapons charges in Maryland

Being charged with a violent crime is one thing. Being charged with a violent crime that includes weapons charges is another thing entirely different. Indeed, weapons charges will elevate the severity of punishments associated with a conviction exponentially. Therefore, Baltimore residents will want to make sure that their criminal defense is spot-on in any kind of criminal matter relating to weapons charges.

Another thing that makes weapons charges particularly challenging in Baltimore is the fact that the city happens to be one of the most violent in the nation, where its residents are frequently accused of weapons charges. What this means means is that local prosecutors have a great deal of experience with what it takes to successfully convict a defendant. If federal police are also working with local law enforcement in your case, your defense may become even more challenging.

Judge's ruling in alleged sex crimes case will allow two trials

Baltimore, Maryland, prosecutors had a motion denied that asked for two alleged sex crimes charges to be tried together against a convicted sex offender. This is a big win for the defense, as the judge said that allowing charges from a 2007 case and current charges to be tried together could make jurors prejudicial.

The 37-year-old man is accused of breaking into homes and sexually assaulting women. Since 2010, the man has been on trial four times, with jurors finding him not guilty each time on the most serious charges. The man's defense is that the encounters were consensual.

Bill seeks restitution for Maryland drunk driving victims

Last December, a bicyclist was killed in Baltimore, Maryland, after being struck by a vehicle driven by a bishop who had previously been convicted of drunk driving. Thirteen charges have been filed against the woman, including manslaughter by vehicle, automobile manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, failure to remain at the accident scene and texting while driving.

According to a Maryland state senator, that accident was the catalyst for the state's General Assembly to take action against drunk drivers. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jamie Raskin, would allow for fines against those who are responsible for injuries or death that occur while they are driving while intoxicated or with a revoked or suspended license. The bill would require drunk drivers with a blood alcohol content of .16 or higher to pay the fine as restitution to the victim or his or her family.

Search and seizure protections under the Fourth Amendment

In the U.S. Constitution, the Fourth Amendment protects our personal privacy from unreasonable government intrusion. This applies the search and seizure of property in our homes, businesses, pockets and bodies during drug-related crime arrests and investigations. The Fourth Amendment provides protection to people during police searches and arrests. It keeps officers from unlawfully taking our property and unlawfully using it as evidence against us in court. That said, the Fourth Amendment does not protect us when police have a "reasonable" basis for searching and seizing our property during a drug-related action.

The Fourth Amendment governs two primary areas. First, the amendment applies to instances of search and seizure of people when police stop and/or arrest them. Second, the amendment applies to instances of where police search locations and items where a person has a legitimate reason to expect privacy. For example, individuals can legitimately expect privacy of their person, clothing, bags and handbags, vehicles, homes, hotel rooms and places of business.

Were you wrongly accused of DUI in Baltimore?

Numerous Maryland drivers are arrested each year for drunk driving charges. Some of these drivers may have been certain that they had not drunk too much before getting behind the wheel. The thing is, even if you have only drunk a little bit of alcohol at a party, your breath may still have the smell of alcohol on it and a police officer might wrongly judge you as inebriated when it was actually safe for you to drive.

Baltimore police officers have an important responsibility to keep the roadways safe and clear of intoxicated and dangerous drivers. However, police are not infallible in their judgments and they are definitely known to make mistakes. Fortunately, Maryland courts are well aware of the fact that officers do not always make the right decisions when choosing to arrest and charge individuals with crimes. It is also for this reason that every Maryland driver accused of drunk driving will have the opportunity to assert legal defenses in court to maintain his or her innocence.

Sentence handed down for man's role in 15-year-old murder plot

It's been 15 years since a woman was murdered in Dundalk, Maryland. The 24-year-old woman's throat was cut and she was strangled. The crime occurred in the woman's home.

Police said the case had gone cold until they received a tip from an alleged co-conspirator. That man told police that a 36-year-old living in Denver, Colorado, was behind the woman's death. Investigators later determined that the 36-year-old man had hired two other men over the Internet to kill his girlfriend. The motive was reportedly an insurance policy worth $700,000 on the woman.

What does Maryland's ignition interlock program entail?

These days, it has become standard procedure for Maryland courts to order drivers convicted of DUI to install an ignition interlock device that prevents them from operating their vehicles while drunk. The system is formally referred to as the Alcohol Breath-Analyzed Ignition Interlock Device. It requires drivers to blow into a tube, which analyzes the amount of alcohol in their bloodstreams. If their alcohol level exceeds a specific level, then their automobiles will be rendered inoperable.

Those convicted of drunk driving who participate in the Ignition Interlock Program must pay all the costs of installing the device and maintaining it. They must also pay costs associated with getting a restricted driver's license.

What are federal child porn laws affecting Maryland?

Child pornography can be filed as a federal crime with significant consequences. This is also crime that usually garners media attention and can quickly damage someone's reputation -- even if that person has not been found guilty. Below is some information on this federal charge:

While the First Amendment covers free speech, child pornography images are not protected under the Constitution. The definition of child pornography according to section 2256 of Title 18 of the United States Code is "any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age)."

Baltimore drug crimes attorney with 18 years of experience

A drug-related conviction, even for a minor offense, can result in serious consequences for an accused individual in Maryland. In addition to criminal punishments like fines, community service and jail time, the conviction will stay on your record and be available for employers to see. Students could also lose their ability to qualify for educational loans, and they could be expelled from their schools.

Baltimore-based attorney Jim Crawford is passionate about defending the rights of his clients by serving as their criminal defense advocate in court to defend them against drug crimes. He has been representing people accused of crimes for the last 18 years in Baltimore and its surrounding areas, and he is available to defend you too -- no matter what kind of drug offenses you have been accused of. Most importantly, though, he will always put his full effort and conviction behind your defense to give you the best chance for limiting the severity of your punishments and/or obtaining a verdict of not guilty.

Is there any defense to a domestic violence protective order?

It may seem as though individuals facing domestic violence charges have few defense options. The alleged victim has given his or her version of events to the police and the police may have arrested you. You may be unable to return to your home, retrieve your belongings or even see your children.

All is not lost, because at The Law Offices of James E Crawford Jr & Associates LLC, we have a lot of experience in domestic violence defense strategies. This includes providing representation during a hearing for a permanent protection order.