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Keep drug charges off of your criminal history in Maryland

If you are facing allegations of drug crimes in Maryland, one of the first things you should do is seek the help of an attorney. Drug charges can be confusing, and the legal process is often difficult to navigate for those who are unfamiliar with its subtleties. Further, the potential serious consequences that arise from a drug offense can crush your ability to obtain student loans, keep your job or even remain in school. In these high-stakes scenarios, you should know that you do not have to go through the process alone.

Maryland attorneys can provide information and assistance for those who are accused of drug possession and distribution of a variety of substances. These include crack, heroin, marijuana, ecstasy and many others. Maryland's penalties for drug crimes depend on the severity of the violation, so it is important to understand the nature of the drug charges you are facing.

Man cleared of sex offenses after victim fails to testify

A 19-year-old Maryland man who was accused of accosting a sleeping woman at a summer concert has been cleared of the most serious charges connected to that incident. The man was tried on two counts: public intoxication and assault and battery. He was accused of sexually assaulting the alleged victim. However, courtroom proceedings cleared the defendant of the sex crimes, though he was found guilty on the public intoxication charge. The defendant had initially been charged with aggravated sexual battery, though that sexual assault charge was dropped before the trial began.

The alleged victim in the case did not testify in the criminal trial. That woman, age 49, had accused the defendant of groping her while she was sleeping at a concert put on by the Zac Brown Band at the Jiffy Lube Live music venue. Instead of the victim testifying in the sex crimes case, three witnesses came forward to support the defendant. All of those witnesses said they saw the man simply lie down next to the woman; they did not observe any untoward behavior.

DWI experts: Breathalyzers not always that reliable

Take a deep breath before you hear this news. If you think that Breathalyzers are always reliable when they measure blood alcohol content, think again. An increasing body of evidence suggests that certain populations may be unjustly accused of certain traffic offenses simply because of their body chemistry. If you have taken a Breathalyzer test recently, you need to know certain facts about the accuracy and validity of these commonly used machines. You have the right to refuse to take field sobriety tests and Breathalyzer analysis. A Baltimore DUI attorney can help you understand more about the DUI prosecution system.

Many of us do not understand how a Breathalyzer works. These machines measure the concentration of ethyl alcohol -- the main ingredient in an alcoholic beverage -- in the individual's breath. The problem: Those machines often confuse other molecules for ethyl alcohol. Many other types of compounds actually resemble ethyl alcohol. For example, diabetic drivers have a body chemistry that could be high in ketones, depending on their health status. Acetone, which is commonly identified in the bodies of both serious dieters and diabetics, can easily skew the results of a Breathalyzer.

Man admits to role in violent crime designed to collect insurance

A West Coast man has admitted to involvement in a Maryland killing as part of a bid to collect life insurance. The man, age 31, told authorities on July 28 that he helped stage a crime scene in Kent County in 2009. The man's partner has already been convicted in connection with the violent crime that left a Maryland woman dead on the side of the road.

Official reports show that the defendant was participating in a scheme to collect a half-million dollar life insurance policy on his friend's wife. Authorities said that one of the men had just taken out a major life insurance policy on his wife. Shortly thereafter, the woman was found stabbed to death along a state road. The husband claimed that the pair had been carjacked, but he was eventually convicted of murder charges in connection with the crime. This other defendant admitted to staging the crime scene, leaving his own blood at the site of the crime in an effort to back up his friend's carjacking story.

What makes drug crime court different than a traditional court?

If you are facing criminal allegations for drug crimes in Maryland, your case may have been sent to a special drug court. The Drug Treatment Court Commission was created in October 2003 by judicial order, and it has been assisting certain types of defendants ever since. Drug courts are designed to help and rehabilitate those who are accused of drug offenses, rather than offering a serious punitive model like most traditional courtroom environments.

In drug court, your legal team and the court itself are working together to achieve a comprehensive goal of restoring you to society without ongoing criminal behavior. The idea behind drug court is to rehabilitate, not to reach "legal justice" like that sought in traditional court. Individualized drug treatment programs are provided, and relapses are subject to graduated sanctions rather than being considered an entirely new crime.

Maryland physician facing drug charges for illegal prescriptions

A Maryland physician is facing serious drug allegations after he apparently ran a "pill mill" out of his practice in Rockville. Authorities allege that the drug offenses may have even led to the death of one of the man's patients, who was using prescribed methadone. The doctor, who has been operating a pain management clinic in Rockville for several years, was officially arrested on July 30. His medical license had been suspended in 2010. Now, the man is facing a 29-count indictment, including distribution of controlled substances resulting in death. The man could spend decades behind bars if convicted.

Investigators allege that the man began illegally prescribing medications in 2009. Those prescription drugs included morphine, oxycodone and methadone, all of which could allegedly be obtained at the physician's office for a fee. Authorities say they began investigating the man after pharmacists became suspicious about the prescriptions they were filling for the man's patients. One pharmacist explained that the man's patients appeared to be abusing the drugs, and they generally paid cash for the prescriptions at the pharmacy.

What is the ignition interlock device program?

If you have recently been convicted of an alcohol-related traffic offense, you may have been enrolled in the Maryland ignition interlock program. Participants who are required to use ignition interlocks must have a device installed in their vehicle that measures their blood alcohol content. Knowing your rights after a DWI can help you understand more about the costs and legal obligations associated with the ignition interlock program.

Not all DWI drivers are eligible for the interlock program. Generally, those drivers who are targeted for participation include those who have multiple offenses, a high number of "points" on their license, or violations of a previous alcohol-related driving restriction. These offenders have several responsibilities during their time in the ignition interlock program.

Youngsters charged with murder after stepfather's death

Two Baltimore youths have been formally charged with the death of their stepfather. The defendants, ages 11 and 14, are facing allegations of violent crimes in connection with the shooting death of a 47-year-old man from Port Deposit. A 23-year-old defendant, also the man's stepchild, has been named in the criminal proceedings, as well. The two older defendants face first-degree murder charges and weapons violations.

Official reports show that the youngest defendant has been charged as a juvenile, though the two older defendants will be subject to adult courtroom proceedings. The trio is accused of shooting and killing the victim in mid-February. The man reportedly resided with his new wife and her five children. Investigators have not yet identified a motive in the shooting death.

Those convicted of sex offenses could be removed from registry

Did you know that about one in four Maryland sex offenders could be eligible to have their names removed from the state's list after a recent courtroom ruling? If you are one of the large number of sex offenders who were convicted of sex crimes before October of 1995, you could qualify to have your name removed from the state's registry. The reason: The database was established in October 1995. Older crimes are no longer eligible for inclusion on that list.

In a ruling against state officials, a Court of Appeals has decided that older cases must be purged from the state's databases. State administrators had argued that federal law mandated retroactive inclusion of certain sex crimes. Attorneys for two men who had sued the state say that the decision could have major ramifications for convicted sex crimes offenders throughout the state. Removing offenders' names from the sex crimes registry could help them obtain better housing, preferable jobs and a variety of other everyday benefits that many of us take for granted. In many cases, those offenders were required to register for life -- a situation that definitely imposed hardship.

Maryland man faces weapons charges after point-blank shooting

A Maryland man who apparently was attempting a stunt with a bulletproof vest is facing serious charges after he allegedly shot and killed his friend. The man, age 30, is facing weapons charges in addition to accusations of violent crimes, including first- and second-degree murder. The man and his friend may have been attempting a stunt in the style of the popular television show "Jackass," according to officials.

News reports indicate that video of the incident exists, as the friends were recording their supposed stunts. First, the decedent was 'dared' to lick a toilet, which he reportedly did. Before the shooting, the victim said he was prepared to take a shot in the chest because of the bulletproof vest. However, the prank turned deadly when the defendant apparently missed the vest, causing catastrophic injuries and allegedly causing the man's death.

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