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Baltimore Criminal Law Blog

High school student dead after high-speed crash

A 17-year-old boy pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a fatal high-speed drunk driving accident that happened last Labor Day weekend. The incident resulted in the death of a 15-year-old boy who was ejected out of the the vehicle.

The driver of the car pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter, in addition to the charge of causing a life-endangering injury while intoxicated. According to prosecutors, the teenage driver lost control of the vehicle on a curve while driving 119 mph in a 35 mph zone. After losing control, the young man's Chrysler convertible hit a tree.

How prevalent is underage drunk driving?

When the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility first started analyzing the surveys of students and alcohol usage, the reported usage among students was considerably higher than it is today. Unfortunately, the survey results are still cause for concern.

The Monitoring the Future Study survey is given to eighth, 10th and 12th grade students each year. While there is a substantial decline in alcohol usage from 1991 when the survey was first given, there is also a decline from 2012 to 2013 for most parts of the survey. Here are some of the results titled, "Drinking Patterns 2014."

Where a Sex Offender Can Live?

Maryland residents who have been convicted of sex crimes will usually need to sign up with the state's sex offender registry system. Failure to appropriately register with this system can result in another arrest and very serious punishments. Therefore, convicted individuals will want to make sure that they adhere to any registry guidelines so that they do not again find themselves in trouble with the law. In this regard, most convicted individuals will have a lot of questions about how this process works and what limitations will be placed on them as registered sex offenders.

One of the most common questions has to do with where a sex offender is permitted to live. Fortunately, for sex offenders living in the state of Maryland, there are not any kinds of restrictions on residency. According to studies performed by other states and municipalities, restricting residency for sex offenders does not actually help prevent sex crimes from occurring. The argument is that, in most cases, the victims of sex crimes already know their attackers personally before the incident occurs. In this sense, the actual neighborhood or community where the victim and/or offender reside does not have an effect on whether or not an offense will occur.

Can a domestic violence case be kept out of the public eye?

There are many criminal charges that can affect a defendant's life. For example, a charge for domestic violence can affect someone's job, social circles and familial responsibilities. In most criminal cases, the public can access the case record once the case has been completed. For some individuals, this could cause significant problems down the road.

In Maryland, you can seek to have the court limit the public's access to your case record; however, there are some specific requirements. These are:

A State Police officer in Maryland was charged for sex crimes

Even the police can be arrested and charged with crimes, as a State Police officer in Maryland recently learned all too well. According to reports, the man held a woman at gunpoint and used the weapon to make her perform a sexual act on him. He is 43 years old.

The incident happened right around two in the morning, and it does not appear that the man was on duty at the time. Another police officer was in Capitol Heights, close to Hazelwood Drive and Rochell Avenue, and he spotted the officer and the woman. They were outside, standing close to a parked SUV.

Drug crimes and financial aid

When most people think about a drug conviction, they probably think about someone who has spent time in jail, maybe placed on probation and who has had to pay some fines. While all this could be true, in many cases, the loss of financial aid for attending college can be just as devastating as the above-listed penalties.

In 1998, Rep. Mark Souder authored an amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1968 that denies any financial aid at the federal level to a student who has been convicted of a drug offense. Student loans become unavailable to students, which can have a more significant effect on those students who are at a disadvantage economically than those who don't use financial aid.

Arrest made after 21-year-old is killed

A 21-year-old man from Churchton was killed recently, and the police are now announcing that they have made an arrest in relation to the case.

The police discovered the young man's body at about 9 p.m. It was close to Tequila Straight Drive and Margarita Street, in a forested area. However, he had not been hidden, but was simply lying in a path in the woods. The police discovered that he had died because of multiple gunshot wounds.

Child custody and domestic violence cases

When a parent is accused of domestic violence, a judge often creates a temporary child custody order that keeps that parent from having joint or sole custody of his or her children. No visitation may be ordered, or there could be an order for supervised visitation.

Judges can use a number of tools to determine if there is a threat to the children -- whether that threat is physical, psychological or emotional. In most cases, a judge will investigate that threat, evaluate the evidence and make recommendations based on all the evidence. Because domestic abuse allegations can be made by one party who is seeking full custody of the children in a divorce, the judge has to make a decision based on "credible" evidence.

Drunk driving charges, driving privileges and your defense

In our last blog post, we discussed how a study reports that Maryland has some of the weakest drunk driving penalties in the country. Even with that in mind, we must still impress the importance of a strong defense upon those who are facing drunk driving charges. We know that if you are facing drunk driving charges, you want to find out what the possible penalties will be. That all depends on the type of charge you are facing.

Even if you are facing a first-time drunk driving offense, you are still facing serious penalties. A conviction can negatively affect your driving record and can increase your insurance premium. Those penalties are also present in felony DUI cases, but with a felony conviction, you also have to worry about time in jail.

Study: Maryland second weakest DUI penalties

While getting charged with a DUI is never a good thing, perhaps where you get charged with one can make a big difference. According to a new study by WalletHub.com, Maryland has the second most lenient penalties for DUI in the country. The most lenient state when it comes to DUIs is South Dakota.

The WalletHub study reports that Maryland also ranked 32nd when it came to DUI prevention rate. Washington D.C. was ranked 50th for weak DUI penalties. Virginia, though, was certainly not at the bottom of any list when it comes to strict penalties for DUIs -- it ranked eighth for harshest penalties and 13th for their DUI prevention rate.