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Baltimore Criminal Law Blog

The consequences of a protective order in Baltimore

Domestic violence is a hot issue right now, especially with several professional athletes accused of various domestic abuse crimes. In Baltimore, Maryland, and throughout the U.S., protective orders are granted that keep alleged abusers away from victims.

While there is a need for protective orders in many cases, a problem can arise when the allegations against someone are false. Because the judge will only hear one side of the story, the respondent -- the person who is served the order of protection -- won't have a chance to provide his or her version of events. It usually takes about two more weeks for a follow-up court hearing where the respondent or his or her attorney can speak in front of the judge.

Murder allegedly committed by solider from Maryland

A 20-year-old solider was stationed at Fort Meade, a base in Maryland, but he was given time off for leave, and he used it to go see his girlfriend. The problem was that the girl was only 14 years old, and the girl's mother did not approve of the older man dating her daughter. She tried to split the couple up.

In retaliation, the solider allegedly stabbed her multiple times. Some of the stab wounds were to her neck, killing her. Other wounds were found on her hands, showing that she had done what she could to fend him off during the attack. That assault happened in a vehicle, and the 14-year-old girl apparently saw what was happening -- police say she was in the car -- and did nothing.

Underage DWI fatalities are decreasing

Our readers in Maryland may have heard that underage DWI fatalities have decreased over the past decade, but there are still far too many that slip through the cracks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started keeping records in 1982 for people under 21. From 1991 to 2012, there was a 60 percent reduction in the number of people killed in drunk driving fatalities.

What is breathalyzer calibration in Maryland?

Blood tests have traditionally proven to be more accurate than breath tests when police are checking to see if a driver is over the legal limit. That limit has been set for most drivers at 0.08—it's only different in some cases for commercial drivers and underage drivers. Though blood tests are better, the breath test is simple and effective, and many mobile devices can be used by police on the scene to decide if a DUI is warranted.

However, it is very important to note that a breathalyzer must be calibrated correctly to provide accurate results. Even the slightest degree off from perfect can make a huge difference. If a driver comes in at 0.07, he or she is allowed to go without issue, but, just .02 higher, at 0.09, that driver will be given a DUI.

5 Wesleyan University students facing drug charges

As a college student, you're in a unique position, sometimes. You are still a student; however, you're also an adult -- and criminal charges can have a tremendous effect on your future. For five Wesleyan University students, they are learning just how difficult it can be to face drug charges.

The five students were involved in varying degrees with the stimulant MBA, also known as Molly. Authorities believe this euphoria-inducing drug was cut with other drugs. Almost a dozen students overdosed on Feb. 21 and 22, resulting in hospital visits.

What is required to get a protective order approved?

Before requesting that a protective order be placed on an abuser, Maryland residents may want to know what is required to get the order approved. Indeed, having a better understanding of the laws that govern protective orders can help those who need protection prepare their requests so they will be more likely to get them approved.

First, a "qualifying relationship" must exist between the victim and the abuser for a restraining order to be approved. Qualifying relationships include spouses, ex-spouses, living partners and roommates. Ex-lovers, parents, children and grandparents also qualify as qualifying relationships. However, more distant relatives who do not share a living space with the victim, such as cousins, do not qualify.

Defending a date rape or other sexual offense allegation

In Baltimore, there is no criminal charge specifically for date rape. The charged crime is generally first-degree rape, which can result in years in prison. However, there are some factors in a date rape case that are rather unique.

Date rape drugs may be used during the commission of this crime. These can include drugs like Ambien or Rohypnol. The alleged victim and defendant generally know each; however, a previous sexual relationship is not a defense in this type of case.

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.