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Baltimore Criminal Law Blog

Domestic violence victims with criminal records

It is not uncommon for people who are victimized by domestic violence to have a criminal record themselves. This is because domestic violence victims are sometimes coerced into committing criminal acts. Other times, this is because the criminal justice system does not react appropriately to a domestic violence call and ends up arresting both the victim and the abuser -- or only the victim -- of committing domestic violence.

What many Maryland residents do not realize is that simply being arrested and being held in custody for a certain amount of time is enough to give them a criminal record. The arrested person does not even have to be charged with a crime -- the arrest will still show up on his or her history (which is easily available for view in online searches). Things get worse, however, when accused individuals are actually charged with a crime.

Drug treatment court may be options for cocaine offense

Anyone who has watched "The Wire" knows that cocaine trafficking in Baltimore is prevalent and the focus of many hours of work in the Baltimore Police Department. In real life, the story is about the same. Drug crimes centered around cocaine are common and law enforcement continues the battle of trying to get it off the streets.

The penalties for cocaine possession can be stiff. For example, should someone be convicted of being a "drug kingpin," then he or she could be sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Subsequent convictions for bringing 28 grams or more into Maryland could result in up to 50 years in prison and a fine of $100,000. As you can see, sentencing on some cocaine charges can be severe.

Possible defenses for assault in Maryland

An assault in Maryland is a serious charge, even if you are only facing a misdemeanor charge. You still will face stiff fines and the possibility of jail time. If you do, it's likely because you do not have an experienced attorney handling your case.

In Maryland, the court relies on the prosecution to present evidence that the crime of assault has occurred. This happens whether it is a local or state charge. While a defendant is considered innocent of all charges until -- and only if -- he or she is found guilty by a judge or jury.

Underage drinking leads to fatal car accident

On June 25, a group of Maryland teens was speeding down the road drunk, including the driver. They were on their way to another party after leaving the previous one. That's when the ex-high school football player who was driving the car said that he was worried about an upcoming speed camera.

Someone in the car said to drive faster so the speed camera would not catch them. The driver sped faster and when they passed the speed camera, it read over 100 mph. Soon, the vehicle hit a curve, flew off the road and into the air and hit a fence and two trees.

New Maryland Law could help criminal defendants

A new law in Maryland will allow "shielding" of certain misdemeanor convictions. Gov. Larry Hogan signed the new law, known as the Second Chance Act of 2015, which gives some individuals the ability to seal certain kinds of misdemeanor records.

The legislation is groundbreaking because it's the first time that people convicted of serious misdemeanor crimes will be able to limit public access to their conviction records. In the past, only Maryland residents convicted of nuisance offenses and pardoned offenses could benefit from shielding.

What are differences between robbery and burglary?

Robbery and burglary are different crimes, although there is one similarity between the two. Robbery is always a felony charge, while burglary in certain instances may be a misdemeanor. The penalties are severe for defendants convicted of either crime.

So, what are the differences between burglary and robbery? Robbery is the authorized taking of property from someone by the threat or use of force. In other words, if someone says he or she will harm in you in some way if you don't give the offender your purse, then the threat of force is there and the crime is robbery.

Carjacking defense strategy is crucial to you case

When facing charges for carjacking, it's important to know what you have ahead of you in the Baltimore court system. It's a serious crime and a conviction likely means a long prison sentences, fines and more. Here is some additional information about this crime:

What is carjacking?

What does a field sobriety test consist of?

Most Baltimore drivers know that if they are pulled over for a suspected drunk driving violation, they could be subjected to a field sobriety test. However, most people have never had to complete a field sobriety test and they don't know what such a test entails. Knowing what is involved can help you if you are ever subjected to one because you will be calmer and less stressed.

Most drivers will be tested with the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, which is sanctioned by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. The SFST has various segments, including the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk-and-Turn and the One-Leg Stand.

How are temporary peace orders and protective orders different?

Peace orders and protective orders might be issued by a judge in a domestic violence case. These orders are usually issued before a person accused of domestic violence is convicted of the crime.

A protective order is a civil order that a judge makes to prevent one person from committing specific acts against another. If the order is an interim or temporary protective order, the judge can order a person accused of domestic abuse to stop abusing the other person. These protective orders may also prohibit contact between the accused person and his or her accuser, and prevent the person from entering the other person's home. Judges might also order accused persons to vacate a shared place of residence, and temporarily strip the accused person of child and/or pet custody rights.

Guilty plea from former bishop in drunk driving case

On Dec. 27, 2014, at about 2:30 p.m., a 58-year-old woman struck a 41-year-old man on a bicycle in North Baltimore. According to the woman's guilty plea, she was driving while intoxicated and texting when the accident happened. She left the accident scene, only returning a half an hour later after a friend urged her to.

The woman, Heather Cook, was the first woman bishop in the Episcopal diocese. She resigned this year and has had a revocation of her clergy credentials. She had previously pleaded guilty in 2010 after an arrest for DUI; however, the officials who appointed her bishop said that they didn't know the circumstances of that arrest when they considered her for bishop.