Maryland Criminal Lawyer
If you or a loved one are facing any criminal charges in the state of Maryland, no matter how serious they may seem, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. The lawyers at our firm are prepared to design a defense strategy that takes into account your unique personal circumstances. In addition to making sure that your rights are protected in court, your attorney will take steps to minimize the impact of these criminal charges on your life. Our friendly team is standing by to conduct your free consultation, so call now.
An Overview of Serious Federal and Maryland Criminal Charges
The number and degree of Maryland (and federal) felonies is large and intimidating. If you are convicted, the fines, sentences, and damage to your criminal record, professional (and family) life can take years to overcome. If charged with any felony or serious misdemeanor, a Maryland criminal lawyer with deep experience at defending those who are charged with serious crimes can boost your defense efforts.
Below are brief explanations of Maryland criminal offenses and the possible penalties for a guilty verdict.
Maryland classifies controlled substances into five categories based on their addictive properties, and therapeutic value. Each category is assigned its own penalty. The class of drugs that includes Heroin and Meth (Class 1) bring the highest penalties for possession, manufacturing and distribution.
Penalties for possession can range from probation for a Class 5 (lowest category), to 20 years in prison and a fine of $25,000 for a first offense of possessing a Class 1. Multiple offenses or drug distribution charges carry higher penalties: [Sections 5-602, 5-603, Section 5-608(a-d)].
Federal drug charges [21 United States Code Section 13, 1, 841] are usually filed against interstate drug manufacturers and traffickers under the U.S, Controlled Substances Act.
There are two felony levels of assault: first, and second degree (though the latter is sometimes charged as a misdemeanor): [Sections 3-202 & 3-203]. Penalties are more severe depending on whether a weapon was used by the accused and/or, how severely the victim was injured. First degree assault comes with a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. Hate crimes increase any prison sentence for an assault conviction.
There are too many felony sexual offenses: [Section 3-301] to cover briefly. So it’s best if your Maryland criminal lawyer explains the charges relative to your case. But a short list includes the following offenses:
- First and second degree rape: [Sections 3-303 & 3-304]
- First, second and third degree sexual assault: [Section 3-305, 3-306 & 3-307]
- Attempted rape or sexual offense: [Sections 3-309 – 3-312]
- Sexual abuse of a minor: [Sections 3-315 – 3-324]
- Sex crime penalties depend on the offense and other circumstances. But the most severe can be life with no parole. Some “criminal enterprise”-related sex crimes may fall under the purview of federal prosecutors. Conviction for state or federal sex crimes commonly requires defendant registration as a sex offender.
Theft and Burglary
Felony theft: [M.A.C. section 7-104(g)(1)(i) – (g)(1)(iii)] and burglary: [M.A.C. sections 6-202 – 6-205] penalties can be as high as a fine of up to $25,000.00, and a maximum 25 years in prison if the value of the stolen property is over 100,000. All convicted of either crime must pay restitution to the victims.
Felony theft can also involve white collar crimes, grand theft, identity theft, fraud, and conspiracy charges. Many white collar thefts are federal offenses [18 U.S.C.1-31].
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Reckless Driving Offenses
There are four classifications of alcohol and drug-related driving offenses in Maryland:
• Driving under the influence of alcohol – DUI. [Maryland Transportation Code section 21-902(a)].
• Driving while impaired by alcohol – DWI: [M.T.C. section 21-902(b)].
• Driving while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol – DWI: [M.T.C. section 21-902(c)]
• Driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance (including marijuana) – DWI: [M.T.C. section 21-902(d)]
The maximum penalties for any first-time DUI/DWI conviction include:
• Up to one year in jail
• $1,000 fine
• Suspension of driver’s license
DWI (drug) convictions could bring lesser penalties, depending on the level of drugs that are present in your system if it’s a first offense. But a conviction of any DUI/DWI charge causes insurance rates to dramatically rise. A conviction could impact your personal and professional life for years. You will also incur demerit points against your Maryland driving record, which could endanger your license.
Reckless driving laws are prosecuted thorough Maryland Transportation Code section 21-901.1 due to the suspect’s willful disregard of the safety of other people or property. Penalties for a first time conviction are a fine of up to $1,000 and six MVA points.
Penalties for the lesser charges of negligent driving: [M.T.C. section 21-901.1(b)] and aggressive driving: [M.T.C. section 21-901.2] are not as serious. But those who are guilty of these offenses will still incur fines and MVA penalty points.
How A Criminal Lawyer Can Help
A defense attorney will help protect you, your rights, and your freedom right from the start. A common mistake people make early on in a criminal case after they have been arrested is waive the right to remain silent and the right to speak with an attorney before talking to or answering any questions from the police.. This often stems from a mistaken belief that “lawyering up” is equivalent to admitting guilt or that by speaking freely to the police, the person will appear more innocent and cooperative. However, this tactic often results in people inadvertently and unintentionally incriminating themselves and ultimately, hurting their own cases. Having an attorney who can guide you and advise you as to what you should or should not do can help ensure that issues and mistakes like this never happen to you.
The Value of Trust
Ultimately, the relationship between an attorney and a client is predicated upon trust. You must be able to trust that your lawyer is experienced and knowledgeable and will work as hard as possible to obtain a favorable result in your case. Speaking to a defense attorney as soon as possible after you have been arrested or have learned that you are being investigated by the police will ensure that you’re getting the best possible legal aid for your particular case and that your rights are being protected. Learn more about Price Benowitz criminal defense practice group.