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Silver Spring Criminal Defense Law Blog

How does bail work in Maryland?

Before arrested citizens can mount a criminal defense in Maryland courts, they may be entitled to bail. This is money paid to a court to guarantee that a person who is released from jail will appear at required proceedings.

A defendant may post their own bail, have someone over 18 post it for them, or use a bail bondsman. The person who posts bail accepts complete responsibility for assuring that the defendant appears in court. When a defendant does not appear, the court will issue an immediate arrest warrant and the bail will be forfeited.

"Ban the box" not coming to Maryland colleges this year

Maryland has many opportunities for people who were incarcerated after a brush with the criminal justice system. It is one of 14 states that allows individuals to vote immediately after release from prison and is one of 26 states with a Ban the Box policy that prohibits public employers from inquiring about an applicant's criminal background until a pending job offer is made.

However, many obstacles remain for formerly incarcerated individuals returning to society. For example, Gov. Larry Hogan recently vetoed a bill passed by the legislature that would have applied ban the box policies to college admissions. Hogan argued that the legislation would have curtailed colleges and universities' ability to maintain a safe environment.

Stun gun ban dropped in Baltimore

The city of Baltimore, Baltimore County and Howard County recently dropped bans on stun gun possession and ownership. The reversal is based upon a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the possession and use of stun guns are protected by the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment.

The court ruled that the Second Amendment governs all weapons possession of instruments that are bearable arms. These instruments also include weapons that were not in existence when the Bill of Rights was drafted.

Rights during police encounters in our criminal justice system

The criminal justice system provides rights to individuals who are stopped by the police or arrested in Maryland. A person's conduct could also harm their criminal defense and have long-term consequences.

Individuals have the right to remain silent when stopped by the police. The suspect should stay calm and keep their hands visible to the police but should not argue, resist or obstruct them. A person does not have to consent to a search of themselves or their belongings. A suspect may ask if they are free to leave and if permission is granted, they may calmly and silently leave.

Can the government seize property in Maryland?

Maryland state or local governments can seize property related to criminal activity, even if there is no criminal conviction, through civil forfeiture. In cases related to drug crimes, the government may seize real estate, cars, equipment, money, accessories and all types of other property.

In civil forfeiture, the government first seizes the property and then files a case where it presents reasons why it should keep the property. This is a non-criminal action and is not considered a form of punishment. The accused does not have to own the property that is seized.

Prosecutors drop rape charges against immigrants

Criminal charges can have major penalties for defendants in Maryland. For example, many offenses carry mandatory sentences upon conviction. The negative consequences can be further compounded when the accused are immigrants. State prosecutors earlier this month dropped rape charges against two immigrant teenagers in a case that received attention from the White House and international community.

General information on what to do in a DUI traffic stop

A traffic stop by Maryland police, especially after a motorist was drinking, may have long-term consequences. Although the best way to avoid a DUI conviction is not to drive after drinking alcohol, there are also other general recommendations regarding what a driver should and shouldn't do if they are pulled over. This blog post will provide a few of these general recommendations. For more specific legal advice, an attorney should be consulted.

Documents like registration and insurance cards should be kept in a readily-accessible place so drivers do not have to hunt through the car or have trouble locating them. When the flashing lights are seen, a driver should find a safe place to pull over, turn on the dome light and place their hands on the steering wheel where the police can see them. If possible, roll down the window and vent the passenger compartment of any odors before stopping.

When is it illegal to carry a handgun in Maryland?

Maryland's gun laws are among the strictest in the nation, especially concerning handguns. Even if you have a permit to carry a handgun in another state, that permit will not be honored in Maryland.

Here are answers to when it is legal and when it is illegal to carry a handgun in Maryland.

Carrying a family member's prescription can result in criminal charges

Maryland is cracking down on abuse of prescription pain relievers. Unfortunately, overzealous enforcement can result in criminal charges for people who make innocent mistakes.

Simply carrying a friend's or family member's prescription can lead to a felony drug conviction.

Possible consequences of a guilty verdict in Maryland

A brush with the Maryland criminal justice system can have long-term consequences. These may affect a defendant's job, housing, education and family.

A criminal record can constitute grounds for the denial or suspension of a professional or occupational license. Criminal arrests, charges and dispositions are accessible to the public on the state Judiciary Case Search website and some employers are legally required to check these criminal records.

Law Offices of
James N. Papirmeister, Esq.

Law Offices of James N. Papirmeister, Esq.
8630 Fenton St., Suite 320
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Office Number: 301-589-2100
Afterhours Number: 301-367-6500

Fax: 301-588-8848
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As Published in Washingtonian Magazine | Washington's Best Legal Minds | 2013