Practice Areas

Maryland and District of Columbia Criminal Defense Lawyer

A criminal conviction can haunt you for the rest of your life, as you may face diminished job opportunities, difficulty with loan or rental applications, and the burden of carrying an unwanted stigma.

Located in Silver Spring and Maryland, attorney James N. Papirmeister has 30 years of criminal law experience, nine of which were spent as a prosecutor with the Office of the State's Attorney for Prince George's County.

In fact, because of this prosecutorial experience, Mr. Papirmeister is a Montgomery County criminal defense attorney who understands the strategies that prosecutors often utilize and can craft legal plans designed to counteract these strategies.

To learn more about any of the criminal charges below, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation or click on the links below to learn more about how Mr. Papirmeister handles each type of criminal charge.


These charges can include first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, as well as motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle while intoxicated, or under the Influence of alcohol or drugs, and related charges. These are extremely serious charges that subject the accused to prolonged and even lifelong prison sentences.

Gun Possession Charges

Whether the charge is use of a firearm in a felony or crime of violence, possession of a firearm by a felon or after being convicted of a Disqualifying crime, use of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime, unlawful carrying of or transport of a firearm, or any one of a vast number of firearms-related charges, you face severe, often mandatory minimum sentences in the penitentiary. Most prosecutors and judges place a high priority on ensuring the conviction and harsh punishment of firearm offenders, especially in view of recent mass shootings and firearms-related tragedies that occupy the evening news.

Child abuse and pornography

There are few other crimes that cause the general public and the press, as well as everyone in the justice system, from the legislators who make the laws, to the law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, probation and parole officers, and sex offense registry officers, who handle these cases, to simply over-react, and demand overly harsh, draconian, and downright inhumane treatment of offenders, than in the case of child sex offenders.

Even cases involving a pillar of the community, or otherwise highly respected professional, if such an individual is caught surfing the Internet and happens to download pictures containing child pornography, he can be punished by a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison for each picture, in addition to much greater penalties and sentencing enhancements.

These cases can be prosecuted in state or federal courts, and there is a pervasive "one-size-fits-all" mentality that all such offenders should be locked up for as long as possible, without regard to the individual circumstances of their case, or their jobs, spouses, or children, or their need for mental health and sexual offender therapy. Just being charged or Indicted for such an offense, often results in devastating consequences to the individual.

Sexual Offenses and Rape

These charges can include first degree sex offense and first degree rape, second degree sex offense and second degree rape, then third and fourth degree sexual offenses. There are a host of other sexual offenses on the books. Like the case with child-related offenses described above, these offenses can carry up to life imprisonment, lifetime sex offense registration, and lifelong consequences for a person's freedom, job, ability to remain in the United States if not a full citizen, and estrangement from their families and community forever.

Even a misdemeanor prostitution charge, involving a customer or a "john", can result in the offender having to register as a sex offender, and having to forfeit a professional license.

Drug and Controlled Dangerous Substance Charges

These charges can also be prosecuted in State courts as well as federal courts, and include felonies such as possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances (CDS), distribution of CDS, conspiracy to distribute CDS or to possess with intent to distribute CDS, and of course simple possession of CDS.

What is not widely known or appreciated is the fact that even a lawful permanent resident who is in this country legally, with a wife and children, a social security number, a good job, and is a respected, tax-paying member of the community, can be deported for the rest of his life, for a first offense of possession of drugs. A conviction of misdemeanor possession of marijuana can even result in a United States citizen not receiving any financial aid for college, or other benefits, or many government jobs or government-contracting jobs, and licenses.

Crimes of Violence

These charges can include kidnapping, extortion, armed robbery, robbery, carjacking, burglary, arson, first degree assault, aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a police officer, second degree assault, and a host of other offenses that the law deems a crime of violence, which carry substantial prison time. Even misdemeanor second degree assault carries a statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Theft and Property Crimes

These charges can include grand larceny, grand theft, theft of government property, shoplifting, petit larceny, malicious destruction of property, trespassing, loitering, and a host of other offenses. They can be prosecuted as felonies or misdemeanors and in both federal and state courts. They all carry jail time, some substantial, and can cause you to remain a convicted felon for life. Felony convictions of these offenses can prevent you from enjoying many civil rights, such as the right to vote or bear arms. Such convictions can also result in deportation for life, and the inability to obtain professional licenses and many jobs.

Drunk Driving, DUI, and Other Motor Vehicle Offenses

These offenses are probably the most common of criminal charges, received by people across the spectrum of income, class, and station in life. They include driving while under the influence of alcohol, driving while under the influence of drugs, driving impaired, driving on a suspended license, driving an uninsured motor vehicle, driving without a license, fleeing and eluding a police officer, leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run), reckless driving, aggressive driving, and a host of other serious motor vehicle offenses. Most of these offenses carry jail time, substantial fines, points and suspension and revocation of your driver's license.

Federal Offenses

Many crimes have separate state and federal versions of the same offense. Most people charged with a crime are charged in a state court such as the District Court of Maryland for a particular county, or the circuit court for a particular county. When a person is charged in a federal court, such as the United States District Court of Maryland, in Greenbelt or Baltimore, that is different than the District Court of Maryland for Prince Georges County, or the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City, which are state courts. Being charged in a federal court means a whole different set of laws will apply to that case.

Federal cases tend to be larger scale, though not always, and carry with them harsher penalties than in State courts, and have less generous discovery provisions than in State criminal cases. They are investigated by federal law enforcement agents, such as the F.B.I., D.E.A., or A.T.F., as well as N.C.I.S., I.C.E., U.S. Customs Agents, U.S. Postal Agents, the I.R.S, and a host of other federal law enforcement agencies.

Juvenile Offenses

An entirely separate system of justice exists for persons charged with crimes who are under 18 years of age. Juveniles can be imprisoned in juvenile detention facilities, which are as intimidating as any adult jail, but the emphasis in such cases is on rehabilitation and the juvenile trying to avoid the life-long stigma and consequences of a criminal conviction.

What is most significant about juvenile crime is that juveniles as young as 14 years of age, can be taken out of the juvenile justice system and charged as adults and even imprisoned in an adult penitentiary for the rest of their life for certain offenses, such as for first degree murder, first degree rape and first degree sex offense, for examples.

Need Experienced and Qualified Criminal Defense Representation Now? Contact Us Today

At the Law Offices of James N. Papirmeister, Esq., we handle the defense of those charged with felony, misdemeanor or juvenile offenses, as well as probation violations, expungements and appeals. For more information, contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. Please call 301-589-2100 during regular hours or 301-367-6500 after hours.