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James N. Papirmeister, P.C.

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Silver Spring Criminal Defense Law Blog

Collateral consequences impact those with a criminal history

Across the country, there are 70 to 100 million adults who have some sort of criminal record. This includes people who were arrested without being convicted, as well as those who were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. Each of these individuals can face collateral consequences that have a negative impact on their life.

For many, the collateral consequences continue long after they complete their court-ordered sentence. This leaves some people wondering why individuals who have served their punishments continue to have to deal with these effects for the remainder of their life, even after they've learned from their mistakes.

Are you ready to build your drug possession defense?

Facing drug charges is always a serious matter, even when the substance or quantity of possession is relatively small. Unfortunately, state and federal drug laws often treat drug offenses more harshly than any other non-violent crime, resulting in punishments that far outweigh their alleged offenses.

If you or someone you love recently received drug possession charges, you should begin building your legal defense immediately. Among other reasons, it is important to review the evidence against you, if possible. The longer you wait to begin defending yourself, the fewer options and legal tools you have available, and the more difficult it is to protect your rights.

Do you have to take a chemical breath test during a traffic stop?

Given that laws vary from state to state, it's not that surprising that many people feel confused about their legal rights and options. For example, some people don't understand what rights they have during an enforcement traffic stop related to alcohol.

Whether you get pulled over as part of a sobriety checkpoint or due to individual enforcement efforts, you may wonder what rights you have when law enforcement officers suspect you of impaired driving. As with any other kind of criminal offense, you have certain basic rights that apply regardless of what police officers may suspect. Understanding your rights can help you assert them when you need them the most.

You may have grounds to fight your Breathalyzer results

These days, most drunk driving charges involve a driver failing a Breathalyzer test, which can seem difficult to overcome, even with a strong legal defense. After all, if you got pulled over and blew over the limit into a Breathalyzer, isn't your case open and shut?

Thankfully, this is not always the case. Breathalyzers are very powerful tools, but they are not infallible, and a creative defense can often find aspects of the results or the arrest interaction to challenge. If you recently received a drunk driving charge in Maryland, you need to begin building your defense as quickly as possible. The state's drunk driving laws are fairly harsh, and a conviction may lead to serious criminal and civil consequences.

Maryland bill would increase penalties for ransomware attacks

Ransomware is a computer software program that permits people to unlawfully access and control a computer, along with any data stored on the computer. The person will then refuse to turn over control of the computer and its data unless he or she is paid a certain amount of money. Sometimes these people will up the ransom if it is not paid by a certain time or the person may even permanently delete information on the hacked computer.

Ransomware attacks are a white collar crime in this state. Under Maryland law, if the victim of the attack loses under $10,000 the attack is a misdemeanor crime. However, if the victim of the attack loses more than $10,000, the attack is a felony crime.

Baltimore man known as 'Plainpotatoess' faces criminal charges

Many people create an online persona to gain a following on social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Oftentimes this includes posting videos of various acts and events online. These videos may seem funny to some and may receive thousands of "likes," but others may be offended to the point where criminal charges are filed.

A Baltimore man is facing criminal charges, including harassment and trespassing, following incidents that took place when the man was filming videos that he later reportedly intended to post on social media accounts under the name, "Plainpotatoess." So far criminal summonses have been issued, and the man has not yet been placed under arrest.

Gun possession charges must be taken seriously

It may seem as if a person's right to possess a firearm is absolute, but this is not true. There are many crimes a person could be charged with that involve the unlawful possession of a gun. Some of these charges include carrying a firearm or transporting a fire arm in your vehicle without the necessary permits. Other crimes are more serious, especial certain felonies.

Maryland laws on firearms possession are stringent and if they are violated, a mandatory minimum sentence will be imposed. For example, if a person who has been convicted of a felony crime or uses a gun when committing a felony, he or she could face at least five years of incarceration and will not be eligible for parole in addition to a total of 20 years for each firearm, as well as any sentences for any accompanying or underlying crime committed. Moreover, these jail terms must be served consecutively.

Not all direct sales in Maryland are illegal pyramid schemes

It may seem like everyone these days is involved in some sort of direct sales company, also known as multi-level marketing. While this may not be so bad, often, the companies that make these products encourage and incentivize their independent consultants to recruit others to sell the products. While being asked by an acquaintance to "join their team" with "unlimited earning potential" may be annoying to some and too good to be true to others, it is important to note that doing so is not necessarily illegal. That is because there is a big difference between lawful MLMs and illegal pyramid schemes.

Many people Maryland are familiar with MLMs. In this business model, goods are sold by independent consultants who represent the business. There is no physical store in multi-level marketing businesses -- their products are sold directly by the consultants, often through parties. However, consultants are also incentivized to sign up more individuals to be consultants too, thus earning a percentage of what those in their downline earn.

Drug trafficking involving a weapon has serious consequences

Most people in Maryland understand that the commission of certain drug crimes can result in serious penalties. For example, while possession of a small amount of marijuana may only result in a fine, other drug crimes -- such as drug trafficking -- could result in years behind bars. And, if a firearm is used in connection to the crime, it could lead to further penalties should one be convicted.

Under Maryland Code, Section 5-621, if a person is committing a drug trafficking offense, he or she is prohibited from using, wearing, carrying or transporting a firearm, or possessing one in connection to the drug trafficking offense based on the circumstances. The consequences for violating this law are steep. Not only will one face the penalties associated with the drug trafficking offense, but also will be charged with a felony weapons crime and will be penalized as follows.

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