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Silver Spring Criminal Defense Law Blog

Understand your rights when charged with violent crimes

When Maryland residents are facing violent crime charges, they know the matter is serious. Violent crime charges, such as rape, aggravated assault, robbery and murder, are some of the most severe charges that anyone can face. The consequences upon conviction - if it comes to that - can be many years lost in state or federal prison.

That is why it is so important for Maryland residents to know their rights when it comes time to plan a criminal defense strategy for violent crime charges. First and foremost, you have a right to see the evidence that the prosecution has obtained in order to attempt to prove the charges. Defendants should do their best to make sure that they get the evidence - all of it - as soon as possible. This way the evidence can be reviewed for potential weaknesses.

What you tweet may be used against you

Be careful what you post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media site. Anything you say and any pictures you put up on the internet can become evidence against you in a criminal case.

A criminal charge is a serious matter, and sharing information about it on the internet could result in the loss of your freedom. Be aware of the effects of social media usage to avoid self-incrimination.

An overview of field sobriety tests

Thousands of Maryland residents are arrested each year on driving while intoxicated charges. The slightest road violation - failure to use a turn signal, a busted taillight or crossing the centerline - could lead to a traffic stop, which could then turn into a DUI investigation. When a police officer smells alcohol on a driver, one of the first steps is to start conducting field sobriety tests.

Field sobriety tests are fairly standard throughout America. While not infallible, they do provide police officers with an indication as to whether or not a driver might be intoxicated due to alcohol use or the use of illegal drugs. These tests can be challenged by the defendant in the pendency of the criminal case if they are not conducted correctly.

38-year-old man arrested on gun and drug charges

One way that law enforcement officials will attempt to make arrests in drug cases is to compile enough evidence to convince a judge to sign a search warrant for a residence. Once the law enforcement officials have the search warrant in hand, they can wait and attempt to serve the warrant at the best possible opportunity to construct a strong case. That appears to be what occurred in nearby Annapolis, as a tactical narcotics team served a warrant at about 6 pm on September 14, reportedly leading to one arrest and the seizure of multiple guns and various drugs.

According to a recent report, the search warrant was served at the residence of a 38-year-old man. Once the law enforcement officials were inside the residence, they allegedly found four handguns, over $9,000, and illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, hallucinogens and THC extract. The reports indicate that the illegal drugs had an estimated "street value" of nearly $30,000. The suspect is now facing a range of felony drug and weapons charges, and the consequences, upon conviction, could be many years in prison.

How should you approach plea negotiations in your case?

When Maryland residents face allegations of criminal conduct, they are smart to consider all of their options. Various criminal charges will leave defendants with different options. For instance, the right approach to a drug crime might not be the same as the right approach to a violent crime charge. But, in any case, there will likely come a point when it is time to consider the pros and cons of negotiating a plea deal and pleading guilty. So, how should you approach this stage of your criminal case?

First, it is important to understand that the prosecution is under no obligation to "broker a deal" with a criminal defendant. The prosecution doesn't have to make any kind of offer. But, the reality of today's criminal justice system usually dictates that they do so. Why? Well, because it would be too much of a burden on the local government to prosecute every case all the way through to a jury trial. The prosecution simply doesn't have the resources.

Domestic assault in Maryland

Domestic violence is a pretty hot topic in the news these days. It seems as if society is finally beginning to realize just how serious this crime is and, unfortunately, how pervasive it is in America, including in Maryland. This is a good turn of events, but, at the same time, it is important to remember that anyone who is accused of committing domestic assault in Maryland has the constitutional right to defend themselves. Why is this important? Because not every arrest results in a conviction.

Domestic assault in Maryland covers a wide range of behavior. Physical harm, false imprisonment and threats are all different types of behavior that may constitute domestic assault. The actual crime that the defendant faces will depend on the facts of the situation. However, for a domestic violence charge to come into play, one of the key facts must be that the actions occurred between family members or members of the same household.

Alleged "road rage" incident leads to attempted murder charge

Most of our readers have probably seen reports about "road rage" incidents that have occurred over the last several years. In some cases, the reports indicate incidents of side-swiping or other contact between vehicles, leading to accidents. In other cases, there have been reports of weapons being brandished and even shots being fired. That was the case in a recent incident, according to reports.

The report noted that on August 22, a 30-year-old man allegedly pulled out a firearm and fired a few shots at a vehicle being driven by a woman. The alleged victim, who has not been identified, reportedly informed law enforcement officials that the suspect had been following her closely before he then passed her vehicle in an aggressive manner. That was when she reportedly observed three muzzle flashes come from the suspect's vehicle and heard a shot hit her vehicle. The reports indicate that damage to her vehicle was visible.

Be prepared at every step of your criminal case

Most of our readers likely think that a criminal case begins with an arrest. In most cases, this is accurate. But, in other cases, extensive investigations may be occurring behind the scenes before an arrest is ever made. Searches may be conducted and law enforcement officials may conduct interviews with alleged victims and potential suspects. In every criminal case, there are several steps before a conclusion is reached.

For Maryland residents who are the focus of a criminal investigation or who have been arrested for an alleged crime, it is important to be prepared at every step of your criminal case. In the immediate aftermath of an arrest, the most important question isn't necessarily in regard to guilt or innocence - it is whether or not the court will grant the defendant the opportunity to post bond and be released while the case is pending.

Marijuana possession can impact your plans for the future

In the state of Maryland, there is growing support for legalizing marijuana. Thus far, however, the General Assembly has approved and signed into law only medical marijuana.

Fans of recreational cannabis may find encouragement in the state's recent progress toward legalization. But at this time, the law still classifies many cases of possession as misdemeanors or felonies with far-reaching effects.

How can you defend against homicide charges?

When Maryland residents are facing homicide charges, they might feel like they have no options. After all, many people think that there is most likely a mountain of evidence against people who are charged with homicide because the prosecution wouldn't pursue the case if it wasn't sure a conviction would result. However, every criminal defendant has legal options.

So, how can Maryland residents defend themselves against homicide charges? Well, obviously every case is unique, but there are some common defense options. For instance, the first and foremost thought in many of these cases is for the defendant to negotiate a plea bargain on lesser charges - and a lesser sentence. But, if the defendant wants to fight the case, there are other options.

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