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Silver Spring Criminal Defense Law Blog

Sex crime charges carry serious penalties and consequences

Accusations and charges of sex crimes can be life-altering for those accused of them. It is important to keep in mind that regardless of the crime the accused individual has been charged with, they have the right to all of the criminal defense protections available to them through the criminal justice system and the protections included in the Constitution.

Sex crimes charges can refer to a variety of different criminal charges, including: rape charges; statutory rape charges; sexual assault charges; child molestation and abuse charges; and prostitution and solicitation charges. The penalties and consequences associated with sex crimes charges can be particularly severe and a conviction for sex crime charges usually requires registration as a sex offender, which can carry additional potential penalties and consequences for violations of registration requirements in addition to the stigma associated with the charges and registration itself.

Why should felony charges be taken so seriously?

Knowing the reasons why felony charges should be taken seriously is important for individuals who have been accused of committing a felony crime to understand. While all criminal charges should not be treated lightly, felony charges can be particularly serious because of the potential consequences and repercussions individuals accused of felony charges can face.

Felonies are considered the most serious criminal charges an accused individual can face under the United States system of criminal justice and can include murder, rape and robbery charges, among other criminal charges. They are differentiated from misdemeanor criminal charges and are generally considered more severe crimes that were, at common law, considered crimes of moral turpitude. In addition to being a more serious category of crime, which are oftentimes divided into degrees under the law, they can also be punished more seriously.

High school principal charged with DUI in Maryland

This blog recently discussed potential penalties and consequences of drunk driving charges which can have a tremendous impact on the everyday life of an accused individual. In a Maryland community a couple of hours from the Silver Spring area, a catholic high school principal was recently arrested on several DUI charges.

The 64-year old high school principal was charged with driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol; driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol per se; driving a vehicle while impaired by alcohol; as well as other charges related to negligent driving, causing harm and obstructing the roadway. Motor vehicle offenses and allegations can create challenges for accused individuals at work and at home. DUI charges can also create an arrest record and criminal record that is also troublesome.

Penalties and consequences of a DUI in Maryland

Individuals facing drunk driving charges face both criminal penalties and administrative sanctions which can be serious. It is important to know how to combat these charges and to understand the potential penalties and consequences faced when accused of drunk driving. Criminal penalties can include jail time and fines and administrative penalties can include driver's license suspension and revocation. The potential penalties and consequences, of course, can have a significant impact on the accused individual professionally, personally and financially.

For a first DUI offense in Maryland, the accused individual potentially faces 1 year in jail; a $1,000 fine; and driver's license revocation up to 6 months. For a second DUI offense, the accused individual faces up to two years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 5 days in jail; a $2,000 fine; and their driver's license may be revoked for up to 1 year. If the accused individual has 2 DUI convictions in five years, a mandatory driver's license suspension will be followed by a minimum period to have an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. Participation in an alcohol abuse assessment program may also be required.

The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident are harsh

A car crash is a traumatic experience, even if it is only a fender bender. Those involved should always stop and deal with the aftermath responsibly.

If you cause a car accident in Maryland and leave the scene of the crash, you could face severe penalties, including jail time and the loss of your driver's license.

What are robbery charges?

Individuals who have been charged with robbery may wonder what the charges include. Robbery charges are felony charges, which means they carry potentially stiff penalties, beginning with a possible year or more in prison. Robbery generally refers to the taking of property with the use of force or by causing injury.

To be convicted of robbery, it generally must be established that the accused individual committed certain elements of the crime of robbery. Elements of robbery include the taking of property of another with the intent to deprive the owner of the property. The property must also be taken against the property owner's will by the use of violence, intimidation or threat of force. Each element of the crime depends on the circumstances or situation.

Gun charges are serious in Maryland

In Maryland, gun possession laws are strict and the mandatory minimum sentences for violating them can be stiff. As a consequence, weapons crimes charges should never be taken lightly. For instance, possession of a firearm following a previous felony conviction; the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony; and the use of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime carry a mandatory prison sentence of 5 years, as well as additional penalties depending on the circumstances.

In addition, weapons crimes charges, including gun possession charges, can create a criminal record, including an arrest record. A criminal record can potentially present additional challenges for the accused individual related to job, housing and family. Because of the serious potential penalties and consequences associated with weapons charges, criminal defense options should be thoroughly considered and understood.

Maryland man faces 13 criminal charges

In a nearby Maryland community north of the Silver Springs area, a man is facing drug and weapons charges. According to authorities, they were called to the area based on a report of an individual with a firearm. Authorities found three men sitting on a step, and the man who was later arrested allegedly ran from police and tripped and fell.

The man was arrested and allegedly had heroin and cocaine in his possession. The man is now facing numerous criminal charges, including two counts of possession of drugs other than marijuana; two counts of possession with intent to distribute; distributing drugs with a firearm; using a firearm in a drug crime; possession of drugs with a firearm; using a firearm in a felony crime; illegal possession of a firearm; as well as other charges. In all, the 26-year old man is facing 13 criminal charges.

Why is the jury selection process so important in criminal cases?

Many people get their impressions of what a jury trial is like from what they see on television or in movies. But, as much drama as there may be in these scenes of harsh cross-examination of witnesses and impassioned arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys alike, there is one step that comes before all of this that can make or break a trial: the jury selection process.

Some people do not even realize that the prosecution, defense and the judge in a case all have a say in who will be a part of the jury that will, ultimately, hear and weigh the evidence presented. But, why is the jury selection process so important in a criminal case?

Eyewitness testimony can be the heart of a criminal case

When a Maryland resident is facing criminal allegations, it can be quite disheartening. However, defendants should take some solace in the fact that the threshold that the prosecution must meet to prove the case is as high as it gets in law: "beyond a reasonable doubt."

With such a high threshold to meet, most prosecutors will leave no stone unturned when it comes to collecting evidence for a criminal case, particularly if the case is going to trial. The evidence in a criminal case could consist of physical items, financial records or surveillance videos, but, in most cases, the heart of the case is eyewitness testimony.

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