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Silver Spring Criminal Defense Law Blog

Can convicted felons possess firearms in Maryland?

In Maryland, those who have been convicted of a "disqualifying crime" may not possess a statutorily defined "regulated firearm." "Disqualifying crimes" include violent crimes, felonies and misdemeanors with statutory penalties of more than two years. However, after serving the sentence, a person who has been convicted of a "disqualifying crime" may pursue a pardon in order to regain the right to possess a firearm.

A pardon serves as proof that the convicted felon has adjusted back to society after serving the sentence. Therefore, people cannot apply for a pardon if they are still incarcerated. To be pardoned for a misdemeanor crime, a person must not commit any crimes for five years from either the date of sentence, release from prison or release from parole, whichever occurred last.

Assault charges in Maryland can lead to serious penalties

People in Maryland will get into fights with friends, loved ones or even strangers from time to time. Most of the time, these fights only consist of verbal disagreements or insults. However, the stakes are raised if one party threatens the other with physical harm or causes physical harm.

Under Maryland Code §3-201, assault constitutes the crimes of both battery and assault, as defined in case law. Maryland Code §3-203 prohibits an individual from committing assault. If they do, they will be charged with second-degree assault, which is a misdemeanor crime. If convicted, they could face up to 10 years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.

Can you lose your driver's license following a DUI in Maryland?

Driving is a necessity for many people in Maryland. It's how they get to work, how they make it to medical appointments and go grocery shopping, among many other tasks. Getting your driver's license is a rite of passage and, once you have it, it's hard to imagine life without it.

However, it is possible to lose the privilege of driving. For example, if a motorist is pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, that driver may be asked to submit to a breath test. If the motorist does so and the breath test shows a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, the motorist's driver's license will be confiscated. The motorist will be given a temporary paper license and will also be given an Order of Suspension containing information about how to request a hearing with the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings, along with a form for doing so. The motorist has 30 days to request an administrative hearing, but if the motorist wishes to keep driving until their hearing date, that person has within 10 days following the date of the Order of Suspension to request a hearing.

What is the felony crime "vehicular manslaughter"?

No one gets in their car and hits the road with the intention of causing a deadly accident. Unfortunately, fatal accidents happen all too often in Maryland and across the nation. Many times, these tragic incidents are truly accidental, and no one can be blamed for them. However, other times a driver is accused of driving in a grossly negligent manner. This may be considered vehicular manslaughter, which is a very serious charge.

Under Maryland Criminal Code §2-209(b), motorists are prohibited from operating their vehicles in a grossly negligent manner that ends up causing another person to die. This is a felony crime, which can result in thousands of dollars in fines and years of incarceration if a person is convicted. If it is a motorist's first conviction on vehicular manslaughter charges, that motorist may face up to 10 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines or both. If it is a motorist's second or subsequent conviction on vehicular manslaughter charges or certain other charges, that motorist could face up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines or both.

"Revenge porn" is now illegal per Maryland extortion laws

With the advent of the Internet came the advent of crimes associated with it. While one may think mainly of white-collar crimes, such as identity theft, when it comes to Internet crimes, there are other ways a person could use the Internet to commit a crime. Extortion is one of these crimes, and Maryland law has recently expanded the scope of what acts could fall under extortion laws.

Hundreds of new laws have recently taken effect in Maryland, including one involving sexual offenses. Under Maryland law, it is now illegal to threaten economic harm or shame someone as a means of forcing that person to perform sexual acts or appear in pornography. Known as "revenge porn" or "sextortion," such acts are now considered to be a misdemeanor crime. The penalties are significant and include a fine of up to $10,000 and as many as 10 years of incarceration.

What acts constitute first-degree murder in Maryland?

Of the many types of violent crimes that exist, most would say that first-degree murder is the most serious. This is especially true since murder can be committed while a person is committing or trying to commit a second violent crime. Maryland has incorporated the felony murder rule that applies in such situations into its first-degree murder statute.

Under Maryland law, murder in the first degree takes place when it is a deliberate, premeditated and willful killing that was committed by lying in wait. First-degree murder can also be charged if the death occurs in the commission of other crimes, including: first-degree arson; first, second or third-degree burglary; carjacking; escape from prison; certain types of kidnapping; mayhem; rape; certain types of robbery; and first or second-degree sexual offense, along with several other felony offenses.

How do allegations of domestic violence affect gun possession?

When it comes to allegations of domestic violence, there are always two sides to the story. However, it may be the case that one person will be accused of committing the act. This can have a significant effect on that person's rights, including their right to possess a firearm.

Under Maryland law, if the police are called in response to allegations of domestic violence, the officer is permitted to take a firearm from the scene if two elements are met. First, the officer must have probable cause to believe that an act constituting domestic violence did take place, and the officer saw the firearm when responding to the scene of the alleged act.

Protecting the rights of those accused of DUI/DWI

Maryland recognizes two different types of drunk driving charges. One is driving under the influence of alcohol. This is a serious offense that could lead to the suspension or revocation of a person's driver's license and as many as three years in jail for a second or subsequent offense. The other is driving while impaired. While this charge is not as serious as driving under the influence of alcohol, it could still lead to the suspension of a person's driver's license, a significant fine and possibly jail time, among other penalties. When accused of driving while impaired or driving under the influence of alcohol it is important to take every step necessary to present a solid defense case.

One of these steps may include seeking legal representation. An attorney can advocate for the client and protect the client's rights throughout the criminal trial process. Attorneys understand the law and can apply it to the facts of their client's case, presenting their client's case in the best light possible.

A domestic assault case can hurt a parent's custody chances

Domestic assault charges will usually require an assertive criminal defense for a number of reasons. Like any criminal case, even a misdemeanor domestic assault charge can land a person in jail and most certainly will result on probation, fines, fees and other penalties. Moreover, convictions for crimes related to domestic violence can affect people in other ways, about which they might not even think at the time.

For instance, like other states, Maryland has separate laws that are designed to protect children who are in the middle of child custody disputes when one of the child's parents is accused of domestic violence, even if the victim was not the child but the other parent. Specifically, a Maryland court deciding custody or visitation must take into account the fact that a parent has a domestic violence conviction when deciding what custody and parenting arrangement is in the child's best interest.

Man charged with smuggling offenses on Maryland shore

According to a recent report, a man from out-of-state has been accused of traveling over state lines with what authorities described as contraband cigarettes. He was detained by agents of the state Comptroller, who helps enforce Maryland's excise tax laws. Among other items, Maryland places taxes on cigarettes.

One of the charges the man faces is a felony. Authorities claim that, upon searching the suspect's vehicle, they found almost 3,000 packs of cigarettes. Their market value was just over $18,000, and agents calculated that the loss in revenue to the state was $5,640.

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