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Silver Spring Criminal Defense Law Blog

A journey through the criminal justice process

An overview of the criminal justice process and its components can help an accused individual better navigate the process. There are three primary institutions that comprise the criminal justice system including law enforcement, the court system and the corrections system. It is helpful to understand a little about what each does.

Law enforcement, of course, investigates crimes and generally gathers evidence of crimes. Based on the information and evidence provided by law enforcement, prosecutors determine how accused individuals will be charged and the court system adjudicates those charges. Plea bargaining, recently discussed in this blog, may also be involved at this stage of the process. Lastly, the accused individual may interact with corrections if they are subject to incarceration.

Who can possess a firearm in Maryland?

Although certainly people in Maryland have different views on guns and gun control, there are many people in this state who own or may want to have a gun.

Under Maryland law, the general rule is that an adult resident can possess a gun. However, there are many exceptions to this rule. As is the case under federal law, certain criminal convictions will disqualify a person from bearing a firearm. Also, someone who is subject to a protective order, unless it was issued ex parte, may not legally have a firearm.

What is a "plea bargain"?

Plea bargaining is important to understand because it is a significant part of the criminal justice system. For an accused individual facing criminal charges, and a potential plea bargain, there are likely many important questions that come up that need to be answered.

Plea negotiations fall into three main categories, including charge bargaining, sentence bargaining and fact bargaining. Charge bargaining and sentence bargaining are the most common. Charge bargaining refers to the accused individual pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for more serious charges being dropped. Sentence bargaining, likewise, refers to the accused individual pleading guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence or reduced sentence recommendation to the judge.

Speeding is one sure way to add points to your record

In the state of Maryland, the Motor Vehicle Administration is in charge of the point system that affects your driving record.

If you are used to speeding as you drive, the law of averages will catch up with you eventually. At the very least, you will be ticketed and the MVA will add points to your record.

Maryland man arrested on DUI charges after traffic stop

Drunk driving charges are serious and carry potentially serious penalties and consequences. In a Maryland community southeast of the Silver Spring area a man was recently arrested on drunk driving charges. Following the traffic stop, the man is facing multiple DUI charges including a failure to have a required ignition interlock device. According to authorities, they were patrolling when they noticed a vehicle swerve over the center line. Authorities reported that when they pulled the 41-year old man over, he had an open container of beer in his vehicle.

According to the police report, authorities believed the man was under the influence and began a DUI investigation. They reported that the outcome of the investigation was that the man was driving under the influence. They also reported that he was required to have an ignition interlock device on his vehicle but did not have one at the time of the traffic stop.

Common prescription drug crimes

When you think of drug abuse, you probably think of alcohol, cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine. You probably do not assume drug abuse is a serious problem when it comes to prescription medications. But according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, prescription meds are the third most abused type of drug.

Misusing prescription drugs may not only result in serious health consequences but also criminal charges. Here are some of the most common types of prescription drug offenses.

How social media affects criminal cases

Social media affects every aspect of society. If you use any social media site or app, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, you should be aware of the impact this may have on your criminal proceeding. Anything you post on social media may turn into evidence to convict you of a criminal offense.

You are probably stressing out about what law enforcement may find on your social mediaprofiles and what you can do about it. Here is an explanation of how social media can impact the case against you.

What are murder charges and how can I protect myself if charged?

In general, most people in Maryland have a basic understanding of what murder is. However, any individual accused of murder may be left wondering exactly what the charges include. It may not be as simple as it initially seems. Because the penalties for murder can be so serious, it is important to understand murder charges if you are facing them.

Though each criminal defense strategy is specific to the unique situation and circumstances the accused individual is facing, certain criminal defense rights apply in all cases. These rights protect accused individuals and ensure police follow required procedures so that the accused individual's rights are not violated and that they are legally arrested and charged and that the process is fair. By asserting these rights, accused individuals in Maryland are in a better position to protect themselves.

The seriousness of sex offenses and sex offender registries

One of the most challenging aspects of sex crimes charges can be the requirement to register as a sex offender. Sex offenses can result in serious penalties, a potential loss of freedom and significant personal and professional consequences. The added requirement to register as a sex offender is something individuals in Maryland accused of sex crimes should know about.

Sex offender registries are maintained at both state and federal levels. Individuals who have been adjudicated for a sex crime can face additional potential penalties and for violating of sex offender registry registration requirements or a failing to register. Sex crime charges including possession of child pornography and certain prostitution or solicitation charges, and nearly all sex offenses, carry the requirement of mandatory sex offender registration. This can be a requirement that lasts for life.

Maryland political candidate charged with DUI

Drunk driving charges in Maryland can place accused individuals in serious jeopardy and result in significant consequences and penalties for accused individuals if convicted. This is especially true for those who hold a public position or are otherwise in the public eye. For example, in a Maryland community approximately two hours east of the Silver Spring area, a candidate for County Clerk of the Circuit Court for the local county was charged with driving under the influence.

The 45-year old man was charged with DUI following a traffic stop. The man's primary election was coming up. If he was to win, he would face a challenger from the opposing party in the general election in the fall.

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