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Silver Spring Criminal Defense Law Blog

Understanding the consequences of a gun possession charge

One of the most prominent and well-known constitutional rights in America is the right to bear arms. However, this right is not without many significant restrictions. Maryland residents should know that if they are accused of violating any gun laws in Maryland, including gun possession laws, they may face some very significant consequences.

For instance, some gun laws are tied to other crimes, such as drug possession or distribution. If a Maryland resident is charged with using a firearm during the course of committing another criminal act, there may be mandatory minimum sentences involved. Many gun-related criminal charges are felonies.

It is all about eliminating candidates for jury service

If you face a serious criminal charge that warrants a trial, you might want to know about the jury and how members will be chosen.

While your defense attorney is not able to pick the jurors he would like to have, he can eliminate from consideration those he thinks might hurt your case.

Felony drug charges in Maryland

Many states throughout the country are trying to wrestle with the rampant issue of opioid addiction, and the crime that results from the issue. Some states have taken the stance of pursuing harsher punishments for drug crimes, while others prefer the approach of helping to treat those who are addicted to drugs like heroin by instituting "drug courts." It may be that the right course of action is somewhere in between.

In Maryland, recent changes to the drug laws mean that anyone who faces drug charges will need to get the most up-to-date information about the charges. In many cases, drug possession charges are misdemeanors. But, for allegations of manufacturing or distributing drugs, Maryland residents may face felony charges.

How Are Jurors Selected?

If you face a serious criminal charge that warrants a trial, you might want to know about the jury and how members will be chosen.

While your defense attorney is not able to pick the jurors he would like to have, he can eliminate from consideration those he thinks might hurt your case.

Teacher arrested in Maryland on drug charges

There are certain types of criminal allegations that have a high amount of "shock value" when you see them in the news. One recent report was an example: a teacher arrested for allegedly selling drugs at a school in Maryland.

According to the report, the suspect, a 51-year-old special education teacher, worked at the school where she was arrested for 17 years. The criminal charges she faces are for the distribution and possession of heroin. The report indicates that while the suspect is alleged to have sold the illegal drugs on school grounds, there are no indications that she sold any drugs to students or teachers at the school. In addition to heroin, the report states that oxycodone was found in the teacher's vehicle as well. Her vehicle also had approximately $3,000 in it.

How can you craft a strategy to defend against criminal charges?

Maryland residents who are facing criminal charges probably all think one thought at some point early in the case: What do I do now? The charges could be misdemeanors charges all the way up to felonies and murder - all the same, defendants will need to come up with a strategy for their defense in the case. So, how can you craft a sound strategy to defend against criminal charges in Maryland?

For starters, criminal defendants need to realize that the burden is on the prosecution to prove the case. The burden is not on a defendant to prove their innocence. Since that is the case, perhaps the most important part of planning a criminal defense strategy is to conduct a careful review of the prosecution's evidence, and then go to work on attacking the validity or credibility of that evidence.

Facing accusations of violent crimes

There are many different types of crimes that carry a stigma for defendants: rape, homicide, robbery and other violent crimes, for example. When defendants are convicted of these types of crimes, the conviction will be on their "record" for everyone to see, and the results can be difficult to overcome, even after the defendant serves a prison sentence to "pay" for the crime. Defendants who are facing accusations of having committed violent crimes in Maryland need to have a plan for their defense strategy.

However, it isn't easy to plan a criminal defense strategy when facing violent crime charges. In most of these types of cases, there will be a victim who can potentially identify the alleged perpetrator and testify in detail as to the crime that was allegedly committed. There may be physical evidence as well, such as blood on clothing or any weapons that may have been involved. And, these types of charges can be high-level felonies, so the prosecutors who are assigned to these cases are usually very experienced.

The phases of a criminal trial

Many Maryland residents will, at some point in their lives, find themselves in an unenviable position: being charged with a crime. For some people, it could be a so-called "minor" crime, such as a drunk driving charge or drug possession. However, for others, the charges could be quite serious, such as felony charges of assault, drug dealing or even sexual offenses.

For any criminal defendant, planning a defense strategy is crucial to the outcome of the case. In some cases, the best criminal defense option will be to take the case to a trial in front of a jury. But, before defendants make this choice, it is important to know the phases of a criminal trial in Maryland.

Legal consequences of a DUI or DWI in Maryland

Looking at the statistics on traffic fatalities in Maryland reveals that the number of alcohol-related deaths is declining. Those in the state legislature continue to review the data and, in response, enact or amend laws that levy serious penalties for those convicted of a DUI or DWI.

Either charge could lead to both criminal and civil penalties, which can be severe. However, lawmakers set up the system so that a driver with a DUI or DWI conviction can recover from the consequences.

Traffic stop leads to weapons charges for Maryland man

Ask anyone who works as part of the criminal justice system - prosecutors, public defenders and judges alike - and they will tell you that one of the primary sources of criminal charges arises from traffic stops. A police officer may stop a citizen for something as simple as a broken taillight, but then notice something even more serious once contact is made with the driver: an odor of alcohol or marijuana; a check revealing an open warrant; or perhaps a weapon is in plain sight in the vehicle. It seems that there are many things that can go wrong during a traffic stop.

According to a recent report, one Maryland man found this out when he was pulled over by a law enforcement officer on October 15. The reports indicate that the law enforcement officer observed an "equipment violation" on the suspect's vehicle, leading the officer to initiate a traffic stop. Once the vehicle was stopped, the officer made contact with the 35-year-old suspect from Waldorf, Maryland. In the ensuing conversation, the reports state that the police officer allegedly smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the suspect and his vehicle.

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
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As Published in Washingtonian Magazine | Washington's Best Legal Minds | 2013