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Silver Spring Criminal Defense Law Blog

You may have grounds to fight your Breathalyzer results

These days, most drunk driving charges involve a driver failing a Breathalyzer test, which can seem difficult to overcome, even with a strong legal defense. After all, if you got pulled over and blew over the limit into a Breathalyzer, isn't your case open and shut?

Thankfully, this is not always the case. Breathalyzers are very powerful tools, but they are not infallible, and a creative defense can often find aspects of the results or the arrest interaction to challenge. If you recently received a drunk driving charge in Maryland, you need to begin building your defense as quickly as possible. The state's drunk driving laws are fairly harsh, and a conviction may lead to serious criminal and civil consequences.

Maryland bill would increase penalties for ransomware attacks


Ransomware is a computer software program that permits people to unlawfully access and control a computer, along with any data stored on the computer. The person will then refuse to turn over control of the computer and its data unless he or she is paid a certain amount of money. Sometimes these people will up the ransom if it is not paid by a certain time or the person may even permanently delete information on the hacked computer.

Ransomware attacks are a white collar crime in this state. Under Maryland law, if the victim of the attack loses under $10,000 the attack is a misdemeanor crime. However, if the victim of the attack loses more than $10,000, the attack is a felony crime.

Baltimore man known as 'Plainpotatoess' faces criminal charges


Many people create an online persona to gain a following on social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Oftentimes this includes posting videos of various acts and events online. These videos may seem funny to some and may receive thousands of "likes," but others may be offended to the point where criminal charges are filed.

A Baltimore man is facing criminal charges, including harassment and trespassing, following incidents that took place when the man was filming videos that he later reportedly intended to post on social media accounts under the name, "Plainpotatoess." So far criminal summonses have been issued, and the man has not yet been placed under arrest.

Gun possession charges must be taken seriously


It may seem as if a person's right to possess a firearm is absolute, but this is not true. There are many crimes a person could be charged with that involve the unlawful possession of a gun. Some of these charges include carrying a firearm or transporting a fire arm in your vehicle without the necessary permits. Other crimes are more serious, especial certain felonies.

Maryland laws on firearms possession are stringent and if they are violated, a mandatory minimum sentence will be imposed. For example, if a person who has been convicted of a felony crime or uses a gun when committing a felony, he or she could face at least five years of incarceration and will not be eligible for parole in addition to a total of 20 years for each firearm, as well as any sentences for any accompanying or underlying crime committed. Moreover, these jail terms must be served consecutively.

Not all direct sales in Maryland are illegal pyramid schemes


It may seem like everyone these days is involved in some sort of direct sales company, also known as multi-level marketing. While this may not be so bad, often, the companies that make these products encourage and incentivize their independent consultants to recruit others to sell the products. While being asked by an acquaintance to "join their team" with "unlimited earning potential" may be annoying to some and too good to be true to others, it is important to note that doing so is not necessarily illegal. That is because there is a big difference between lawful MLMs and illegal pyramid schemes.

Many people Maryland are familiar with MLMs. In this business model, goods are sold by independent consultants who represent the business. There is no physical store in multi-level marketing businesses -- their products are sold directly by the consultants, often through parties. However, consultants are also incentivized to sign up more individuals to be consultants too, thus earning a percentage of what those in their downline earn.

Drug trafficking involving a weapon has serious consequences


Most people in Maryland understand that the commission of certain drug crimes can result in serious penalties. For example, while possession of a small amount of marijuana may only result in a fine, other drug crimes -- such as drug trafficking -- could result in years behind bars. And, if a firearm is used in connection to the crime, it could lead to further penalties should one be convicted.

Under Maryland Code, Section 5-621, if a person is committing a drug trafficking offense, he or she is prohibited from using, wearing, carrying or transporting a firearm, or possessing one in connection to the drug trafficking offense based on the circumstances. The consequences for violating this law are steep. Not only will one face the penalties associated with the drug trafficking offense, but also will be charged with a felony weapons crime and will be penalized as follows.

What constitutes the crime of burglary in Maryland?


When a person thinks of the crime of burglary, they may envision a masked criminal breaking into a locked home in the dead of night and stealing something inside. However, under state law, burglary does not necessarily have to involve theft, nor is it limited to a person's home. Thus, it is important to understand the difference between burglary and other crimes.

There are four degrees of burglary under state law. The most basic degree of burglary is burglary in the fourth degree. Each element of that crime is treated as a criminal act. One need not physically break into another's property. For example, if a person simply on another's property with the intent of committing theft, this could still satisfy the crime of fourth-degree burglary. Or, if a person simply breaks into and enters a person's property, without necessarily intending to commit a crime of this could also satisfy the crime of fourth-degree burglary. Burglary in the fourth degree a misdemeanor crime.

Montgomery County police cracked down on DUIs over holidays


Motorists in Silver Spring may have noticed an increased police presence on the roads over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays. In fact, police in Montgomery County cracked down on DUIs in the seven-week stretch from November 14 through January 5, via its Alcohol Holiday Task Force. As of January 2, 2019, 286 individuals were arrested for drunk driving during this timeframe.

The task force concentrated on enforcing DUI checkpoints, issuing citations those who host parties where alcohol is consumed by minors and performing compliance checks at places where alcohol is sold. This is due, in part, to certain laws that have been enacted to prevent such incidents. For example, under Maryland law, any person convicted of a drunk driving offense -- even if it is a first offense -- must install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. This law was enacted after an officer on the alcohol task force lost his life when he was struck by a drunk driver. In addition, under "Alex and Calvin's Law," those who host underage drinking parties could be incarcerated and fined $5,000. This law was enacted after two high school aged students lost their lives in a car accident after attending an underage drinking party.

Is marijuana possession illegal in Maryland?


Recreational marijuana use is now legal in some states in the nation, but it is still technically against the law in Maryland. However, in 2014 a law was passed in Maryland that made possessing under 10 grams of the drug merely a civil offense rather than a criminal one. A first-time violation of this law will result in a $100 fine. A second violation of this law will result in a $250 fine. Subsequent violations of this law will result in a $500 fine. If a person is under age 21 or if it is the third time they have violated this law, they will be assessed for substance abuse disorder and they may be ordered to attend a drug education program.

However, police in Maryland generally do not have scales on them to measure how much marijuana a person possesses. They must resort to "eyeballing" it. This could become problematic if, in fact, a person is under the 10-gram threshold but is nevertheless charged with a more serious drug crime because the arresting officer estimated the person was in possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana.

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