Articles Tagged with Criminal defense attorney Maryland

The Rights a Defendant Waives: Qualification Guide for Defense Attorneys

As a service to members of the Maryland Bar, below you will find a typical criminal litany given by the defense attorney to the defendant before a guilty plea is accepted. Different lawyers have different styles when advising a defendant of the rights he/she is giving up in exchange for a guilty plea. This framework is typically effective and comprehensive as long as the proper elements and below questions are included.

As an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney, I have essentially given the same litany over 5,000 times in Circuit Courts throughout Maryland, dating back to my days as a felony Public Defender in Baltimore City (1991-1994). There are rare occasions when this litany needs tweaking due to the uniqueness of a particular case, but you should feel confident in using this verbatim in almost all instances.

What is the maximum penalty for a DUI in Maryland?

The maximum penalty for a DUI in Maryland is 1 year imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine for the first offense, and 2 years imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine for a second offense.  See MD Code, Transportation §§ 21-901(a)(1), §27-101. If the offense involves the transportation of a minor, the maximum penalty increases to 5 years imprisonment and/or a $ 5,000 fine.

Do first-time DUI offenders go to jail in Maryland?

“Moving forward, our office will continue to pursue stiff penalties [for child pornography cases] …”

That was the strong message delivered by Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy on November 20, 2023, following the sentencing of Patrick Wojahn. Wojahn, the former mayor of College Park, pled guilty to 140 counts of possession and/or distribution of child pornography and was subsequently sentenced to 30 years in prison. The prosecutor assigned to that case explained during the sentencing hearing, “The reason why he pled to 140 counts was because our office is not going to take a position as to which child deserves to have their rape—that was memorialized on video and forever lives on the internet—pled to.”

So, you can imagine the angst my client felt when he learned on December 7, 2023—just a little over two weeks after the Wojahn sentencing—that he had been indicted with the same criminal offenses, in the same jurisdiction, by the same prosecutor. Like Wojahn, my client had no prior criminal record, was well-educated, a devoted family man with a good paying job. Yet here he was facing the possibility of decades in prison.

In a media-generating stunt, the Journal News, a suburban paper in Westchester County, NY, accessed state public gun permit records, compiled the names and addresses of gun owners in three New York Counties, and then posted an online map identifying and marking on the map all of the gun permit holders in each county, with their home addresses. (New York state law requires that the identity of gun permit holders be made public.) Wisely citing safety concerns, Putnam County officials, however, refused to release to the Journal News their gun permit holders’ personal information.
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As a full time Maryland Criminal Lawyer and former Baltimore County Prosecutor practicing exclusively in the criminal arena for almost 20 years, I have handled more Sex Offense Cases (on both sides of the aisle) than I can recall. Recently we have seen an uptick in the number of Craig’s List initiated Solicitation of Minors for Sex cases being charged, particularly in Baltimore County. Most of us are familiar with this type of sting operation from the Chris Hanson “To Catch a Predator Series” on MSNBC. These are extremely serious cases that are prosecuted aggressively by both the State and Federal authorities. It is imperative that a person charged in one of these stings immediately retain the most experienced, aggressive and influential attorneys they can find.

My law partner former Federal Prosecutor Andrew C. White who directed the Child Sex Offense of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for over 7 years, and I have teamed up to successfully resolve dozens of these cases over the past decade or so when we first starting seeing these sting operations. It is imperative to have someone very experienced and influential in the federal system as there is dual federal and state jurisdiction to prosecute these cases. We were hired by someone caught up in one of these investigations just last week. I won’t go into the specifics of any of the cases for obvious privacy reasons, but here is an outline of a typical case such as this.
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Most Experienced and Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorneys handle many cases in which the client is charged with Violation of Probation. Typically when a judge places a criminal defendant on probation, the judge will require the person to do certain things while on probation such as report to an agent, perform community service, participate in drug treatment. The probation also requires the defendant to remain law abiding and very often to be randomly tested for drug use.

If a defendant violates any of these conditions, the agent will notify the judge who will usually order a hearing to determine if he probation has been violated and very often issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. Many judges routinely order that the defendant be held without bail until such hearing takes place. Many attorneys wrongly assume that violations of probation are not defensible since there is no prohibition on the use of hearsay testimony and the State must only prove the violation by a preponderance of the evidence standard, not beyond a reasonable doubt as is the case in criminal trials. Many defenses are in fact viable in violations of probation including speedy trial type defenses. I successfully defended a client in a violation of probation hearing this week in Baltimore County District Court using this type of defense. Here are the facts:
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I have a current case that highlights the significant fork in the criminal justice road when juveniles are charged as adults. Zachary Watson (17) and Emmanuel Miller (16) are the 2 juveniles who were with alleged Neo-Nazi Calvin Lockner when he attacked an elderly black fisherman in Baltimore city this year. It was reported widely in the national media as a hate crime. Lockner, age 28, has already pled to 31 years in adult court.

Both Watson and Miller asked to be waived back to Juvenile Court. I represented Miller and requested his case be transferred to juvenile court. Watson made the same request. After a hearing, Miller’s request was granted and Watson’s denied. Since that time, Watson has been stabbed in prison and is constantly harassed by guards and inmates while awaiting trial. He is likely to get a significant sentence on 1/25/11 in adult court. The odds against Watson leading a productive life after prison are not favorable to say the least.

Miller, on the other hand, is a star in the juvenile system. Unlike the adult system, the juvenile system focuses on rehabilitation. He has been given 3 successful weekend furloughs from commitment. He has earned his GED while committed, plays on the football team and has received glowing reports from his teachers and counselors. By every indication, the judge who presides over his rehabilitation is so happy with his progress he is going to release Miller on probation next month.

Maryland Criminal/Civil Appeals Attorney discusses new opinion by the Maryland Court of Appeals dealing with Miranda Warnings.

A new case was decided by Judge Barbera of the Maryland Court of Appeals on April 14, 2010 dealing with Miranda. The State alleged that Mr. Luckett believed his wife was having an affair with his son’s football coach. Mr. Luckett was alleged to have killed his wife and then went to the football coach’s place of business, a barber shop, and killed him.
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In Maryland Juvenile Court, in an effort to “soften” the blow to minors. Different terms are used to describe the process. In juvenile criminal court, a defendant is a “respondent”. The Charging document is a “petition” not an “indictment”. Juveniles do not get tried, rather they have an “adjudicatory hearing”. If found guilty, the minor is not convicted of a crime but rather is “found delinquent”.

If a child is found delinquent, the child is either supervised for a probation period, or committed (not incarcerated) to the department of Juvenile Services. Because the term incarceration is taboo in the juvenile system, the commitment is reviewed regularly by a judge.

For more information, or a free consultation, please contact the Maryland criminal lawyers of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, LLC. or call Steve Silverman at 410-385-2226.

According to a Fox News report, eight people have been arrested today in South Carolina in connection with the Michael Phelps bong photo. It is being reported that seven of the people are being charged with possession of marijuana and one for dealing. One of the arrests includes a suspect who was trying to sell the infamous bong on Ebay for $100,000.00.

Apparently, the marijuana was smoked at a University of South Carolina party in November of last year. Putting aside my personal feelings on whether this is a prudent use of our law enforcement resources, from a legal standpoint, this case is a disaster that can never survive in court.

As a criminal lawyer that has been involved in the prosecution of over 3000 drug cases, I have yet to see a charge, let alone a conviction, on possession of a controlled dangerous substance based upon a photograph of someone allegedly ingesting a controlled substance.

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