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Upper Marlboro Criminal Defense Law Blog

College students: Remember your right to remain silent

Most University of Maryland students do not have much experience, if any, dealing with the police. If you are new to the region, you may be caught off guard by the amount of police you see in the area, whether it is University of Maryland or Prince George’s County police officers.

Whether the college experience is proving difficult to handle or you have done nothing wrong and police “just want to chat with you,” you should know that the way you handle the interaction could have a large effect on your future.

Web restrictions on criminal defendants

Courts have prohibited criminal defendants from using the internet as a condition of their probation or supervised release in sexual assault or other sexual offense cases. However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently recognized evolving technology and free speech protections while overturning a North Carolina law prohibiting registered sex offenders from accessing internet websites that could enable direct communications with minors.

In the case, the defendant was convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl when he was 21-years-old. Several years later, he boasted on Facebook under a different screen name about having a citation dismissed in traffic court.

I got pulled over and arrested for DUI! What am I facing?

More than likely, you thought you were okay to drive home after a night out. You started your journey, and everything was going fine until you heard that familiar and pulse-quickening squawk of a police siren behind you. If the officer suspects that you are impaired, he or she may ask you to submit to a breath test and field sobriety tests.

If you refuse to participate, the officer may take your license from you right then and there. In its place, you may receive a temporary paper license that lasts approximately 45 days. The same may happen if the breath test indicates your blood alcohol concentration is above Maryland's legal limit of .08. You may now be wondering what you could face if convicted. This article addresses the possibilities for a conviction for DUI only, not DWI or underage drinking.

Former detective beats theft charges

Having a police badge does not guarantee that Maryland law enforcement officers will not face the situation where they need to mount a criminal defense. Earlier this month, prosecutors withdrew criminal charges alleging that a Baltimore police detective engaged in fraud by exaggerating his education credentials while seeking a salary raise.

The defendant served 32 years with the Baltimore Police Department and investigated cyber and electronic crimes. The criminal charges first appeared in 2014 and he was indicted in December of 2016. He was accused of submitting a falsified diploma and with theft relating to his salary increase.

Doctors face drug charges for allegedly selling prescriptions

With thousands of Americans reportedly overdosing on opioids and painkillers, law enforcement officials have been cracking down on prescription drug crime. Maryland police departments are working with federal agents to put a stop to overdose deaths in Maryland by going after doctors who misuse their licenses.

Two licensed physicians in the Baltimore area are now facing criminal charges for allegedly selling prescriptions for money. Their actions are said to have caused the deaths of two men who had received a prescription for Oxycodone at a clinic where one of the doctors worked. Law enforcement says that crowds of patients would wait outside the clinic to buy prescriptions in cash. Overall, investigators predict that close to 400 people received 280,000 doses of Oxycodone since spring 2015.

Breaking down possession with the intent to distribute

Perhaps you got off the Beltway on your way back to Upper Marlboro and a police officer stopped you for speeding. After talking to you for a couple of minutes, the officer asked you to exit the vehicle. Whether the officer believed he or she had probable cause or asked for your consent, the officer conducted a search of your vehicle.

The officer supposedly found drugs in the vehicle and placed you under arrest on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute. It might help you to have a better understanding of what the crime entails as you begin considering your legal options.

What are protective orders?

In Maryland, a protective order and peace order may prohibit certain conduct. Issuance of these orders is a civil legal matter which may have an impact on the criminal defense ultimately presented in these cases.

A judge issues these orders, which prohibit a person, known as a "respondent," from committing certain acts. Protective orders govern spouses, individuals who had sexual relations within one year or resided together for at least 90 days, relatives or parents of a common child. Other individuals may seek a peace order.

Drugged driving in Maryland

Maryland law enforcement can file drug charges against individuals who possess or distribute drugs. Police can also make arrests of motorists who drive under the influence of drugs. A person may be guilty of driving under the influence for operating any vehicle unsafely because they are too impaired by any drug. It is also illegal to operate a vehicle while being impaired by a controlled substance.

Maryland courts have found that the state's medical cannabis laws do not legally allow any person to use cannabis. Patients may still face criminal penalties but the state's Compassionate Use Act allows courts to lessen penalties for possession and use of marijuana. However, the Compassionate Use Act applies to prosecutions for use and possession but may not mitigate penalties in a DUI prosecution.

Is your college student in trouble?

When your son or daughter went off to college at the University of Maryland or other institution, he or she likely received a student handbook (either physically or electronically) that contained a wealth of information. In fact, the college may have required incoming students to attend an assembly where a speaker highlighted essential topics in the document.

The handbook described every aspect of college life, from how to register for courses to where to find help for personal problems. Your child may have read about the names and requirements for campus clubs, recreational offerings and honor societies. Perhaps he or she skipped over the section dealing with student behavior and potential penalties.

Police camera shows planting of evidence in Maryland

Baltimore police body cameras have a feature which records automatically for 30 seconds before the officer turns on the camera. This may have been unknown to an officer who allegedly planted drugs and then activated the camera to film their retrieval. This led to the dropping of drug charges against a man arrested for heroin possession and an official review of other drug arrests.

The public defender's office released footage it said was recorded by a police officer during an arrest in January. It shows the officer putting a soup can containing a plastic bag into a debris-filled lot. This camera automatically recorded video for 30 seconds before the officer turned this device on. This feature, however, does not record audio.

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