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Upper Marlboro Criminal Defense Law Blog

Resisting arrest can compound your troubles

Dealing with police can be stressful, especially if you have had negative experiences with law enforcement in the past. When an officer approaches you, your first instinct may be to get away as quickly as possible, but this is seldom a wise decision. While you may understand that your past convictions or the suspicion of police may place you in a difficult situation, running away will only make matters worse.

Even more serious consequences may arise if you resist arrest. The crime of resisting arrest can have complex elements, and it is important that you understand what actions Maryland police may consider resisting.

What factors contribute to domestic violence?

Domestic violence charges always have the power to ruin lives. In a case of incompatible versions of events, like a he-said-she-said case with little objective evidence, law enforcement officers and victim advocates often look for risk factors around a situation to determine if people are safe or not.

What about individual people may lead to domestic violence?

Caroline County woman faces charges for alleged sex offense

If a person is facing criminal charges, it can feel like everyone is out to get you. A seriousness becomes part of everyday life, and the prospect of losing one's freedom can cause some people to obsess. But it's important to relax and remember that it's everyone's right to prepare a defense. And an attorney is often part of that strategy.

A Caroline County woman is facing criminal charges after an alleged sex offense that occurred with the suspect's student. The 29-year-old woman has been charged with sex abuse of a minor and contributing to certain conditions of a minor among other charges.

What does it mean to be charged with attempted murder?

Not every relationship you have will end well. Perhaps you had a falling out with your spouse, a family member or a friend. When that person ends up in the hospital fighting for his or her life, the police may come to you for answers. It may not take you long to realize authorities suspect you of trying to murder the individual.

Since the person is still alive, you may face a charge of attempted murder. If convicted, you could face severe penalties, including the loss of your freedom and your life as you know it. Understanding the charges you face often serves as the first step to preparing a defense.

R. Kelly enters plea on updated indictment with new victim

Music fans in Maryland following the allegations against R. Kelly might be interested to learn that a federal indictment has been updated with new charges against the former R&B singer. This marks the sixth arraignment for the 53-year-old man. New abuse allegations were added to the federal indictment to include charges stemming from another accuser. The new accuser is known only as Minor 6 in the documents.

The lawyer for Kelly entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of the singer. The new charges might lead to another superseding indictment in April although no plans were made during the hearing.

Virginia man detained after police find drugs in vehicle

Almost 50 pounds of cocaine and three pounds of fentanyl was seized from a 2017 Tahoe as it crossed into Maryland in late February 2020. The vehicle was pulled over for a routine traffic stop when police officers noted that the vehicle's tint was too dark.

Upon pulling over the vehicle, the police approached the driver; no one else was in the vehicle at the time of the stop. The man driving the vehicle appeared to be trembling, was breathing heavily and seemed to be nervous. Officers also thought they smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle. Another police officer with a K-9 partner approached the vehicle some time after the first officer made the traffic stop. The dog alerted the officers to the presence of drugs in the SUV.

Field sobriety tests are subjective, give false results

If a police officer pulls you over and asks if you have been drinking, it is likely that he or she already has a suspicion. Whether you had a couple of beers with your friends or you have not consumed a drop of alcohol, what happens next should concern you. If the officer asks you to step out of the car and submit to a series of field sobriety tests, you have the right to say no, and you may be wise to exercise that right.

You may assume that you are not over Maryland's legal limit of .08 blood alcohol concentration. However, your performance during police field sobriety tests may give officers reason to place you under arrest. Even if you are well under the limit, there is no guarantee that you will pass these tests. This may seem shocking when you have so much at stake.

Study raises questions about court psychology tests

When judges and juries in Maryland and around the country are tasked with making sentencing decisions or determining an individual's suitability for bail, they often consider the results of IQ and psychological tests. These tests are generally viewed as being accurate and backed by science, but that is not what a team of researchers found when they studied almost 900 cases that went to court between 2016 and 2018. The study, which was published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal on Feb. 15, concludes that only about one in three of the IQ and psychological tests that are routinely used in courts has received the backing of the scientific community.

The researchers also questioned the validity of the tests being used in courts that have been reviewed by scientists and academics. More than half of these reviewed IQ and psychology tests are looked upon unfavorably, and almost a quarter of them are considered unreliable. The study suggests that attorneys may be unfamiliar with these scientific shortcomings as the introduction of psychological evidence went unchallenged in more than 97% of the cases.

Factors that elevate a robbery charge

Taking someone else's property with no intention of returning it is theft. Theft by itself is a serious offense, and depending on the value of the items in questions, it may constitute a felony, which means a conviction may result in significant penalties. However, if certain factors exist, a theft charge may instead become robbery.

If you are facing robbery charges, you should know that you have much at stake. Robbery is a serious crime in Maryland, and the penalties can alter the course of your life. You would be wise to learn as much as you can about the law related to your situation and find dependable legal advocacy as early as possible in the criminal process.

Challenging implicit racial bias in court

When some people face Maryland criminal charges, they may have to deal with the unconscious weight of racial bias and stereotypes from juries and even judges. Research shows that black defendants continue to receive higher prison sentences and are more likely to be held in pre-trial detention. According to many scholars, these results could be explained by implicit bias, a form of racial prejudice that relies on the unconscious perpetuation of social stereotypes rather than conscious choices to discriminate against members of a particular race. One of the key characteristics of implicit racial bias is that it remains unspoken and unexamined.

Therefore, some criminal defense lawyers and scholars have proposed that implicit bias can be challenged in the courtroom by drawing specific attention to the potential racial dynamics involved in a case. Implicit biases may be less likely to influence decision-making when they are made explicit. For example, a defense attorney could ask a judge to provide specific jury instructions in which jurors are reminded to consider only the facts and evidence in the case, rather than stereotypes, biases or personal like or dislike for the parties. Because implicit bias relies on stereotypes, lawyers may also benefit from highlighting the individual stories of their clients, distinguishing them as unique individuals with concerns, problems and close relationships.

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