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Upper Marlboro Criminal Defense Law Blog

Gang member sentenced to 30 years in prison

A Maryland man was recently sentenced to three decades in federal prison after being convicted of various crimes, including racketeering and drug conspiracy. He is reportedly a member of Baltimore's "Murdaland Mafia Piru" which has a history of violence.

According to court documents, the defendant, a 25-year-old Baltimore resident, tried to kill two people on behalf of MMP on May 30, 2015. Apparently, he used an assault rifle to fire approximately nine rounds at the victims' car as it was stopped at a traffic light. One of the victims was grazed by a bullet, and both individuals were injured by shattered glass.

The rippling effects of arrest and conviction

Some Maryland residents may have seen firsthand the effect that increased incarceration rates can have on a community. Although the incarceration rate in the United States has diminished slightly in recent years, there is no country on the planet that has an incarceration rate as high as the United States.

This has is led to some people questioning why arrest rates have increased in the United States although crime rates have been consistently dropping. For example, only 6.4% of Americans born prior to 1949 have ever been arrested. However, 23% of Americans born between the years of 1979 and 1988 have been arrested. This means that Americans who are currently between the ages of 26 and 35 are 3.6 times more likely to have been arrested by time they reach the age of 26 than Americans who are currently 66 years of age and older.

Tougher laws and harsher sentences for DUIs in MD

In most surveys of DUI laws, Maryland ranks low. When comparing laws, penalties and enforcement of drunk driving legislation, safety advocates place this state near the bottom. While this may seem like a free pass to those who get behind the wheel after a night of drinking, that assessment is not entirely true. The penalties for any drunk driving conviction can be life-changing, creating burdens to carry for years into the future.

Nonetheless, it seems Maryland is ready to fight its reputation for being lenient on drunk drivers. With the state's annual rate of nearly 200 deaths related to drunk driving accidents, safety advocates continue to fight for tougher laws and penalties. Earlier this month, lawmakers strengthened statewide drunk driving laws, making it more difficult for those who drink and drive to escape with minor penalties.

New drug initiative cracks down on fentanyl crimes

A Maryland man who had been previously convicted of dealing heroin and fentanyl was sentenced by a United States district judge to nine years in prison. The man is one of the first to be sentenced under a new federal-state initiative in Maryland, which aims to stop the fentanyl crisis.

In April 2018, police pulled the man over after observing him drift between lanes and fail to use a signal when turning. Police said they smelled marijuana when talking with the man and initiated a search of the vehicle. Officers found 49 grams of fentanyl, over $4,000 in cash and a drug ledger that listed the names and dates of people who allegedly purchased drugs. The man was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and conspiracy to distribute fentanyl.

What do drug charges mean for the rest of your college career?

Facing criminal charges can be frightening and overwhelming, especially for a Maryland college student with his or her whole life ahead. Drug charges on college campuses are serious, and they jeopardize your education and future opportunities. If you are facing legal complications as a result of drug possession or other drug-related offenses, you will want to know what to do next. 

Whether it is your first offense or you have a criminal record already, your future is worth protecting. Even a seemingly minor offense can have devastating consequences on your long-term interests, and it's prudent to work diligently to avoid a conviction and keep your record clear. With the right help, you can fight these charges and preserve your future.

Multiple states pass legislation regarding jailhouse informants

Prosecutors say that jailhouse informants are a prime source of accurate information that can hold people accountable for the crimes they have committed. However, groups such as the Innocence Project say that the information they provide may not necessarily be credible. Individuals who are in prison in Maryland or elsewhere may receive lighter sentences or other perks for providing what they know. This could create a conflict of interest as an individual could simply tell prosecutors what they want to hear.

A law in Connecticut would keep track of such informants and any benefits that they have received from prosecutors in exchange for their testimony. Connecticut's legislation is the only state requiring that this information be tracked on a statewide level. The law would also require a pretrial hearing to determine if the testimony should be heard at all. In Illinois, similar legislation was passed that would require a judge to determine how credible an informant's testimony was before a trial began.

Traffic stop in Maryland leads to gun and drug seizure

A routine traffic stop on the morning of Sept. 9 led to the discovery of marijuana and two loaded handguns according to a report from the Maryland State Police. A 23-year-old man, a 20-year-old man and a 17-year-old teen were taken into custody in connection with the guns and drugs. The 23-year-old man has been charged with drug possession and drug possession with the intent to distribute. The 20-year-old man faces misdemeanor theft and weapons counts. The teen, who is being charged as an adult, has been charged with possessing drugs and a firearm.

The sequence of events began when an MSP trooper pulled a vehicle over on Great Mills Road in St. Mary's County at approximately 9:46 a.m. for an undisclosed traffic violation. The drugs and guns were allegedly discovered during a probable cause search of the vehicle. However, initial media reports do not reveal what led the trooper to believe that the car contained evidence of ongoing criminal activity.

Man pleads guilty to drug distribution charges

On Sept. 4, a former Maryland resident pleaded guilty to multiple drug charges for transporting large amounts of marijuana into the state from 2003 until June 2009. He is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 8.

According to media reports, the 43-year-old defendant and a group of co-conspirators created a fake company to transport hundreds of pounds of marijuana from California to warehouses in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Once the drugs arrived, they were distributed to local dealers and sold to consumers. Proceeds ranging from $100,000 to $1 million were then transported back to California to pay for more drugs.

Protecting your right to a fair trial

You may already be aware that the law gives you the right to a fair trial when you are facing criminal charges. Perhaps you even know that this right stems from the Constitution of the United States. Maybe you remember this from your school days, or you saw it on TV. Perhaps you experienced it in your previous encounters with the criminal justice system.

However, do you understand what it means to receive a fair trial? In fact, the Constitution does not actually use the words "fair trial," yet the guarantees it makes for those facing prosecution provide a framework for fairness. Unfortunately, you may have to fight for these rights.

Maryland narcotics investigation leads to search and arrest

A narcotics investigation conducted by several Maryland law enforcement agencies led to the search of a Frostburg residence and the arrest of a 38-year-old man on Aug. 27. The Philadelphia resident has been charged with possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute and possession of oxycodone pills with the intent to distribute. He was ordered to be held without bond when he was arraigned on Aug. 28 and is being held at the Allegany County Detention Center.

The investigation was launched to combat the distribution of fentanyl, heroin and crack cocaine in the Allegany County region. Initial reports do not reveal what led officers with the Allegany County Narcotics Task Force to suspect that the man was using a home on National Highway to store and distribute controlled substances.

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