Law Offices of Thomas C. Mooney - Criminal Defense
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January 2019 Archives

Alternative sentencing can reduce recidivism rates

The FIRST STEP Act, which President Trump signed into law in December 2018, was lauded by civil rights advocates in Maryland and around the country as a meaningful step toward a more equitable criminal justice system. The law offers relief to federal prisoners who were convicted of nonviolent offenses, but the overwhelming majority of the nation's inmates are held in state rather than federal detention facilities.

Ruling may point to greater protections for suspects' phones

Many criminal defense lawyers in Maryland and across the country have counseled their clients to use alphanumeric passcodes or passwords for their mobile devices. As people come to depend on their mobile devices for all aspects of their daily lives and communications, they may also be concerned about the potential for them to be opened by law enforcement without their consent. In the past, multiple courts have ruled that police cannot force people to disclose their mobile phone passcodes. This is considered to violate the constitutional right against forced self-incrimination.

Misdemeanor convictions could result in long-term consequences

Most criminal defendants in Maryland will face misdemeanor charges. Although convictions on misdemeanors will not result in penalties as harsh as those for felony convictions, the long-term results could limit people's chances for employment as well as access to student loans or government benefits.

Maryland couple facing drug charges after apartment search

A narcotics investigation lasting several months led to the arrests of a 38-year-old Salisbury man and his 23-year-old girlfriend, according to police and prosecutors in Maryland. The couple was taken into custody without incident during the early morning hours of Dec. 15 when two apartments the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office believed were being used to sell drugs were searched by deputies. Media reports suggest that the apartments had been under observation by members of the WCSO Criminal Investigation Division for some time.

Is shoplifting that serious?

Shoplifting is not just a prank or a dare you may have tried as a kid. Retail business owners lose millions of dollars a year to this form of theft. This does not include the amount of money shops and stores must budget for security measures such as cameras, electronic tags, additional staff training and security guards. Because of this, retailers are more likely to seek charges against anyone they believe has committed this offense.

It would be better to get help than get incarcerated

Addictive substances such as alcohol and many drugs can wreak havoc on an individual. For many people, it begins as a way to self-medicate or results from medication prescribed after an injury. Few people set out to become addicted to any substance, but once it happens, it often takes over their lives.

What to know about underage drinking in Maryland

Maryland law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from consuming alcohol. It also bars individuals under the age of 21 from possessing alcoholic beverages. However, there are several exceptions to these laws. For instance, a minor may drink alcohol at home as long as a family member over the age of 21 is there to supervise. Minors may also consume alcohol as part of a religious ceremony.

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