Monday, June 19, 2017

Caught Driving Without a License? How to Get a Maryland License Without Immigration Papers

Charges for driving without a license are one of the most common issues new immigrants to the United States face. Many recent arrivals don't realize that a license from their home country does not operate as a valid driver's license in the United States. At Portner & Shure, we help our clients fight these charges. If you've been charged with driving without a license in Maryland, the best thing you can do in your defense is to get a valid license. Since 2013, Maryland law has provided a pathway for individuals without proof of legal residency in the United States to obtain a driver's license. Here's how:


  1. File and pay Maryland income taxes for two full years before applying. Then obtain a certification letter from the Comptroller  of Maryland to prove it. If you've already paid two years of taxes, you can request the letter here: http://taxes.marylandtaxes.com/Individual_Taxes/Individual_Tax_Types/Income_Tax/Obtain_MVA_Tax_Certifications/ 
  2. Make sure your passport is current and valid. If you do not have a valid passport, other official ID may be sufficient, however, an unexpired passport is your safest option.
  3. Obtain two separate forms of proof of residency in Maryland. These documents can be in the form of a residential lease, a phone or utility bill, or a bank statement.
  4. Study the Maryland Drivers Manual, which you can find here in English: http://www.mva.maryland.gov/drivers/maryland-drivers-manual.htm and in Spanish: http://www.mva.maryland.gov/drivers/rookie-driver/tutorial/tutorial-intro.html 
  5. Schedule your written test and driving exam with the MVA
Don't get caught driving without a valid driver's license in Maryland and make sure you follow those steps above to get a Maryland driver's license. If you've been charged with driving without a license in Maryland, call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Portner & Shure today for a free consultation: (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515. 


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What is the Importance of a Criminal Defense Attorney in Bel Air?

If you've been charged with a criminal or serious traffic offense in Bel Air, you may be asking yourself if it is necessary to hire an attorney. Harford County judges are known for handing down some of the harshest criminal and traffic sentences in Maryland. So, when you are facing serious criminal or traffic charges in Bel Air, do you want to risk going before a judge in Harford County without an experienced defense attorney standing next to you? Are you willing to risk jail time?

The tough on crime atmosphere in Harford County and the severe penalties that often get imposed shows why it is necessary to retain a top-rated local defense attorney. Your attorney can aggressively negotiate with the State's Attorney on your behalf to get the best result possible. Oftentimes, having your attorney discuss your case with State's Attorney can make the difference between jail time and no jail time.

Portner & Shure criminal defense attorneys are in the Harford County courthouses every week. Our attorneys are your advocates. We will never just accept the State's first offer, and if negotiations do not result in a favorable outcome, we never hesitate to take the case to trial.

We understand the serious consequences you are facing and we will stop at nothing to get you the best result possible. If you've been arrested for criminal or traffic charges in Bel Air, call Portner & Shure's criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation: (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What are the Penalties for Theft Offenses in Maryland?

Theft penalties are broken down based on the value of the goods stolen. The higher the value, the more severe the penalty.

A person convicted of theft of property or services with a value of:

(1)   Less than $100 will be found guilty of a misdemeanor and can face up to 90 days imprisonment or up to a $500 fine, or both, and must restore the property taken to the owner or pay the owner the value of the property or services
(2)   Less than $1,000 will be found guilty of misdemeanor and can face up to 18 months imprisonment or up to a $500 fine, or both, and must restore the property taken to the owner or pay the owner the value of the property or services
(3)   At least $1,000 but less than $10,000 will be found guilty of a felony and can face up to 10 years imprisonment or up to a $10,000 fine, or both, and must restore the property taken to the owner or pay the owner the value of the property or services
(4)   At least $10,000 but less than $100,000 will be found guilty of a felony and can face up to 15 years imprisonment or up to a $15,000 fine, or both, and must restore the property taken to the owner or pay the owner the value of the property or services

(5)   $100,000 or more will be found guilty of a felony and can face up to 25 years imprisonment or up to a $25,000 fine, or both, and must restore the property taken to the owner or pay the owner the value of the property or services

       If you have been charged with a theft offense in Maryland, call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Portner & Shure today for a free consultation: (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

What to do if you are Charged with a DUI in Ocean City this Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend is quickly approaching and that means police officers in Ocean City are gearing up for DUI patrols. Memorial Day signifies the unofficial start of the summer season and many people use that as an excuse to "go crazy." Ocean City is a beach town full of bars and restaurants where it is very easy to drink alcohol in excess. Places like Seacrets are common places where people go to drink a lot of alcohol. With a lot of drinking comes an increased risk of people drinking and driving.

Ocean City is a common vacation destination for local Marylanders. That means that many people choose to drive to the beach. Instead of being forced to Uber, Lyft, or take a taxi, people will just drive their own car. DUI are very common in Ocean City throughout the summer season. A DUI charge in Ocean City is taken very serious and local judges do not take drinking and driving offenses lightly, especially because the area sees a large volume of DUI cases from tourists.

It is very beneficial to hire an experienced DUI attorney in Ocean City to represent you and help you try to avoid the maximum penalties, which include up to 1 year in jail and fines for a first offense. Portner & Shure is recognized as a Top 10 DUI law firm in Maryland, and our attorneys have represented countless DUI offenders in Worcester County.

If you've been charged with a DUI in Ocean City this Memorial Day Weekend, call the experienced DUI attorneys at Portner & Shure today for a free consultation: (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Marijuana Laws in Maryland: Do You Know Everything?

It has been a few years now since Maryland decriminalized marijuana, and most people in the state are aware of that. The law states that you will be charged with a civil citation if found to possess less than 10 grams of marijuana. There are no longer criminal charges associated with possession of small amounts of marijuana. However, the law is not as simple as it may sound.

There are some variations in punishments and fines associated with possession of marijuana. The simple rule that everyone knows (i.e. possession of less than 10 grams results in a civil citation) only applies to people over 21. Anyone caught possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana will be required to appear in court where a judge is likely to require a drug diversion or education program to be completed. Another variation in the law applies to subsequent offenders. Anyone who previously had been cited 2 other times for possession under 10 grams will be required to appear in court if caught possessing less than 10 grams for a third time.

A first offense for possession of less than 10 grams results in a $100 fine. A second offense carries a $250 fine. A third offense carries a $500 fine.

Drug offense laws vary state to state and they can often be very confusing. If you have been charged with a drug offense in Baltimore, call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Portner & Shure today for a free consultation: (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515.


Monday, May 1, 2017

What to do if you are Charged with DUI while on Vacation in Ocean City

Every year, thousands of Marylanders and people from other states head to Ocean City for a beach vacation. And inevitably, some of these visitors make the decision to drive drunk and they are subsequently arrested for a DUI. The summer months in Ocean City are the busiest times at the beach and that means the police presence is at its peak. Ocean City Police officers monitor Coastal Highway at all hours of the day looking for drunk drivers.

If you are caught by police driving drunk in Ocean City, you should take it very seriously because there are strict penalties that you will face. Being charged with a serious crime like DUI in a location far from your home is very inconvenient and can cause a lot more problems than just a headache. Depending on the facts of your specific case, you could be facing jail time. Judges in Ocean City courts see vacationers come before them in the court room frequently and they usually do not look favorably on an out-of-towner committed a serious offense.

If you've been charged with a DUI in Ocean City while on vacation, call the TOP 10 DUI lawyers at Portner & Shure. We are a local law firm that not only has an office in Ocean City to meet with clients, but we have offices throughout Maryland. You should have an aggressive defense attorney fighting for you in court in order to limit the most severe consequences.

Call Portner & Shure today for a free DUI consultation.


Monday, April 24, 2017

How Do I Get an ID if I was Charged with DUI and Lost my Driver’s License?

In Maryland, when you are stopped by police and charged with a DUI, the officer will confiscate your Maryland driver's license (out-of-state licenses cannot be confiscated by Maryland police). In return, the officer will give you a temporary paper license that allows you to continue driving for 45 days. On the 46th day after your arrest, your license is suspended and you can longer drive for several months However, during that 45 day period, depending on if you took the breath test and your results of that test, you may be able to request a MVA hearing within the first 30 days or have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle within the first 30 days of the arrest.

During these various periods, you are without any form of identification, and people often ask us what they are supposed to do if they are asked for ID. The easiest answer is to go to the MVA to purchase an ID card. Just because you lost your driver's license does not mean that you are not allowed to obtain an ID. For some people, you may be ineligible to request a MVA hearing for a restricted driver's license and you may elect not to install the interlock device in your vehicle. In that case, you would be facing a very lengthy suspension of either 180 days or 270 days. You would likely need a form of identification during that period, so it is recommended that you obtain an ID card from the MVA.

DUI offenses can ruin your life. If you're caught drinking and driving, you are subject to serious consequences. If you've been arrested for a DUI in Maryland, call the TOP-10 DUI lawyers at Portner & Shure today for a free consultation: (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515.