Monday, May 14, 2018

Contact an Attorney Before Paying your Traffic Fine


Many traffic tickets can be prepaid following the instructions on the paper ticket given to you by the police officer.

Beware! When you prepay a traffic ticket your driving record will show that you are guilty of the offense listed on the ticket.

Prepaying a ticket is basically telling the court you’re guilty and you’d rather pay then spend the time and effort to fight the ticket. Paying the fine isn’t the end of your experience.

Your car insurance rate may go up when the insurance company makes an annual check of your driving record. Besides fines, many traffic offenses come with points on your driving record. 

If you get enough points the DMV in VA or the MVA in MD WILL suspend your license.

A good lawyer, familiar with the Maryland and Virginia motor vehicle codes, can help you reduce points, fines, and provide some complete defenses to a traffic ticket. The money you spend on a lawyer on the front end should save you from spending more on insurance premiums later.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Can the Police Still Search Your Car in Maryland Now that Possession is Only a Civil Offense?

Smelling marijuana in a vehicle has long been a standard justification used by the police to search the vehicle without a warrant. Now that possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana in Maryland is a civil offense carrying a mere $100 fine, the continued use of the scent of marijuana as probable cause to search a vehicle was recently challenged by attorneys in front of the Court of Appeals.
The Court decided that decriminalization is not the same as legality, therefore the police can still search your vehicle based on the scent of marijuana. If you’ve been charged with an offense after a police search of your vehicle, there may still be defenses available to you.  You need Portner & Shure for representation.


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.