Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Prince George’s County Auto Accident Lawyers: Deadly Collision Caused by Drunk Driver

          Last Thursday, a 20 year old college student tragically died in a head-on collision on Route 202 near Old Largo Road in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  The victim was a prominent student leader at Morgan State University studying business.  Police determined that the driver of a Cadillac lost control of his vehicle and crossed over the center line into oncoming traffic.  This led to a violent collision with another vehicle on the other side of the road, instantly killing the other driver.  The driver in the Cadillac only suffered minor injuries.  After investigating the accident further, police determined that alcohol played a role in this crash and the driver of the Cadillac is likely to face DUI charges.
            
          With the holidays around the corner, this is certainly an even more difficult time for the victim’s family and friends.  Driving deaths caused by drunk drivers are the worst type of fatal accident because they can easily be avoided.  In a majority of DUI-related accidents, the drunk driver escapes with minor injuries, while an innocent person loses their life.  You are entitled to compensation in fatal accident cases caused by drunk drivers.  It is very important to hire an experienced law firm to help you through the difficult process and get you the compensation you deserve. Maryland police will be on high alert for drunk drivers this holiday season, especially as we approach New Years.

             
          If you or a family member has been injured or killed in an accident caused by the fault or negligence of a drunk driver and would like to consult an experienced Maryland auto accident attorney for free, contact us at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Greenbelt or throughout Maryland or visit us online at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Auto-Accidents/Car-Accidents/Fatal-Car-Accidents.shtml

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney, Mistrial Declared in Freddie Gray Case

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Judge Barry Williams of the Baltimore City Circuit Court has declared a mistrial in the Freddie Gray case after the jury in the trial of William Porter deadlocked Wednesday.  Porter is one of six Baltimore City Police officers facing charges after detainee Freddie Gray suffered a spinal cord injury while in police custody in April, which led to his death days later.  Porter was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.  The Baltimore City State’s Attorney chose to try Officer Porter first as he is a material witness in the trials of the other five officers.  If the other trials took place before Officer Porter’s trial, he would be able to plead the fifth and refuse to testify in the trials of the other officers.

The jury was unable to agree on any of the four charges on which they deliberated in Porter’s case.  In Maryland, a verdict in a criminal case must be unanimous.  If even one juror disagrees with the majority’s opinion, the jury will be considered deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared.  The Office of the State’s Attorney will decide whether it will retry Officer Porter or simply move on with the remaining cases.  If the State’s Attorney decides to retry Officer Porter, the other trials may have to be postponed awaiting a resolution.  As of now, the next trial set to go forward is that of Officer Cesar Goodson, scheduled for January 6, 2016.  Officer Goodson was the driver of the van in which Freddie Gray was detained, and he faces the most serious charges of all the officers involved, including second-degree “depraved heart” murder.

Unlike most criminal cases, the charges against the officers involved in the Gray case require proof that the officers failed to do something, in this case, obtain medical attention for Gray, and that the failure to act amounts to a criminal omission.   Proving a crime of omission is notoriously difficult, and many are not surprised that the jury was unable to come to a unanimous decision on the charges facing Officer Porter.  When news of Gray’s death reached the public in April, the City of Baltimore erupted in protests, some of which became violent.  Baltimore’s Police Commissioner has canceled all leave for officers through the end of the week as the city stands on alert pending further developments.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rockville DUI Lawyer, Police Officer Killed by Drunk Driver

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A Montgomery County Police Officer was killed earlier this month when he was struck by a drunk driver.  Officer Noah Leotta, 24, was struck while performing a traffic stop during holiday alcohol task force enforcement.  Montgomery County Police Chief, Thomas Manger, delivered a powerful speech after Officer Leotta’s death, stating that the residents of Montgomery County had “lost a great cop,” who was “dedicated to public service.” 

This tragedy has sparked a renewed conversation about Maryland’s current laws and penalties for driving under the influence, especially for repeat offenders.  Manger stated that the drunk driver involved in this case had been arrested twice before for drunk driving and had also been previously convicted for drug possession.  Manger decried Maryland’s DUI laws, stating that, “the state of Maryland has some of the weakest penalties for drunk drivers.”  Manger further stated that there would be little chance of justice for victims of drunk drivers “until the state of Maryland starts taking these crimes seriously.”

In Maryland, the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.  First time offenders are eligible for probation before judgment, which is not a conviction, and carries no points for drivers’ license purposes.  Maryland law does not provide for any mandatory jail time for first offenders or for subsequent offenders.  Repeat DUI offenders face the same maximum penalties as a first time offender and it is completely within the judge’s discretion to impose jail time, or not.

By contrast, Virginia has enacted especially harsh penalties for individuals convicted of driving under the influence.   If a defendant’s blood alcohol content is .15 or above, Virginia law imposes a mandatory minimum of five days in jail.  A second offense carries a 20 day mandatory minimum in Virginia.  A third offense carries 90 days.  Virginia civil law also provides enhanced protections for injured victims of drunk drivers in the form of eligibility for punitive damages in personal injury cases where the defendant’s BAC was above .15.  Maryland law carries no such protection.

If you, a family member or someone you know has been convicted of DUI or DWI or if you would like more information on drunk driving, please do not hesitate to call us at 410-995-1515 for a free consultation.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Rockville DUI Attorney: Drunk Driver Hits Police Officer

          
Visit On The Web at www.portnerandshure.com

 
Last Thursday night, 24 year old Officer Noah Leotta of the Montgomery County Police Department was in the midst of a traffic stop on Rockville Pike near Edmonston Drive as part of a Holiday Alcohol Task Force.  All of a sudden, Officer Leotta was struck and severely injured by a drunk driver who hit the police vehicle and then hit the officer with extreme force.  The drunk driver who hit Officer Leotta remained at the scene after the horrific accident.  He has been charged with DUI among other more serious charges as well.  Officer Leotta was a University of Maryland Graduate and has been a police officer for less than 5 years.  He usually is assigned to patrol the Wheaton area of Montgomery County, however, with the holiday season in full swing, he was reassigned to the alcohol task force.  Montgomery County Police Captain has said that Officer Leotta’s passion was “policing,” and specifically, “enforcing driving under the influence laws.”
            
The dangers of drinking and driving cannot be stated enough.  There are so many drunk driving occurrences on the roads, and those numbers increase during the holiday season with holiday parties and other events going on.  Police across the state always step up their DUI patrols in December up through New Year’s, which accounts for the most drunk driving related citations and arrests.
            
Drivers should always be cautious when driving by police officers conducting traffic stops on the sides of roads.  Police are urging drivers to give extra space to police who are conducting traffic stops and asking drivers to move over one lane to avoid any kind of accident involving a police officer being hit on the shoulder. 

Remember that if you are attending a holiday party this month, there are numerous options for people to get transportation without driving drunk.  However, if you make the irresponsible decision to drink and drive and you are pulled over and charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 and schedule an appointment at our office in Rockville or throughout our many Maryland offices.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Frederick, Maryland DUI: Recent Case Result November 2015

               Recently, Portner & Shure attorney, Christina Ruhl, obtained an excellent result for one of our DUI clients in Maryland.  Our client was charged with three alcohol related offenses—driving under the influence of alcohol per se, driving under the influence of alcohol, and driving while impaired by alcohol.  Our client was also charged with reckless driving, negligent driving, and failure to display lighted lamps.  The maximum penalties for our client’s charges were 1 year in jail and over $1,700.00 in possible fines.  Ms. Ruhl negotiated a plea bargain for the least serious alcohol offense, driving while impaired, and the least serious moving violation, failure to display lighted lamps.  The negligent driving and reckless driving charges were dropped by the prosecutor.  The Judge granted our client a probation before judgment on the DWI offense with 1 year unsupervised probation without any special conditions.  Fines were limited to only $175.00.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Devastating Deadly 3-Car Crash in Pasadena Halloween Night

           Saturday night, around 10:30pm, three cars in the area of Solley Road and Chestnut Springs Lane were involved in a fatal collision.  One car was heading south on Solley Road at an excessive speed, and as the driver made the turn around a sharp curve, they crossed over the center line.  Another car was driving north on Solley Road, and was struck head-on by the first car.  The first car flipped over as a result of the force of the crash.  A third car, which was travelling behind the second car, was sideswiped by the speeding first car and ended up hitting a tree.  The drivers of the first two vehicles were sadly killed instantly on impact.  A total of eight passengers between the three vehicles were seriously injured.  One passenger in the first car and four passengers in the second car were all taken to shock trauma.
           
           During investigations, police detected an odor of alcohol at the scene, but do not yet know the exact role it played in the accident.  It is likely that one of the drivers was under the influence of alcohol, and that, combined with speeding, likely contributed to the accident.  The second and third cars were filled with teenagers, aged 17-21.  If autopsy reports of the two drivers reveal alcohol in their system, it is a shame that two people had to lose their lives and eight others had to suffer extremely serious injuries because one person made the decision to drive drunk.

Drunk driving related deaths are the worst kind of accident-related death because someone makes an irresponsible decision to drive drunk and then an innocent life is taken away because of that.   Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident is devastating for any family, especially when it could have been prevented.  No amount of money will ever replace losing that person.  In a wrongful death case, the law allows for surviving estates to collect a financial recovery when a negligent party is held liable for the cause of the death.  Compensation for damages can include: loss of services, loss of future income, mental anguish, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and punitive damages.

            
            If you or a family member has been injured or killed in an accident caused by the fault or negligence of a drunk driver and would like to consult an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney for free, contact us at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Glen Burnie or throughout Maryland or visit us online at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Auto-Accidents/Car-Accidents/Fatal-Car-Accidents.shtml

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Right to an Interpreter when Stopped by Police for DUI in Maryland

             When you are pulled over by police for any offense, especially serious offenses such as DUI/DWI, you have every right to ask for an interpreter.  When you are pulled over, a normal reaction is to be nervous and afraid, and if English is not your first language, you might be confused by many words that the police officer uses and on the forms that you are asked to sign.  If you request an interpreter and one is not provided, that is grounds to have the charges against you dismissed.  In fact, just this morning I was in court with a Chinese client who did not understand many of the complex legal terms related to a DUI case.  Police never provided an interpreter until reaching the police station, and at that point there were connection issues with the interpreter on the telephone.  The connection was lost and instead of reestablishing the connection, police gave up and continued with charging the client and marking off the breathalyzer form as a refusal.  The client never had the interpreter translate the meaning of the form and the consequences that come with refusing a breath test.  As a result, I was able to successfully argue that those charges should be dismissed.

              If you or a family member has been charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 and schedule an appointment at our office in Baltimore or throughout Maryland, or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/ 

Maryland’s New Criminal Expungement Laws that are in Effect as of October 1st

            As of October 1st, there are new laws in place that give Marylanders the ability to expunge certain charges from their record, as well as shielding certain misdemeanor convictions from the public (SB0651).  The biggest downside before this law took effect was that when employers checked a potential employee’s background, they could see all prior charges and convictions against that person, including things that were dismissed or granted probation.  Further, many of these offenses are very minor, but because they show up on a background check, a potential employer is more likely to not hire the person as an employee.  “An expansion of the expungement law in Maryland is certainly a welcomed change,” as Portner & Shure attorney Jonathan Portner states.  Over the last ten years, as expungement laws have slowly expanded, the number of requests for expungements has more than doubled.  For example, the Baltimore Sun article states that “more than 73,000 cases were dropped by the state in Maryland District Courts in 2014,” and for all those people, these charges show up on their records.  As of October 1st, these people can now submit an expungement request and have these charges removed from their record so that potential employers cannot see them anymore. 
            
            Some other interesting aspects of these new laws passed include expungements for things that are no longer a crime (i.e. possession of a small amount of marijuana) and shielding convictions for certain misdemeanor crimes (i.e. disorderly conduct, prostitution, and trespassing).  An important thing to remember for the shielding of certain misdemeanors is that police officers can still view these charges when running a background check.  Mr. Portner adds, “This is a great law that has been passed because it is not fair for people to be denied jobs because of something on their record that is no longer a crime.”


A general rule to keep in mind regarding expungements is that if charges against you have been stetted, nolle prossed, held to be not guilty, or dismissed, then it is likely that you can have those charges removed from your record.  For many Marylanders who are seeking a job, they are denied many opportunities because charges appear on their record.  Employers do not care whether or not those charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty; all that matters to them is that charges appear under your name and they do not want to hire anybody with a record.  Maryland lawmakers have known that this a problem, and as many states across the country have started moving in the direction of expunging records of charges that have been dismissed, they wanted to follow suit.  In thinking about the future, Mr. Portner said, “I wonder how many people actually know about this new law and how many people will actually go through with requesting an expungement.”

Friday, October 9, 2015

Avoid a DUI Arrest During Baltimore Beer Week 2015

            In just a few hours, Baltimore Beer Week 2015 will kick off events all over the city.  Spanning from October 9th through the 18th, there will be hundreds of events from Federal Hill to Canton to Fells Point to Mount Vernon and also into Baltimore, Howard, and Harford Counties.  Events include free beer tastings, discounted beer prices, bar crawls, and beer festivals.
            
           Thousands of people will be attending events over the next several days, with the most popular event being Das Oktoberfest, which is tomorrow in the M & T Bank Stadium parking lot.  Large-scale drinking events like this one often lead to people driving under the influence of alcohol.  Weather this weekend is expected to be perfect, which could also increase the number of people who plan to attend beer events.  There are so many means of transportation to get around nowadays that it is amazing how many people still choose to drive drunk and put their lives and the lives of others at risk.  Police officers are likely to increase DUI patrols this weekend and next week as there are numerous Beer Week events going on.

If you have been arrested for a DUI/DWI it is important that you consult an experienced Maryland DUI attorney immediately because DUI is a criminal offense and carries potentially severe penalties.  An experienced attorney can guide you through the court process and find any possible defenses that can either mitigate the penalties in the case, or in some instances, lead to an acquittal or dismissal.

If you or a family member has been charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 and schedule an appointment at our office in Baltimore or throughout Maryland, or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/


Monday, October 5, 2015

Maryland State Trooper Hit by Impaired Driver Near the Bay Bridge

           Last night, several drivers called the police and reported a driver who was weaving across lanes and driving extremely slow.  When police arrived, they found the driver exhibiting behavior of someone under the influence of alcohol or another controlled dangerous substance.  State police tried to get the driver, a 23 year old resident of Baltimore County, to stop his vehicle, but it was to no avail.  The police officer first tried driving next to the impaired driver’s car to tell him to pull over immediately.  When that failed to work, the officer tried driving in front of the car to get him to stop that way.  As the officer made his maneuver, the impaired driver crashed into the side of the state trooper vehicle and flipped his own vehicle on its side.  This finally brought the impaired driver to rest so that police could arrest him.
           
           In addition to the impaired driver, there was another passenger in the car who was also impaired.  No major injuries were reported in the crash, and luckily, no innocent bystanders were injured either.  Police have charged the driver with driving under the influence, assault, and reckless endangerment.  It is unknown at this time whether the driver was under the influence of alcohol or some other substance.

If you have been arrested for a DUI/DWI it is important that you consult an experienced Maryland DUI attorney immediately because DUI is a criminal offense and carries potentially severe penalties.  An experienced attorney can guide you through the court process and find any possible defenses that can either mitigate the penalties in the case, or in some instances, lead to an acquittal or dismissal.


If you or a family member has been charged with DUI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at our office in Annapolis or one of our many other offices located throughout Maryland or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Starting October 1st, Stiffer Penalties in MD for Drunk Drivers Involved in Fatal Accidents

             The new law, which was signed by Governor Hogan last spring, will take effect starting tomorrow, October 1st.    There are stark differences in penalties depending on if you are a first-time DUI offender or someone with a previous DUI offense.  For a first offender that blows between a 0.08 and 0.14 for their Breathalyzer test and involved in a fatal accident, at a minimum, your driver’s license will be taken away for 6 months.  When the BAC is 0.15 or higher, the driver’s license is automatically suspended for one year.  Most importantly, someone with prior drunk-driving related offenses who is caught by police for a DUI/DWI, and as a result is involved in a fatal accident, will lose their driver’s license forever.
            
            This new law was passed unanimously by Maryland’s General Assembly, which clearly shows how important it is to lawmakers to decrease the number of drunk drivers on Maryland’s roadways.  There are far too many drunk drivers on the roads who also contribute to fatal accidents involving innocent people.  Further, there are also far too many repeat DUI offenders who get back on the roads and drink and drive again.  Maryland’s lawmakers clearly believed that current penalties in place were not strict enough.  As a result, anyone with a previous drunk driving offense should never drive drunk again because they are putting their ability to drive ever again at risk.

           
             If you or a family member has been charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 and schedule an appointment at our office in Silver Spring or throughout Maryland, or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ex-Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter that Resulted from Drunk Driving

           Yesterday, Ex-Bishop Heather Cook, who you will remember hit and killed a biker in Roland Park while she was driving drunk and then fled the scene, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, drunken driving, texting while driving, and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.  Cook’s blood alcohol concentration that tested after the accident was nearly three-times the legal limit.  As a result of these events, it was discovered that this was not the first time she was in trouble for drinking and driving.  In 2010, Cook was convicted of a DUI on the Eastern Shore, but nobody was hurt in that incident.  Unfortunately, this time she struck and killed a 41 year old husband and father of two young children.

            The plea deal asks the Judge to sentence Cook to a maximum of 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended, which the State recommended.  In addition, there would be 5 years of probation included in the plea deal.  A Baltimore City Circuit Court judge will sentence Cook on October 27, 2015.  It is interesting to note that Cook originally pleaded not guilty during her preliminary hearing in April.

            This case is a perfect example of the horrific consequences of drinking and driving for both the offender and any victim injured or killed as a result.  An arrest for a DUI alone carries severe penalties, but a DUI combined with a manslaughter charge, that means you are driving drunk and kill somebody, carries extremely serious consequences, including jail time.

If you or a family member has been charged with DUI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at our office in Baltimore or one of our many other offices located throughout Maryland or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/


Friday, August 28, 2015

Maryland DUI Crash Victim Looks to Strengthen DUI Laws in the State

           A Hagerstown, Maryland man, Gary Clever, was a passenger in his daughter’s car one year ago when a drunk driver slammed into their car on Sterling Road.  Everyone in the vehicle was injured, but Gary suffered the worst.  Immediately after the accident, it was believed by many that he was paralyzed.  Sadly, he was indeed paralyzed from chest down with spinal injuries, staying in shock trauma for over two months and a rehabilitation hospital for 11 weeks.  Gary’s insurance stopped paying for the rehab treatment, and now he uses a therapy bike every day to continue improving.  Now, he has slowly regained movement in the paralyzed areas.
            
          As a result of everything Gary has gone through since the horrific accident, he and his wife, Deanna, have been trying to raise awareness about the state’s unfair drunk driving laws.  Their goal is to have Maryland lawmakers make DUI laws tougher for offenders.  For example, the man involved in this crash had already pleaded guilty to two DUI charges in 2004, yet he was still allowed to drive on Maryland’s roadways.  Current Maryland law requires minimum insurance coverage of $30,000 if you have a previous DUI charge.  That amount of money does not come close to covering medical bills and other expenses related to injuries sustained in a DUI car accident.  Gary believes DUI offenders should face higher financial penalties and be forced to carry more insurance if allowed to get back on the road again.  Fortunately, Gary should be allowed to return home in a month.  It will certainly be interesting to see what happens when Maryland’s legislators return back for Session in January 2016.  If any progress is made concerning DUI legislation, we will surely keep everyone updated.

           
          If you or a family member has been injured or killed in an accident caused by the fault or negligence of a drunk driver and would like to consult an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney for free, contact us at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Rockville or throughout Maryland or visit us online at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Auto-Accidents/Car-Accidents/Fatal-Car-Accidents.shtml

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Maryland Drunk Driver Hits Police Car Injuring Officer

            Monday night, a police officer was parked on the side of the road after pulling over another vehicle.  While the officer was sitting in his police vehicle, a Toyota 4 Runner came crashing into the back of the police car on Matchbox Alley, which then hit the car in front of it.  Initial investigations revealed that the driver of the 4 Runner was driving under the influence of alcohol.  The police officer and the drunk driver were both transported to the hospital with minor injuries.  Charges are now pending against the drunk driver as police finish conducting their investigation of the accident.
            
           Every day Marylanders are driving drunk on roadways and highways statewide.  In fact, a recent study showed that every 30 minutes, a drunk driver is being arrested in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, which includes Maryland.  There are far too many people on the roads driving drunk for police officers to be able to arrest every single one of them.  Drivers must make smart decisions when they are drinking, but those two things do not work well together.  All it takes is one DUI arrest to potentially cause you to face significant consequences and penalties.  Just make the smart decision if you are drinking and need a ride home to call an Uber, Lyft, or a taxi.  The risks of choosing to drive drunk far outweigh the benefits.  A drunk driver not only puts their own life in danger, but more importantly, he or she puts the lives of innocent people in danger too.

If you have been arrested for a DUI/DWI it is important that you consult an experienced Maryland DUI attorney immediately because DUI is a criminal offense and carries potentially severe penalties.  An experienced attorney can guide you through the court process and find any possible defenses that can either mitigate the penalties in the case, or in some instances, lead to an acquittal or dismissal.


If you or a family member has been charged with DUI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at our office in Columbia or one of our many other offices located throughout Maryland or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Head-On Crash Kills 1, Injures 5, Alcohol Believed to be a Factor

           Last night, an SUV with three occupants was driving on Darnestown Road near Germantown, and a car was also driving on the same road, but on the other side of the center line.  The SUV crossed the center line as it approached a curve in the road and it struck the front of the car.  The entire front end of the car was heavily damaged with all of the airbags deployed.  The SUV then left the road and crashed into a tree.  Two occupants from the SUV were thrown from the vehicle, and one of these passengers later died at the hospital.  The driver of the SUV was not thrown from the vehicle and suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.  The three occupants in the car suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  Montgomery County Police believe that alcohol was a factor in the crash, but are still investigating other possible causes.

If police do determine that alcohol was the cause for this fatal head-on collision, it would make this crash even more tragic.  Fatal car accidents that are attributed to drunk drivers happen far too often in Maryland.  The state’s Department of Transportation has a goal of zero deaths on Maryland’s roadways, and they continue to work tirelessly to improve the roads and make them safer for drivers.  Drunk driving related deaths are the worst kind of accident-related death because someone makes an irresponsible decision to drive drunk and then an innocent life is taken away because of that.   Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident is devastating for any family, especially when it could have been prevented.  No amount of money will ever replace losing that person.  In a wrongful death case, the law allows for surviving estates to collect a financial recovery when a negligent party is held liable for the cause of the death.  Compensation for damages can include: loss of services, loss of future income, mental anguish, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and punitive damages.

            
           If you or a family member has been injured or killed in an accident caused by the fault or negligence of a drunk driver and would like to consult an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney for free, contact us at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Rockville or throughout Maryland or visit us online at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Auto-Accidents/Car-Accidents/Fatal-Car-Accidents.shtml

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

DUI Driver Hits and Kills Woman Changing Tire on the Side of Suitland Parkway

           Overnight, a drunk driver in a pick-up truck sideswiped a woman who was on the side of the road changing a tire.  The drunk driver kept driving after hitting the woman and then plowed into another car down the parkway.  This incident occurred on Suitland Parkway near Stanton Road at the Maryland/Washington, D.C. border.  Sadly, the woman who was changing her tire did not survive the accident.  The driver who was also hit by the drunk driver in the pick-up truck was not seriously injured.  The condition of the drunk driver is unknown, but he was arrested and charged with second degree murder, DUI, and leaving the scene of an accident.
            
           Drunk driving never results in a good outcome for anyone.  Unfortunately, oftentimes it is an innocent person that is seriously injured or killed as a result of somebody making an irresponsible decision to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking.  Even though many drivers believe they are safe on the side of the road, they are still at risk for being hit by another driver, especially if you are pulled over on the side of a highway.  When cars are travelling at high speeds on a highway, it is much easier for someone to lose control of their vehicle.  If you must pull onto the shoulder, it is always recommended to put your hazards on as well as your lights so that you are visible to other drivers.  In addition, if you must step outside of your vehicle, you should have some kind of safety vest or something to alert passing drivers that a person is standing on the side of the road.  There is likely nothing the driver who was changing her tire could have done to prevent being hit by a drunk driver because a person’s coordination is significantly compromised by the alcohol and the driver likely would have never seen the hazard lights or reflective safety vest worn by the woman.


If you or a family member has been injured or killed by a drunk driver and would like to consult an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney for free, contact our office at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Greenbelt or throughout Maryland or visit us online at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Personal-Injury/

Thursday, July 9, 2015

UMD, College Park Can Sell Alcohol at Sporting Events Starting in the Fall

            Recently, the University of Maryland, College Park approved a one year trial for selling alcohol at events at Byrd Stadium and the Xfinity Center.  Last night, the Prince George’s County Liquor Board approved a plan to allow alcohol to be sold at events held at the school’s football stadium and basketball arena.  For this trial period, only beer will be sold at events, but if it is successful, wine could be added for sale as well.
            
           The University hopes this new plan will provide extra revenue for the school to use on student services and that it will help curb binge drinking at sporting events.  For example, West Virginia University has sold alcohol at football games since 2011 and has profited over $2 million, and alcohol-related incidents have decreased since selling alcohol began.  When sales begin in the fall at football games, there will be a one drink per transaction rule in place.  In addition, alcohol will not be sold near student sections and scanning devices will be used to check IDs so as to avoid underage students from obtaining alcohol.  Another safety measure the school is working on is a designated driver program to curb any DUI incidents.  With beer being sold at football games in the fall and basketball games in the winter, everyone needs to be reminded of the severe consequences of drinking and driving.  Maryland police will be increasing DUI patrols after sporting events in College Park to curb the number of drunk drivers on the roads in the area.
            
           Driving drunk is never an option no matter the situation.  If you are driving and plan to drink alcohol, you must make a plan for getting home safely without driving yourself.  It is always good to arrange for having a designated driver if you plan on drinking at UMD sporting events.  If that is not feasible, services such as Uber and Lyft are readily available and very easy to use.  And if those services are not feasible either, a taxi is always another safe option when you are drunk and cannot drive.


If you or a family member has been charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 and schedule an appointment at our office in Greenbelt or throughout Maryland, or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Man Posing as a Police Officer Pulls Driver Over for DWI


            On July 4, a tall white man with brown hair and a mustache pulled over a vehicle and accused the driver for driving while impaired (DWI).  This fake Anne Arundel County police officer was driving a white Ford Crown Victoria with flashing red and blue lights, a police package spotlight, and a decal on the driver’s door that read “Police.”  This man identified himself as an Anne Arundel County police officer.  This “officer” had the driver blow into a breathalyzer device and had the driver walk in a straight line.  The “officer” then told the driver she was free to go, and then he sped off northbound on Route 97.  Police are still looking for this man impersonating a police officer.  Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to come forward to police.
          
         Last year, there were several people impersonating police officers in Maryland.  In 2015, there have not been as many people impersonating police officers in Maryland.  Someone who is caught impersonating an officer could face jail time and/or a substantial fine.
           
        If you are driving in the Anne Arundel County area be cautious and vigilant if you are pulled over by a police officer in an unmarked car.  Always check to make sure the police officer has proper identification if you are pulled over.

        If you or a family member has been charged with DUI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at our office in Columbia or one of our many other offices located throughout Maryland or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fatal Potomac Accident Involving Teenagers and Underage Drinking

           Late Thursday night, two Wooton High School students who just graduated last month, were tragically killed in a car crash on Dufief Mill Road in Potomac, Maryland.  The two teens that lost their lives in the accident, Alexander Murk and Calvin Jia-Xing Li, were in the car with Samuel Ellis, who was driving.  Ellis, the star quarterback for Wooton, was injured in the crash and remains in critical condition.  A fourth passenger was also injured in the crash, but only suffered minor injuries.
            
          Police have been investigating this accident for days now and are still trying to figure out how these teens obtained alcohol and if any adults are at fault for supplying alcohol to minors.  Police believe the teens were at a party where underage drinking took place and then the boys got into the car and drove away.  Ellis lost control of the car and Murk and Li, who were not wearing seatbelts, died in the crash.  Police did come to the party and cited eight teenagers for underage drinking.
            
          Underage drinking occurs on a daily basis and sadly, many of these underage teens get behind the wheel of a car, putting their life and the lives of others at risk for serious injury or death.  Adding insult to injury, many teenagers fail to wear a seatbelt in the car, which drastically increases the chances of serious injury or death when involved in an accident.  The only thing we can do is continue to warn teens about the effects of drinking and driving and not wearing a seatbelt.  Parents are in the best position to educate their teenagers about these things and to set certain rules to try and prevent alcohol-related accidents as best they can.
            
          AAA recently released results from a study which show more than half of all crashes involving teen drivers are caused by distractions.  Some of the most common distractions include texting while driving and other passengers in the car.  When alcohol and driving is combined with several passengers in a vehicle, a serious car accident is likely to occur.  Distractions on their own cause numerous accidents on the road, but when the driver is also driving under the influence of alcohol, the likelihood of a crash increases dramatically. 

          If you or a family member has been arrested for a DUI in Rockville, Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on drunk driving cases please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 and schedule an appointment at our office in Rockville or throughout Maryland, or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/

Monday, June 22, 2015

Car Drives Off B-W Parkway Ramp in Greenbelt, Driver Arrested for DUI

           Early this morning, a woman drove her car off the northbound Greenbelt Road ramp on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.  After d riving off the ramp, the car crashed into a wooded area full of trees.  Police arrived after the accident and observed the driver stumbling as she walked.  As a result, police administered a sobriety test, which she failed.  The woman was then arrested for DUI.  Luckily, there were no injuries associated with this crash.
            
            There are drunk drivers on the road every day, yet it is impossible for police officers to catch every single one of them.  Unfortunately, a majority of drunk drivers are not caught and are therefore never penalized for driving under the influence of alcohol.  Oftentimes, the drunk driver crashes into another vehicle or into a pedestrian, causing severe injuries to an innocent person. 

Fatal car accidents that are attributed to drunk drivers happen far too often in Maryland.  The state’s Department of Transportation has a goal of zero deaths on Maryland’s roadways, and they continue to work tirelessly to improve the roads and make them safer for drivers.  Drunk driving related deaths are the worst kind of accident-related death because someone makes an irresponsible decision to drive drunk and then an innocent life is taken away because of that.   Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident is devastating for any family, especially when it could have been prevented.  No amount of money will ever replace losing that person.  In a wrongful death case, the law allows for surviving estates to collect a financial recovery when a negligent party is held liable for the cause of the death.  Compensation for damages can include: loss of services, loss of future income, mental anguish, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and punitive damages.

            
            If you or a family member has been injured or killed in an accident caused by the fault or negligence of a drunk driver and would like to consult an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney for free, contact us at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Greenbelt or throughout Maryland or visit us online at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Auto-Accidents/Car-Accidents/Fatal-Car-Accidents.shtml

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Maryland State Police Trying to Combat Drunk Driving

          Over the weekend, Maryland State Police arrested 80 drivers for drunk driving.  Numerous Maryland drivers continue to make the irresponsible decision to drive a car after consuming alcohol.  Yes, it is the easiest option, but it is also the most dangerous.

            One of the worst offenders arrested over the weekend was Felix Mateo, who was stopped twice by police for driving under the influence in the same night.  The first time, Mateo was stopped by police with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) more than twice the legal limit, and the police released him to his wife.  Later that night, police find Mateo driving on the road again exemplifying reckless behavior, crossing the center line, hitting curbs, and swerving into another car’s lane.  Officers pull him over once again.  Mateo’s BAC was still more than twice the legal limit.  He was charged with DUI twice.

            Another reckless drunk driver arrested over the weekend was caught driving 94mph in a 55mph zone and had his 9 year old in the car with him.  This driver was also arrested and charged with DUI, among other offenses.

            Driving drunk is never an option no matter the situation.  If you are driving and plan to drink alcohol, you must make a plan for getting home safely without driving yourself.  It is always good to arrange for having a designated driver.  If that is not feasible, driver services such as Uber and Lyft are readily available and very easy to use.  And if those services are not feasible either, a traditional taxi is always a safe option when you are drunk and cannot drive.

            The number of drunk drivers arrested every weekend in Maryland is too high, and remember those are only the few that are caught by police.  There are hundreds, if not thousands more that are not caught driving drunk.  There is no excuse for putting innocent people at risk.

             If you or a family member has been charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 and schedule an appointment at our office in Silver Spring or throughout Maryland, or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/

Friday, June 12, 2015

Interlock Devices May Be a Nuisance, But Are Very Advantageous

         Maryland, as well as 20 other states, mandate use of ignition interlock devices for first time DUI offenders.  While many believe that the ignition interlock device is very strict punishment for a first-time offender, several studies have shown that people convicted of DUI have driven while impaired by alcohol numerous times before being arrested even once.  Interlock devices are installed to be connected to your car in a way that prohibits any driving if the machine detects any alcohol.  Most devices also require the driver to blow into it additional times while operating the car, which is known as a “rolling retest.”

            When studies are conducted comparing states that have laws requiring interlock devices to be used after a first DUI offense to states that do not require interlock devices for a first offense, it shows that the advantages of an interlock surpass any potential drawbacks to the program.  Drivers with devices installed in their cars were less likely of having another alcohol-related offense.  In addition, most drivers remained DUI free for a longer period even after the device is removed.  Drunk driving has been a serious problem for several years and continues to be a problem today.  While thousands of drivers are caught by police, thousands more get away with drinking and driving, and oftentimes injure or kill an innocent person.  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that more than 10,000 people die every year from accidents attributed to drunk drivers.

            If you do get caught drinking and driving tomorrow and are charged with DUI, call our attorneys for a free consultation.  Our Maryland DUI attorneys handle drunk driving-related cases every day.  If you have been arrested for a DUI/DWI it is important that you consult an experienced DUI attorney immediately because DUI is a criminal offense and carries potentially severe penalties.  An experienced attorney can guide you through the court process and find any possible defenses that can either mitigate the penalties in the case, or in some instances, lead to an acquittal or dismissal. 

             If you or a family member has been charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 and schedule an appointment at our office in Columbia or throughout Maryland, or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/

Friday, May 15, 2015

Don’t Drink and Drive: Strict DUI Enforcement Likely for Preakness Day

           Tickets for this year’s 140th running of the Preakness are already sold out.  After last year’s record attendance of more than 123,000 people, it is expected that this year’s attendance will be close to that number.  For many people who attend Preakness, it is one big party with an excuse to drink a lot of beer, Black Eyed Susans, or any other type of alcoholic beverage for an entire day.  Many people even start consuming alcohol early in the morning on Preakness Saturday and do not stop until after the race is finished.  The worst decision a person could make is to get in their car and drive home.  Unfortunately, there will always be some people that choose to do that and someone could lose their life because of it.  If you are attending this year’s Preakness, plan ahead and arrange for a designated driver, an Uber, a Lyft, or a cab to take you home after the race.  Because of the excessive amount of alcohol that will be consumed at Preakness, police are sure to be extra cautious and increase patrols to catch those driving under the influence.  Be smart and do not drink and drive.
            If you do get caught drinking and driving tomorrow and are charged with DUI, call our attorneys for a free consultation.  Our Maryland DUI attorneys handle drunk driving-related cases every day and have achieved numerous favorable outcomes for clients.  If you have been arrested for a DUI/DWI it is important that you consult an experienced DUI attorney immediately because DUI is a criminal offense and carries potentially severe penalties.  An experienced attorney can guide you through the court process and find any possible defenses that can either mitigate the penalties in the case, or in some instances, lead to an acquittal or dismissal. 

             If you or a family member has been charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 and schedule an appointment at our office in Baltimore or throughout Maryland, or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Drunk Driver Kills Another in Head-On Crash Near La Plata and Waldorf


           A 20 year old volunteer firefighter was killed in a devastating head-on collision last night on Route 425 near Tim’s Lane in La Plata, Maryland.  According to Police, alcohol was a factor in the accident for the other driver.  The victim had been a member of the Nanjemoy Volunteer Fire Department for the last five years.

            After investigating the accident, Police determined that a Chevrolet Silverado truck driven by a 23 year old man was heading north on Route 425, but was not driving in a straight line nor staying in a single lane.  As the victim was driving south on Route 425, the truck collided head-on into the victim’s car.  As a result, the victim’s car was thrown off the road into a field, while the truck stayed on the roadway.  The victim died at the scene and the truck driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries. 

            According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), current data shows there have been 141 drunk driving fatalities in Maryland, which is actually down 13.5% from the prior year.  Last year, legislators strengthened the interlock device laws requiring their use by anyone convicted of drunk driving with a child passenger in the car.  MADD hopes that in 2015, the legislators pass a law requiring ignition interlock devices be used by all drivers who are convicted of drinking and driving with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08.

            Drunk driving fatalities are one of the most preventable types of deadly accidents that occur on the roadways.  A driver avoids this problem by simply not driving if he or she has been drinking alcohol.  There are so many alternative methods of transportation nowadays so that people should never feel the need to have to drive themselves home after drinking.

If you or a family member has been injured or killed by a drunk driver in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on personal injury cases please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 and schedule an appointment at our office in Greenbelt or throughout Maryland, or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Personal-Injury/