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

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

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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.