Friday, December 2, 2016

Harsh Penalties for CDL Drivers Charged with DUI in Maryland

·         A DUI charge is a major disruption in anyone’s life, but if you drive a commercial vehicle for a living, a DUI conviction can prevent you from being able to earn an income.
·         In addition to having your regular driver’s license suspended for a minimum of six months, CDL drivers convicted of DUI face an automatic suspension of their CDL for an entire year.
·         There are NO exceptions to this rule, not even if you receive a probation before judgment or PBJ.
·         If you have a CDL, you need an attorney who is willing to fight to preserve your ability to earn a living.

·         If you've been charged with DUI and you hold a commercial driver's license, call Portner & Shure today for a free consultation, (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Immigrants Beware in Harford County— Immigration Status of Everyone in Custody Will be Checked

Harford County has partnered with ICE for their controversial program that allows local law enforcement to check the immigration status of everyone it takes into custody.  This program is already in place in about 15 other local jurisdictions nationwide. If you are here illegally and are arrested for a crime or serious traffic offense in Harford County, police officers will run your name through the ICE system. Previously, only immigrants who are convicted of a crime or serious traffic offense risked having their name sent to ICE. Now, there is a much greater risk of being deported in Harford County if you are arrested for a criminal or traffic offense. If you’ve been charged with a crime or traffic offense in Harford County, call Portner & Shure today for a free consultation.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Immigrants Beware in Harford County— Immigration Status of Everyone in Custody Will be Checked

  ·         Harford County has partnered with ICE for their controversial program that allows local law               enforcement to check the immigration status of everyone it takes into custody

  ·         If you are here illegally and are arrested for a crime or serious traffic offense in Harford County,         police officers will run your name through the ICE system

  ·         Previously, only immigrants who are convicted of a crime or serious traffic offense risked having       their name sent to ICE

  ·         Now, there is a much greater risk in Harford County


  ·         If you’ve been charged with a crime, call us today for a free consultation (301) 854-9000

Monday, October 24, 2016

Don’t Wait to Hire a Defense Attorney for your Case in Maryland

   ·         We have several criminal clients who call us the day before trial seeking representation for their           case
   ·         Don’t wait until the last minute to hire a defense attorney in your case because the longer you wait,    the more difficult it is for your attorney to craft a strong defense. Defending against criminal or            traffic charges is a process and not something that can or should be done in a 24 hour period.
   ·         Your chances of a favorable result in your case are more likely if you hire an attorney immediately       after you are charged with a crime or receive a ticket for a serious traffic offense because your             attorney can request discovery and discuss your case with the State’s Attorney
   ·         Time is also important for traffic citations because they have a short period of time for you to either     pay a fine or request a hearing. If you wait until the day before trial to worry about your charges,         you most likely have missed the deadline required to either pay your fine or request a hearing.

   ·         If you are facing criminal charges or a traffic ticket, don’t delay and call Portner & Shure today for    a free consultation 

Monday, October 10, 2016

DUI in Maryland – How Your BAC Will Affect Your Case

In any DUI case, your BAC is the biggest determining factor in the severity of consequences you will face. The only way for the police to obtain your BAC is to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test. If you refuse, the consequences are even more severe because the police have no way of knowing how drunk you actually were, and the assumption is made that you were well over the legal limit.
You can be charged with a drinking and driving offense in Maryland with a blood alcohol content as low as 0.04, however, if your BAC reading is 0.04 or 0.05, will be entitled to a presumption under the law that your driving abilities were not impaired. At a 0.06 or 0.07 there is no presumption and you can be convicted of DWI if the State can prove through your driving behavior or field sobriety tests that you were impaired. At a 0.08 or above, you are automatically considered intoxicated. 
If you refuse the breath test or provide an insufficient sample, you can still be convicted of dui based on your driving behavior and field sobriety tests.  If you knowingly refused the test, this can also be used against you in court as proof that you refused the test because you knew you were intoxicated. 

If you’ve been charged with DUI, there may be defenses to your case regardless of your BAC. Contact Portner & Shure’s criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Planning to Drive Drunk in Maryland—Beware of Harsh New Consequences

   Starting October 1st, if you are convicted of a DUI, you will be required to install an Ignition Interlock device in your vehicle. Maryland is now catching up to other states with stricter drunk driving laws. DUI cases are always serious no matter what state you are in, but prior to October 1st, if you were arrested for DUI in Maryland, you were fairly lucky because the consequences were not very severe.  However, now the consequences are much more severe.  For instance, license suspension periods have been increased significantly —first offense with BAC 0.08-0.14=180 days; BAC 0.15 or more=180 days; Refusal=270 days.
   Again,  before October 1st, anyone convicted of their first DUI in Maryland was not required to have an ignition interlock installed in their vehicle, and in many cases, with good legal representation, these drivers only received a “slap on the wrist.” Now it is more important than ever to hire an attorney if you are arrested for DUI in Maryland because it is more important than ever to avoid being convicted for your DUI.
     If you have been arrested for DUI in Maryland, visit us online at www.portnerandshure.com or call us today at (410) 995-1515 or (301) 854-9000.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

PBJ for First Time DUI in Bel Air? – Don’t Take it for Granted

Throughout Maryland, every county treats DUI cases a little bit differently in terms of how they punish them.  Harford County is one of the toughest counties in Maryland if you’re facing criminal charges, and it is no different for drinking and driving cases. Compared to other counties in the State, Harford County prosecutors offer some of the least attractive plea deals and the judges tend to order harsher sentences, even for first time offenders. Other counties, such as Prince George’s County, make it very easy to automatically get a PBJ by simply paying a fine.

While first time DUI offenders are eligible for a PBJ, assuming that you will get one in Harford County is a huge mistake.  While it is always important to hire an attorney for your DUI case, it is even more important to make sure you hire an experienced DUI attorney for a Harford County case if you want to have a chance at a PBJ.  Don’t get stuck taking a mediocre offer because you retained an attorney who didn’t fight to get you the best result. Unlike a lot of other attorneys, our lawyers aren’t afraid to go to trial and will leverage the strengths in your case to get the best possible result for you.

Litigation News September 2016

This month, our attorneys achieved an outstanding result in a DUI trial in Montgomery County. Our client was charged with DUI(a)(1) and DUI(b)(1), failure to stop at a stop sign and failure to obey a properly placed traffic control device.  The State's initial officer was to plead to a DWI and failure to stop at a stop sign, and there was no opposition to a PBJ.  The Prosecutor insisted that our client should get a point on his license for the stop sign.  The State's best evidence against our client was his admission that he had alcohol prior to driving, which was made through a Korean officer interpreting to the arresting officer.  The State did not produce the Korean officer for trial, which our attorney, Ms. Ruhl, insisted on before agreeing to a plea.  The State was forced to nol pros the drinking charges and our client walked away with a simple stop sign violation.  Our client will have the DUI charges expunged from his record.   

Friday, August 19, 2016

How to Get Released from Jail As Quickly As Possible

You’re in jail. You’re alone. You’re worried. What do you do?  Oftentimes, the first thoughts of every arrestee are immediate release. The most common path to release is making bail.
Bail can take the form of cash, a bond, or property given to the court by the arrestee. This is an assurance to the court that the arrestee will return to the court when ordered to do so. The amount of your bail depends on the severity of the crime, as well as your risk of flight, and is subject to a judge’s discretion to take into account aggravating or mitigating factors.

While there are many release options, the most common are:

1) Cash or Check in Full Amount: This occurs when the arrestee is able to pay the entire bail in full.

2) Surety Bond/Bail Bond: This is used when the arrestee is unable to pay in bail in full. The process begins with contacting a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman then promises to pay the full value of the bond if the arrestee doesn’t appear for his court date. In return for these services, the bail bondsman will charge a premium, usually 10% of the bail.

3) Own Recognizance: Sometimes an arrestee may be released on his own recognizance, meaning, he is responsible for showing up for his court dates. These are usually given to those charged with minor, nonviolent crimes and where the defendant is not considered dangerous or a flight risk, meaning, one who has a high likelihood of fleeing.

4) Citation Release: These are usually given to less-serious offenders. An officer will give the arrestee a citation telling the arrestee that he must appear at the indicated court date. In this case, there is no booking procedure and depends on the arrestee’s voluntary return to court.

5) Property: A defendant may sometimes be able to use property as a bond if the court gets a lien on the property in the amount of the bail. Thus, if the arrestee doesn’t show up for his court date, the court forecloses on the property to recover the price of bail.


If you are unsure of how to get released from jail as quickly as possible, contact a local Maryland defense lawyer for advice today at (301) 854-9000.

5 Things to Look For Before Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer

The law is often a terrifying thing. No one is thrilled that they need to hire a lawyer. However, accidents happen and mistakes are made, and being prepared beforehand is the best possible way to reduce your anxiety in a time of crisis.

Finding the right lawyer to represent you, whether it be for DUI charges, assault, or a speeding ticket violation, is of the utmost importance. This individual is going to be the one responsible for your future, and therefore you want to make sure to choose wisely.
We have taken the time to answer five common questions.

1. What is your consultation process?
We offer a free consultation process. We are available via telephone, email, and livechat, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additionally, we can talk with you in whatever language you prefer. We have staff members fluent in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.

2. Do you have testimonials available? How do I know your reputation?
Our fundamental source of new clients is client referrals. We take pride in our results. We have a five star rating on Google Plus and Facebook. We have a level ten rating on AVVO.
 Many of our clients write statements about their experience with our firm and we urge you to read them. This information is the best way to get a sense of our work, commitment to our clients, and results.

3. What is your experience?                                 
You want a lawyer with experience in your PARTICULAR kind of case. Our litigation team lives, works, and studies, in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. We are local lawyers with National recognition for our trial advocacy. Mr. Portner, our managing partner, has been recognized by the multi-million dollar advocacy forum for his success in the courtroom. He is also a distinguished Top One Hundred National Trial Lawyer.

4. How will they expect to bill you?
We are very open and forthcoming about our billing process. In terms of our criminal defense fee, we traditionally bill a flat fee. This depends on the charge, location, and amount of preparation necessary.

5. How will you communicate with us?

We are always available. You can reach out to us on Facebook, email, or phone. We take pride in our responsiveness and communication. We have an experienced litigation team that will keep you updated on every step of your case and what we are doing for you. 

If you have been charged with a crime in Maryland, call us today for a free consultation at (301) 854-9000.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Can an undocumented Immigrant file a claim for Personal Injuries?


 Undocumented immigrants can file a claim just like everyone else.

There is no rule that states illegal immigrant cannot receive compensation for their loss.
If you have suffered a motor vehicle accident or a work related injury don’t be afraid to seek the medical attention you need. You may be entitled to compensation.


Here at Portner & Shure we fight for each of our clients, regardless of their legal status. 
We will handle the insurance companies for you and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Monday, July 25, 2016

July Employee Spotlight

We are elated to welcome our new legal intern Rachel. She began her internship in the middle of May and is enthralled to be here.
Rachel graduated this past spring from East Carolina University with a major in criminal justice and a minor in security studies. 
She is still deciding on whether she wants to attend law school or not, but until then she has decided to stay with us.

During her internship she has been assisting our paralegal staff and helping with marketing needs. We are thrilled to have her part of our team. MO
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How Being the “Cool Parent” May Cost You A Lot Of Money

There are many parents who let their underage children, and friends, host parties, with alcohol present, and in Maryland these “cool” parents now run the risk of being SUED. This past week, Maryland’s highest court ruled that parents are held liable if they know underage drinking is happening in their house and an underage drinker gets hurt OR hurts someone else.

Usually the law mandates that only the individual themselves whether they are drunk or sober, are to be held responsible for their own conduct. But, an underage person consuming alcohol on an adult’s property with the adult’s complicity, is now being considered as an entirely different story.
This change was intended to be a deterrent from adults giving alcohol to minors.

The term “complicit” is a key aspect of this definition. This prohibits adults from “knowingly and willfully” letting drinking occur. In addition, parents are liable if they KNOW underage drinking is happening in their house. Thus, parents whose children sneak into their home with alcohol would likely not be held responsible in court.

“Underage persons are not solely responsible for drinking alcohol on an adult’s property because they are not competent to handle the effects of this potentially dangerous substance.” Judge Sally D. Adkins wrote.

This is being hailed as a “groundbreaking” step, as activists believe that this ruling will help dissuade adults from providing alcohol to minors.

Many parents believe that they are keeping their children safer by letting them drink at home where adults can watch over them, but this is not always the case.

Children die each and EVERY day in impaired driving crashes caused by underage drinkers

The Court of Appeals recognized what many have long known, “individuals that are underage lack the judgement and competence to decide whether to drink.” Parents who are home during the party can face a civil lawsuit or even criminal charges. On top of this, the parent may be ordered to pay the medical bills and other damages suffered by the teen and anyone else involved in the accident. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Impaired Driving to Spike This Fourth of July Weekend and MD State Police Are Ready


This year, Independence Day falls on the last day of a long weekend.  This has Maryland State Police predicting a sharp increase in the number of impaired drivers on the road this Fourth of July weekend, which is already one of the most traveled weekends of the summer.  The SPIDRE program, which stands for State Police Impaired Driving Effort, will be targeting drunk drivers at strategic locations based on prior DUI arrests and crash data.  Jim Ports, Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation indicated in a press release that "the SPIDRE team and other police agencies will be out in full force over the holiday weekend, which has the potential to be a deadly weekend."

The National Safety Council has estimated that at least 460 fatalities nationwide could occur as a result of impaired driving this Fourth of July Weekend.  This is the highest prediction in the last eight years.  Lt. Col. Anthony Satchell of the Maryland State Police Field Operations Division has remarked that "Drunk driving can be avoided by making alternate plans."  Be sure to plan ahead this holiday weekend, and if you're on the road, keep an eye out for drunk drivers.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Impaired Driving to Spike This Fourth of July Weekend and MD State Police Are Ready

This year, Independence Day falls on the last day of a long weekend.  This has Maryland State Police predicting a sharp increase in the number of impaired drivers on the road this Fourth of July weekend, which is already one of the most traveled weekends of the summer.  The SPIDRE program, which stands for State Police Impaired Driving Effort, will be targeting drunk drivers at strategic locations based on prior DUI arrests and crash data.  Jim Ports, Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation indicated in a press release that "the SPIDRE team and other police agencies will be out in full force over the holiday weekend, which has the potential to be a deadly weekend."

The National Safety Council has estimated that at least 460 fatalities nationwide could occur as a result of impaired driving this Fourth of July Weekend.  This is the highest prediction in the last eight years.  Lt. Col. Anthony Satchell of the Maryland State Police Field Operations Division has remarked that "Drunk driving can be avoided by making alternate plans."  Be sure to plan ahead this holiday weekend, and if you're on the road, keep an eye out for drunk drivers.

If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with DUI or DWI, contact us today at 410-995-1515 to speak with a top rated DUI attorney for a free consultation.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Served With A Protective Order - What You Need To Know


You need to get an attorney immediately.  If you've been served with a Temporary Protective Order, your court date on the Final Protective Order is going to be exactly seven days from the date the Temporary Order was issued.  If you don't have an attorney with you, you may have to go forward without one, or the Temporary Order against you will have to be extended while you get a new court date and find an attorney.  This could mean extending the period of time you have to stay away from your own home if you share it with the petitioner (person requesting the order). 

Going forward without an attorney is extremely risky.  The consequences of having a Protective Order entered against you are serious.  If a judge finds that you committed an act of abuse or put the petitioner in fear of imminent serious bodily harm, the judge can order you out of your home, to have no contact with the petitioner, to stay away from their place of work, and to surrender your personal firearms to the sheriff, all for an entire year.  In some cases, the judge can even make decisions regarding contact with your children.

If there are assault charges connected to the events that led to the protective order, it's even more important that you get an attorney to protect your rights.  Anything you say in your defense during the hearing on the protective order can be used against you at trial on the assault charges.  An attorney can help you decide whether it's in your best interest to testify or to remain silent.  In some cases, an attorney can help you win your case without you having to say a word. 

 If you or someone you know has been issued a protective order and would like representation at your hearing, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 410-995-1515 for a free consultation.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Where's Your Warrant Warden?


                Being pulled over is unsettling for anyone, especially when you are told they’re going to search your vehicle. Even if you have nothing to hide, the officer is not allowed to do that, and you are allowed to tell them so. Many officers will act like they have the right to search your vehicle, but they legally cannot do that without your consent or a legitimate warrant. A legitimate warrant is one that is obtained from a judge by a specific officer. For a warrant, the police officer must establish with the judge that they have a probable cause to search your property. Only with this warrant do they have permission. The warrant must state the premises of the search, what initiated the search (their probable cause), and who the search is against. Once again, the search must be done by the officer who requested the warrant. Also the search must be completed and the warrant has to be returned to the judge ten days after the document has been issued.
               
               Some officers will try to use intimidation tactics to try to influence your consent. If the officer does this be sure to tell your attorney, any evidence obtained through aggressive measures may be dismissed in the courtroom. Also if the officer decided to search your car after you told them they are not allowed, make sure you tell your attorney because that evidence may also be excluded from the trial. To put it quite simply, do not consent to a search.

                If you or a family member have been charged with a crime in the state of Maryland and would like a free consultation, or if you would like more information on search and seizure please feel free to contact our office at (410) 995-1515 and schedule an appointment at one of our various Maryland locations, or visit our webpage at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Maryland-Criminal-Defense/


Monday, June 6, 2016

Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in Maryland?

There are many myths and confusions over DUI checkpoints, also known as "roadblocks."
Let's clear a few things up.

1. In Maryland, like most states, DUI checkpoints are allowed. They are LEGAL.
Many are confused because the Constitution requires that polices officers have "probable cause" for pulling someone over. However, the Supreme Court ruled that the dangers of drunk driving outweigh the "intrusion" of these checkpoints.

2. Maryland does have requirements for LEGAL roadblocks.

The roadblocks must be (1) systematic, non-discriminatory, non-arbitrary
(2) Intended to ensure public safety
(3) Publicized ahead of time to lower fear of driver
(4) Drivers MUST be given an alternative route to turn around if they do not wish to be stopped
(5) The road block must be approved/ monitored by high ranking police officials

If you are stopped at a DUI road block in Maryland and it does not make these legal requirements, the evidence obtained from this stop may be thrown out.

You need an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer to defend and protect you. Contact Portner & Shure, P.A. today at (410) 995-1515 for a free case evaluation.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Texting and Driving in Maryland?

In the state of Maryland, it is illegal to text and drive. However, laws seem to have proven ineffective in solving the problem of distracted driving. Road fatalities increased, approximately 8% in 2015.

What does this mean? Legislators are trying to change this modern behavior- many state officials are pushing to treat distracted driving similarly to drunk driving!  So- what does this mean? If you snapchat and drive- you better watch out for the Textalyzer.

This technology would allow police officers a device that is similar to a Breathalyzer- it could determine whether a driver had used the phone to text, email, or do anything else that is forbidden under hands-free laws, like those in Maryland. This type of legislation seems unlikely for a few major reasons:

1. Privacy concerns.   At the moment, the police can obtain a warrant for cellphone records. However, this process is time consuming and often fruitless.  This type of legislation would allow police to seize phones without real justification or warrant. This would pose a threat to many of the liberties of American citizens.

2. Changing the meaning of implied consent. In the state of Maryland, when drivers obtain a license, they are consenting in ADVANCE to a Breathalyzer test. If they refuse this test, they face the consequences of a suspended license.  Legislators are trying to correlate implied consent of one test to a wholly different other.  An individual's civil liberties must be protected.  On the contrary, Deborah Hersman, the president of the nonprofit National Safety Council, said the Textalyzer-Breathalyzer comparison was logical because "why are we making a distinction between a substance you consume and one that consumes you?"

If you have been charged with DUI, drunk driving or distracted driving, call today to speak to an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer at (410)-995-1515.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Drinking on the Beach in Ocean City Maryland?

As we all begin to head to the beach, we should take note of the laws surrounding drinking on the beach.

Open containers of alcohol in public in Ocean City Maryland are illegal.  Ocean City Ordinances prohibit drinking alcoholic beverages on any "street, avenue, alleyway, sidewalk, beach, parking lot and vehicle in any of those areas."  The exception is within the few hotels that offer bars/restaurants on the beach.

Side Note: Grilling is also illegal. As is, sleeping on the beach after 10 p.m!

If you are caught with an open container of alcohol this offense can lead to an arrest.  Ocean City Police believe that being strict on this policy will "change the mentality" of beachgoers.  This local ordinance gives police officers the ability to arrest people caught drinking outside In the state of Maryland, public drinking is considered a misdemeanor. This type of offense incurs a fine of up to $100, up to 90 days in jail, and sometimes both.

Many believe this  tourism, ambiance, and the overall atmosphere of this beautiful beach. On the contrary, others believe this is a necessary step for law enforcement, after increases in alcohol violations throughout Ocean City.

If you are arrested in Ocean City Maryland- Contact Portner & Shure, P.A. (410)-995-1515

Monday, May 23, 2016

Noah’s Law Signed into Law by Governor Hogan, Will Take Effect October 1st

           Noah’s Law is new DUI legislation that was aptly named for Officer Noah Leotta, who was tragically killed by a drunk driver while initiating a traffic stop.  It was later revealed that the man who struck and killed Officer Leotta had several prior dui arrests, yet was still able to drive.  Governor Hogan, last Thursday, officially signed this bill into law.

Maryland’s DUI laws are known to be quite lenient, especially for first time offenders.  Many states have moved in the direction of requiring ignition interlock devices for all DUI offenders.  There is no such requirement in Maryland.  Currently, if a driver refuses the chemical breath test or takes the test and the BAC is 0.15 or more, the only option the driver has if he or she wants to continue driving is to participate in the ignition interlock program for a one year period.

Noah’s Law will become law starting October 1, 2016, and any person arrested for DUI on or after that date will be subject to stricter penalties, including participation in the ignition interlock program.  First time offenders and subsequent offenders will all be required to install an interlock device in their car in order to continue driving.  “I was proud to strongly support Noah’s Law, and I want to thank everyone involved who helped get it passed,” said Governor Hogan.  Lawmakers are hoping that with this new law that drivers in the future will think twice about driving drunk so as to avoid facing much more severe penalties.


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 Laurel or throughout Maryland, or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/  

Friday, May 13, 2016

Portner & Shure Named 2016 American Institute’s Top 10 DUI Law Firm in Maryland

We are honored to have been named a Top 10 DUI/DWI attorney for 2016 based on our success in defending our Maryland clients in drunk driving cases.  For more than 20 years, our team of experienced attorneys has been working tirelessly to achieve the best outcome possible for our DUI/DWI clients.  Drunk driving cases are taken very seriously by the Courts, therefore, in order to get a favorable result for a client, defense arguments need to be skillfully crafted.


American Institute’s DUI/DWI Division looks for Attorneys that have achieved unparalleled success, but most importantly have done so for the benefit of their client. Very few Attorneys can do so and our organization recognizes this significant achievement.

If you or a family member has been charged with an alcohol-related offense in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on these types of offenses 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/ 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Maryland DUI Attorney: Driving Within 12 Hours of a DUI Arrest is Against the Law

               In Maryland, there is a law related to DUI/DWI arrests that is often forgotten.  In many cases, people had no idea that a law existed that forbid them from driving within 12 hours of a DUI/DWI arrest.  In a majority of drunk driving cases, the arrests are made late at night or early in the morning.  After the DUI/DWI arrest, many people want to figure out how to protect themselves from facing serious consequences associated with drunk driving.  Driving to the police station to find out more information about their case, driving to the courthouse, or driving to an attorneys office are all places that many people will think to go after being arrested for DUI/DWI.  That is a mistake.

              Yes, it is important to take action quickly after a DUI/DWI arrest.  However, you will risk getting another DUI/DWI-related arrest by driving within 12 hours of your arrest.  This law is in place for safety reasons because if you are arrested for a DUI with a BAC of 0.14 early in the morning, then you go home and go to sleep, and then wake up and try to find an attorney for your case, it is likely that there is still alcohol in your system.  Have somebody else drive you around, or wait until later in the day when the alcohol has been completely absorbed.

              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 Laurel or throughout Maryland, or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/ 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Charged with Assault in Maryland --Three Things You Need to Know Before Talking to a Lawyer

1.     Don't bring your friends to your meeting with the attorney.
  • This should go without saying in any type of case, but especially in an assault case if your friends were at the scene of the alleged assault, or were involved in any way.  
  • If you and some of your friends or acquaintances are all charged in an assault, don't make the mistake of thinking you're all "in this together."
  • Why?  Your best defense might be that the real perpetrators of the assault were the other individuals there, not you.  Or, that you were just trying to break up a fight that was being instigated by someone else.
  • Two: The attorney, if he knows what he's doing, won't have a meeting with both of you, because he knows there's a conflict.  One of you will get sent home and you don't want that person to be you.

2.     Assault is a very serious charge in Maryland.  Don't take it lightly.
  • First degree assault is a felony and punishable by up to 25 years in prison. 
  • Second degree assault, which is the more common form of assault charge we see, is a misdemeanor - but still punishable by 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
  • A first degree assault conviction requires proof that you intended to cause serious bodily harm to the victim. On the other hand, you can be convicted of second degree assault for what the law calls an "offensive touching" or for simply putting someone in fear of bodily harm.  Relatively minor altercations and disputes can easily result in assault charges.

3.     Don't just assume your case will be dropped without a fight.

  • It's really common for people charged with assault to be convinced that there's no way the alleged victim is going to show up in court, and then lo and behold, they appear in court ready for trial.
  • I don't care what you think about the alleged victim's credibility, the State is going to take their allegations seriously.
  • You might have to go through an entire trial to prove your innocence.  You do not want to be caught without any attorney in this situation.
If you have been charged with a crime in Maryland, call us today to speak to one our experienced Maryland criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation or if you would like more information 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/Maryland-Criminal-Defense/

Monday, April 18, 2016

Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer: Should I Pay My Traffic Tickets or Ask for a Trial?

·         It’s very common in any type of traffic case to have multiple tickets.
o   Some of these tickets may be “must appear” tickets.
§  These are the more serious offenses, such as hit and run, driving on a suspended license, or DUI, which carry not only a fine, but the possibility of jail time.
§  Obviously, these are not tickets that you can just mail in a payment.  You must appear and the judge will decide how much the fine will be.
o   The rest of the tickets will be “payable” tickets.
§  These are your speeding tickets, failure to obey a traffic signal, failure to display license, improper lane change, negligent driving, etc.
·         When you’re faced with either a slew of payables or both payables and “must appear” tickets, you have a decision to make.
o   Should I just go ahead and pay the tickets or should I ask for a trial?
o   Keep in mind that every case is unique and an attorney can be extremely useful in helping you make these decisions, but here are some things to consider.
  
·         First, if your underlying “must appear” offense is a DUI, it is probably best to wait before paying the payable fines until your trial date.
o   Often, the prosecutor will agree to drop these payable charges in exchange for a guilty plea to the DUI offense.
§  If you’ve already paid the payables, you cannot bargain for them to be dropped later.  You also will have taken all the points associated with the tickets if you choose to pay the fines before trial.
·         If your “must appear” offense is something less serious than DUI, for example, driving without a license, you may be able to use the payables as a bargaining chip in a different way.
o   Sometimes, the prosecutor will agree to drop the driving without a license charge if you agree to go pay the payables at that time.  (and if you have fixed your license)
·         If all of your tickets are “payables” you can still request a trial and attempt to negotiate how many of them the prosecutor will go forward on.  If the officer in your case does not show up at your trial date, the whole case could be dropped.

·         You also have the option of asking the judge to reduce the fines you would have to pay, or to reduce the number of points assessed.  If you have already sent in your payment, you’ve just accepted the worst case scenario as far as fines and points assessed against you.

      If you or a family member has been charged with a traffic or alcohol-related offense in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on these types of offenses 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/Maryland-Criminal-Defense/