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

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.