Friday, March 31, 2017

Speed Cameras and Red Light Cameras are Returning in Baltimore

Beware, red light cameras and speed cameras will soon be functioning again in Baltimore City. It has been about 4 years since these cameras were in use due to numerous improperly issued tickets to drivers. While many of these camera devices have remained in place during this period of inactivity, it will be easy for officials to make them active again. Officials assure drivers that the revival of the camera system will not result in false readings and improperly issued tickets as they did previously. Additional new cameras will also be installed throughout the city.

Mayor Pugh made the decision to reinstate use of the cameras as a means to collect $5 million in revenue for the City budget. The Mayor also cites driver safety as another reason for bringing the cameras back.

The new camera program is expected to launch in late April or early May. Drivers that receive citations during the first 30 days of the cameras being used will only receive a warning. After the 30 day period, tickets will be issued to drivers that go through red lights or speed. Anyone who does receive a ticket from one of these cameras does not have to worry about receiving points on their license because it is only considered a civil citation.

Many drivers in Baltimore City are probably used to never having to worry about being caught by red light cameras or speed cameras. But, this is going to change very soon and drivers should be aware.

If you're charged with a serious traffic offense in Baltimore, call the attorneys at Portner & Shure today for a free consultation: (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Drunk Driving Crashes have Dropped Across Maryland

A new study was recently released by the University of Maryland, which shows that alcohol-related crashes involving injury or death have decreased by 6% each year since 2011. What's the cause of this consistent drop?

The study linked this drop in alcohol-related crashes to Maryland's increase in the alcohol sales tax, which rose in 2011. The decline in the number of crashes was even higher for younger drivers--12% decline each year. Researches knew that the number of crashes involving fatalities and injuries that were linked to alcohol would decrease over time with improved safety measures in vehicles. However, researchers did not expect such a significant decrease as was observed.

Legislators passed the increase in taxes as a way to curb underage drinking and drunk driving. Even with this study's results, legislators do not say they will seek another increase in taxes anytime soon.

Maryland lawmakers continue to propose new laws in order to cut down on the number of drunk drivers on the roadways, including just recently, the ignition interlock requirement and more severe penalties for those caught drinking and driving. Drunk driving continues to be a major problem, and will certainly remain a high priority for lawmakers and police across the state.

If you've been charged with DUI in Maryland, call the attorneys at Portner & Shure today for a free consultation: (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why You Need an Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer in Bel Air, Maryland

When searching for a criminal defense attorney, one of the most important things to look for is a lawyer with experience in the county courts in which you are charged. Hiring an experienced lawyer in Baltimore City probably will not be as beneficial if your case is before a Harford County Judge. Choosing an attorney with decades of experience in the county in which you face charges can be the difference of probation and jail time.

Harford County judges are known for handing down some of the harshest criminal and traffic sentences in the state compared to other jurisdictions across Maryland. Due to this "tough on crime" atmosphere in Harford County and the severe penalties that often get imposed, you need to retain an attorney who will aggressively negotiate on your behalf rather than accepting the State's Attorney's first offer.

Portner & Shure attorneys have combined experience over 100 years in courtrooms across Harford County, including Bel Air. Our attorneys are always ready and willing to take your case to trial if the State does not make a fair plea offer. At Portner & Shure, we understand the consequences you are facing and will stop at nothing to get you the best result possible.

If you're facing criminal or traffic charges in Harford County, you should call the criminal defense attorneys at Portner & Shure today for a free consultation: (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Can a Bar be Held Liable for Injuries Caused by a Drunk Driver?

One of the most debated subjects is about liability for over-serving a patron alcohol.  Many people think that a bartender or bar should be held responsible for any injuries that result from over-serving one of their customers with alcohol. Many other people think that it is not fair to hold a bartender or bar responsible for actions done by another person that result from being served too much alcohol.

In Maryland, it has long been held that a bar owner cannot be held liable for the injuries or death of someone that is caused by a drunk driver who was drinking at the bar. This rule is known as the Dram Shop Law. Maryland simply DOES NOT recognize a duty that a bar owes to a third person. In other words, a bar owner owes no duty to a car accident victim whose vehicle was struck by a patron based on the bar's serving of alcohol to the patron prior to the accident. Maryland law does not say that a bartender is required to analyze the drunk state of every person they serve alcohol. It is simply too a high a duty that that would place on a bartender to have to monitor how much alcohol every bar patron has been served and to have to make sure they are not driving a car when they leave the bar.

This topic is always hotly debated and will likely continue to be debated in the future. For now, just know that you cannot hold a bar or a bartender liable for injuring someone else because the bartender served you with too much alcohol.

If you've been charged with an alcohol-related offense in Maryland, call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Portner & Shure today for a free consultation: (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515.

Friday, March 10, 2017

What Happens if I get Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) and I Violate it?

If you've been charged with a criminal or traffic offense in Maryland and you have gone to court for those charges, then you probably have heard of probation before judgment or PBJ. Anyone charged with a criminal or traffic offense have the option to plead guilty in exchange for receiving a PBJ (some offenses are exempt from having option for a PBJ). Whether it is a speeding ticket or a DUI, a PBJ means that you cannot get into trouble with the law at all during your probationary period, which usually is for one year. That means that if you receive another speeding ticket or are charged with a DUI during your probationary period, you have violated your probation.

A violation of a PBJ probationary period works the same way as a violation of any other probation associated with serious criminal charges. A PBJ violator may face harsher penalties for their crime or violation, and that may include jail time.

Having the option for a PBJ should be seen as a privilege and should not be taken for granted by those who receive one. A PBJ essentially "erases" any terrible mistake that you have done and helps you avoid any conviction. However, if you get into more trouble, the PBJ will be taken away. Additionally, you do not get an unlimited number of opportunities to receive a PBJ from a Judge. It is only meant to help someone who has made one single mistake in their life and "forgive" them for that mistake.

If you've been charged with a criminal or traffic offense in Maryland, call the attorneys at Portner & Shure today for a free consultation: (410) 995-1515, (301) 854-9000.

Friday, March 3, 2017

How Can you Find a Good DUI Lawyer to Represent you?

You've been arrested and charged with DUI in Maryland. What is the next step? Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. 

There are numerous criminal defense attorneys in Maryland that handle DUI cases on a regular basis. but how do you know who the "good" attorneys are and who the "bad" ones are?

There are two types of DUI lawyers--the ones who assume every case will be a guilty plea, and the ones who prepare every case like it is going to trial.

As an attorney, if you assume you are trying the case, you leave no stone unturned when investigating the case in order to identify all possible legal defenses for your client. When it comes time for trial, the attorney is well-prepared to try your case, which in essence is the leverage you need to negotiate a favorable deal, if that is ultimately the route you choose to take.

Whether you choose to have a trial or negotiate a plea agreement, a good DUI lawyer will do whatever it takes to get you the best result, while ensuring that you are always advised of the potential risks and benefits, so that you can make informed decisions every step of the way.

Remember, a DUI charge is not something to take lightly; it is a very serious charge will significant consequences. If you've been charged with a drunk driving offense, call the attorneys at Portner & Shure for a free consultation: (301) 854-9000, (410) 995-1515.