Criminal Information in Prince George’s County
If you face the courts in Maryland for any offense, you need to consider enlisting the help of an attorney familiar with criminal information in Prince George’s County. An attorney could defend you and stand by your side at one of your most trying moments.
Where Prince George’s County Is in Relation to the Surrounding Areas
Prince George’s County is a quite large county in relation to the size of the state of Maryland and covers a lot of landmark areas. Washington D.C. borders Hyattsville College Park and Andrews Air Force Base is next to Clinton. The county stretches toward Upper Marlborough and Hyattsville, where the two main district courts are. And PG is the second-most populous county in Maryland, bordering on the biggest, Montgomery County, with which it shares a street.
Who Lives and Works in PG County
Prince George’s County is an incredibly diverse county, with everything from military and students to blue-collar and white-collar areas. The surrounding area includes Arlington and Alexandria, the D.C./Maryland/Virginia metropolitan area.
The history of the county shows it has always been an evolving area in terms of the region itself and growth in terms agencies located there. The area has a mass transportation system, so there is the PG County Metro Rail and county commuter rail. The demographics show a nice variety in terms of how many different communities are represented there.
Education is a premium in Prince George’s County at the college level, with College Park where people seek professional degrees. Bowie State College is next to College Park and has the biggest campus. There is Prince George’s Community College there as well. PG County also has a massive public school system.
Verizon, Safeway and Shoppers, the two biggest pharmacies, and Giant are based there. Target and Capital One, MedStar are there as well as far as employers are concerned. The public sector has massive operations there as well, including the IRS, Social Security, NASA, Department of Agriculture, University of Maryland and joint base Andrews. There are plenty of opportunities for employment: state, federal, and private.
Law Enforcement Presence in Prince George’s County
There are several different law enforcement authorities in Prince George’s County including the county police and community police departments. The county department is broken down into several districts. District One is Hyattsville; two, Bowie; three, Landover; four, Oxon Hill; five, Quentin; Beltsville, six; and Fort Washington, seven. Within those districts, there are other police agencies, including the Maryland State Police with its Forestville Barrack and College Park.
The University of Maryland has its own police department and Beltsville. District Heights, Edmonton, and New Carrollton have their local police departments, and there are others. The Prince George’s County sheriff’s office is mostly responsible for serving court papers and executing service of court documents.
Where Do the Law Enforcement Officers Concentrate Their Efforts in PG County?
There is a massive concentration of law enforcement agencies around the federal area, and Prince George’s County is no exception, given that there is a US District Court in the county. There also is the U.S. Park Police and various law enforcement types on federal property. Just a traffic stop for speeding could be different within a couple of blocks in the county.
On a county road, 25 miles an hour over the speed limit gets a person a two-to-five point violation and a $500 fine. On federal property, however, a person could face six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. PG County also has a state district with the state police on major highways.
And, there is a law enforcement concentration in Bowie where there is a community college and in the area near the Washington Redskins’s home and stadium. In general, they concentrate on areas where there are a lot of students and other youth, a lot of transportation, populous areas and the businesses they attract.
Top 3 Preventable Criminal Charges in Prince George’s County
Among the three most preventable types of criminal charges in Prince George’s County is a DUI. Just because a person over 21 years of age has a legal right to drink does not mean they have the right to drink and drive. And now with other drivers available, such as Uber and Lyft, there is no excuse. Leave the drugs at home. Don’t take stuff that belongs to somebody else, don’t even touch it, especially with the prevalence of surveillance cameras.
There are things so dangerous it is not worth the risk, but people still do them. That’s why they need lawyers.
Whether someone relies on public transportation or has to drive to and from a bar in PG County depends on where someone is. Uber and Lyft are active in the county, and they tend to saturate the areas where they know the bars are. The police also know the most popular bars, and often stand outside in plain clothes and watch people come out and start their car, and then have them stop. If there is a major home game in College Park—football, basketball, whatever sport it is—people may rest assured the police are there.
Major Roadways Passing through and around PG County
Of the major highways that pass through and around Prince George’s County the most major is Interstate 95, which runs up the entire East Coast. Then there is the I-495 beltway circling through the Washington DC area, and I-295 running right through it. Major Maryland highways are routes 301, 50, and 97. Those are where there is a lot of movement in the county.
Speed Limits in Local Areas
A person has to be careful about speeding in Prince George’s County because the speed limits vary. The major highways have their typical speed limits but on other roadways, especially around local areas and side roads, the speed drops very quickly. One could go quickly from 55 to 35 in under half a mile, and from 40 to 25. And, the speed is even slower by schools, so they are highly and strategically enforced.
Speeding tickets are not worth it because if they are convicted, they get one to five points on their record, and depending on the violation, a suspended or revoked license, and requirements to attend driver improvement sessions. Drivers who amass eight points are taken to an administrative hearing where they get a letter of reprimand, and the more points they get beyond eight, the higher the response. If someone gets a provisional license, they have to be clean for 18 months before they would get a graduated license.
Every time they get a ticket, their probation before judgment is reset to 18 months. When they get points, their insurance company finds out, too, so their premiums can go up. Plus, the Motor Vehicle Administration would have a record of it.
Where Law Enforcement Officers Focus Their Speed and Traffic Stop Efforts
Law enforcement officers focus their speed traffic and traffic stop efforts on the big major highways, primarily by the Maryland State Police. The other roadways focused on are the main feeders that come off the highways and into the towns, even small ones where there may be a population concentration and a lot of children around the schools.
Speed and Red Light Cameras in the Area
There are many speed cameras and red-light cameras in the Prince George’s area, primarily by school locations, especially in College Park, Bowie, and Upper Marlborough. They are not prevalent on the major roadways unless there is construction, but even there, they may stage a vehicle with a camera in it, and they put up signs. One thing to know is that if a speeder is caught by a camera, the points on a driver record would be put on the title holder of the vehicle, not necessarily the driver of it. People could avoid the points, however, by just paying the ticket and not contesting it.
Why There Are So Many Drug Charges in PG County
There are so many drug charges in Prince George’s County partly because they have increased so much all over the state of Maryland, including major cases at the local and federal level, some involving major international drug dealers. But, the most common drug charge in the county is from the opioid epidemic and overdose, which doubled in 2017, with increases in fatal overdoses off the charts. Heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanyl are lethal, and the use has infiltrated the entire county. PG County has a major problem because it is right next to Washington D.C. which has a big drug problem, largely from the major highways that run through the area, making it useful for trafficking.
What Happens when a Sentenced Person Cannot Pay a Fine
If a sentence penalty in any district or circuit court involves a fine and the individual cannot pay within 10 full days, the person could have their license suspended. Fines are administered by the judge. There are preset fines that could be prepaid in some minor traffic cases, but in criminal cases and even serious traffic cases, they are determined by the judge.
If it is a matter in front of a criminal judge, a fine is generally due that same day. Sentenced people’s attorneys usually would ask the them if they could pay that day and if they say they cannot, the attorney usually would ask for a 30-day extension. Often, judges grant that or they say the fine is deferred and payable through parole and probation, so a person could then pay the fine as soon they have available fines. In the meantime, though, they are on probation, either supervised or unsupervised.
In unsupervised cases, the individual generally just has to pay it through the court. Even if it is supervised, they should tell their attorney, who would make sure they comply. In Prince George’s County, the person should take the fine deadlines seriously, because if they violate, the state would take action within two weeks.
Where Arrested Individuals Are Taken in Prince George’s County
Where an individual is taken after being arrested in Prince George’s County depends on where the arrest was made. If it is a serious offense, such as an assault, domestic offense, drug issue, they may be brought before a commissioner in Hyattsville or Upper Marlborough. They would be taken in front of a commissioner to determine whether they are a public safety threat or hazard, whether they have a lengthy record and need to be held without bond, or whether they are from out-of-state. Bond reviews are done in Upper Marlborough in the district court or in the circuit court.
After booking in PG County, an individual is likely to be held in the Upper Marlborough Detention Center until their bond is completely released or they go in front of a judge the next day.
Fortunately, at any point during an arrest process, an individual could request an attorney. They have the right to at least a public defender. An individual always is able to make a phone call.
How Does One Go About Posting Bail in Prince George’s County?
Posting bail in Prince George’s County can be done by individuals, but it usually is done through a bail bondsman. Doing it alone or having a family member do it is very difficult, so there are several bondsmen spread out between Hyattsville and Upper Marlborough.
What Are the Benefits of Working with a Local Lawyer Throughout the Arrest and Trial Process?
The benefits of working with a local lawyer throughout the arrest and trial process include that the local lawyer knows the state’s attorneys, the judges, and has a good reputation and is reliable. For example, if someone wants to be released on bond, the judge will better trust that a reliable attorney will make sure the defendant shows up in court for their trial date. The attorney also will do their due diligence and know their client and their needs. A defendant needs an attorney with a good reputation to ask for a consideration from a judge who might not otherwise be disposed to give it.
How a Criminal Charge or Conviction Might Affect a Person’s Immigration Status
Depending on the Maryland county, a criminal charge or conviction could affect a person’s immigration status in several ways, particularly in recent years. It has become even more important for someone concerned about their immigration status to have an immigration attorney and that they pay attention to the classes of charges. Even within the class of misdemeanors, one must pay attention.
For example, a significant misdemeanor, such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, unlawful possession of a firearm, drug trafficking, burglary, even DUIs, anything that carries a sentence of 90 days or more could make a big difference. They and even juvenile adjudications must be served in custody. Recently, it has increasingly become the practice that there would be immigration consequences for anyone who is not a citizen, even if they are here under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or Parents of Americans.
In several Maryland counties, not yet Prince George’s County, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would be notified. That means that in some cases if the person must show up in court, they run the risk of being apprehended by ICE for likely deportation. In those cases, the assistance of an attorney will be very important. Even if ICE does not become involved, an arrest could have an impact later on, when they attempt to renew a visa or extend their stay by going through the proper channels.
What Out-of-State Residents Need to Do if Charged with a Crime in Prince George’s County
If an out-of-state person is charged with a crime while in PG County, the first thing they should do is contact an attorney so they could take care of the case for a defendant. If someone is charged with a crime and booked, and given a court date, they are expected to appear on that date, or at least their lawyer would for a defendant who is no longer in Maryland on the court date. An attorney would be able to include them via online communications or a conference call.
But that would only be for minor infractions. If it is something much more serious, such as a felony, perhaps a serious assault charge or theft of something with a high value, the attorney would prefer to talk with the client in person.
Information About Prince George’s County Laws Out-of-State Individuals May Not Know
People from outside of PG County should know that the county is dynamic in that you see a little bit of everything, from minor traffic violations to serious felonies. The county also is a very involved community and the juries empaneled draw from a broad base of diversity. The jurors seem to listen more intently to the cases they hear.
The county also is somewhat unique in that it operates a status conference system at the circuit court level. The object is to resolve a case in front of a retired judge to avoid the expense of a trial. The unwritten rule is that the judges follow certain guidelines and do not go above them and deny the prosecution’s effort to get a longer sentence.
Common Misconceptions About PG County
Some of the common misconceptions about the local area is that it is a pushover, that it is too big and authorities cannot keep up with it. That is not true, it has plenty of state’s attorneys and two fully working and functioning courthouses. The county has a lot of responsibilities because it has some major universities and campuses.
College Park is the main one, and the county works hard to keep its reputation high and safe. The county borders on Charles County and on the District of Columbia, so there are overflows from other areas where there is trafficking of criminal activity going through the county, and authorities want to shut that down. The state’s attorney’s office prosecutes vigorously what it believes it may, and if it does not believe prosecution is necessary, it will try to work something out.
For example, the office may have a great case, but the defendant may have a minimal, if any, record, so the office may look at it and try to work something out short of jail time. That way, the case moves forward in an amicable way in which a message is sent and someone has the opportunity not to have a mark on their permanent record. The state’s attorney’s office in the county always looks at that angle more so than other counties.
Sometimes, community service is much more fitting for a low-level offense, or maybe attending a class or traffic school. The Prince George’s County Bar and PG County as a whole, along with the judiciary, work together to make things manageable because they do not want to have an impact on a person’s employment or their ability to get a mortgage.
Importance Choices to Make After Being Charged with a Crime
Among the top three most important things a person could do after being charged with a crime is to call a lawyer. For the first conversation, they should make sure they have all the paperwork they were given after they were arrested, especially the probable cause statement and charging document. If it is a citation by an officer, they should make sure they have got all their tickets.
If the case is a DUI, did they submit to an alcohol breath test or a blood test or did refuse? They should provide as much information as they possibly can and write down everything they can recall from the incident, especially if it is an assault matter.
Enlist the Assitance of a Prince George’s County Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime in Prince George’s County, it is in your best interest to work with an attorney familiar with criminal information in Prince George’s County. An attorney could draft a defense, work with the prosecution to diminish charges, and help you take steps that look favorable to the court.