Washington County Criminal Lawyer
In Maryland’s criminal court system, the prosecution has the burden of proof. That means that the prosecution must be able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the offender did, in fact, commit the crime or crimes with which he or she was charged in order to secure a conviction. That may sound like a “win” for the defendant, but without a skilled Washington County criminal lawyer on your side, it may not be that easy.
The prosecution has access to numerous investigative and law enforcement agencies, forensic and medical specialists, and a wellspring of necessary funding in order to compile the evidence needed to prove the alleged offender’s guilt. With an arsenal of resources at your adversary’s disposal, you do not want to leave your defense to chance. Having effective defense counsel is so important that it is a constitutional right. Securing the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney is an important step towards protecting your rights.
Criminal Offenses in Washington County, MD
Maryland crimes are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies, but the distinction between the two is sometimes difficult to ascertain. Felony offenses and violent crimes against another person, such as aggravated assault, certain sex crimes, and various degrees of murder, are deemed to be more serious in nature and thus deserving of more serious penalties. Lesser crimes, such as drunk driving or petty theft of small value, often have a smaller impact. These are classified as less severe offenses and incur lesser penalties. Somewhere in between these extremes, however, the line between more grievous misdemeanors and less serious felonies begins to blur.
One definition states that a felony is a crime that typically involves violence, including guns, which is regarded as more serious than a misdemeanor, and is usually punishable by imprisonment for more than 12 months or by death. Many states define misdemeanors as a non-indictable offense and less serious than a felony, and the maximum term of incarceration is 12 months. Maryland differs in this aspect, as state law allows for much harsher jail times, sending those convicted of a misdemeanor behind bars for up to 10 years.
Rather than classifying misdemeanors based on a scale, as many states do, or classifying them simply by the length of the associated jail or prison term, Maryland addresses each offense individually, calling out its specific punishment. When charged with a crime in Maryland, the best way to know the gravity of the charge is to contact professional legal counsel and allow them to use their vast knowledge of the state’s criminal code to determine the classification and associated penalties for a particular offense.
Driving Under the Influence and Driving While Impaired
Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is much more than a mere traffic violation. In Maryland, a driver can be arrested if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.07 percent or greater. This is lower than the threshold of intoxication of 0.08 percent held by many states. With a BAC of 0.07 percent, an offender may be charged with driving while impaired (DWI), and if the BAC reaches a concentration of 0.08 percent or higher, the charge is increased to driving under the influence (DUI). While a DUI is a more serious offense, the penalties and consequences for both misdemeanor crimes are significant.
- First Offense DUI
- maximum fine of $1,000
- up to 12 months in jail
- six-month license revocation
Second Offense DUI
- maximum fine of $2,000
- up to two years in jail with a mandatory minimum of five days
- one-year license revocation
Third Offense DUI
- maximum fine of $3,000
- Up to three years in jail
- 18-month license revocation
- First Offense DWI
- maximum fine of $500
- up to 60 days in jail
- 60-day license suspension
- Second Offense DWI
- maximum fine of $500
- up to 12 months in jail
- 120-day license revocation
- Third Offense DWI
- Maximum fine of $500
- Up to 12 months in jail
- 12-month license suspension
Upon conviction for an alcohol-related offense, additional sanctions may be applied, including use of an ignition interlock device, additional terms of license suspension, mandatory minimum jail sentences, demerit points against the driver’s license, and mandatory alcohol safety training. To limit the impact on your driving record and driving privileges, contact a lawyer if you have been charged with a Washington County DUI or DWI.
Washington County Assault Crimes
Depending upon the level of violence in an assault offense, the presence of a deadly weapon, whether or not it can be considered domestic violence, and other factors, an assault crime may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense. More serious assaults are known as “first degree assault.” First degree assault is a felony and is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Lesser assault offenses are considered “second degree assault.” These are misdemeanor offenses, which are punishable by a maximum fine of $2,500 and up to 10 years behind bars.
A Washington County Criminal Lawyer can Help
The penalties associated with a criminal conviction are harsh. Obtaining a knowledgeable defense attorney should be your first step in working to minimize the potential impact of criminal charges. By securing representation immediately, you not only set your defense in motion, but you can be sure that your legal advocate will be overseeing the complete legal process to protect your rights and liberties every step of the way.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, the penalties and consequences that accompany a conviction can be life-changing. To limit the impact a criminal charge can have on your life, contact experienced Washington County criminal lawyer Seth Okin. He will fight tirelessly to provide you with an effective defense. Call his Maryland law office today to schedule a free consultation.