December 2010 Archives

If Saving a Life is Wrong I Don't Want to Be Right

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By now everyone has either seen or read about the two young men who helped rescue a deer from a frozen river last week at the Baltimore CountyAnne Arundel County line. Around 5:00 p.m. fire and natural resources were called to the Patapsco River bridge for a deer that had fallen through the ice and was trapped. James Hart and Khalilalim Abusakran of Jessup were ultimately cited by the Department of Natural Resources for not having the appropriate flotation devices. They could have been criminally charged for disregarding police orders and taking their inflatable boat into the river to rescue the deer. What the two men failed to realize was not only did they put themselves in danger but they disregarded direct orders by police who were on the scene to do their jobs. No one wants to see an innocent animal suffer. However, with everyone realizing that both gentleman were trying to do a good thing, the police were not only trying to rescue the deer but to avoid having two victims fall through the ice. The two gentleman are scheduled to appear in the District Court in February. Even with all the public attention this incident as drawn, proper preparation will be required to go before the District Court of Maryland. While a criminal attorney may not be needed, a consultation with a criminal defense attorney is a must, even with this minor charge. Criminal records accumulate, so minor charges by themselves may seem small, but the accumulation of criminal charges will ultimately lead to a more severe criminal sentence.

If you, or a family member or someone you know has been convicted of a crime or you would like more information on criminal defense, please feel free to contact Portner & Shure.

If you find yourself charged with a drug possession or paraphernalia charge in Rockville, Silver Spring, or anywhere in Montgomery County, Maryland, you may be eligible for a special program called IPSA. Drug charges are placed on an inactive, or stet docket, for a period of time for the criminal defendant to complete community service and some drug education classes. After the completion of the program the charges are then expunged, erased from the record.

Most counties do not have this program. As a result, drug charges in other counties in Maryland will not end with an expungement and defendant's will in many cases get something on their record. Therefore, for all drug charges in Montgomery County you should obtain an attorney who is familiar with the community service programs in both the Silver Spring and the Rockville District Court Houses.

A result of community service and expungement is critical for the future. Employment background searches will not pull up these charges once they are expunged. Further, if you are charged for something else later, this arrest will not show up on your criminal record. As a result, in a later criminal charge you could still obtain a probation before judgment (PBJ). PBJ could not be used subsequently unless you obtained this result or a stet, or ten years passes.

If you, or a family member or someone you know has been convicted of drug possession, paraphernalia, or any other criminal matter and would like more information on criminal defense, please contact Portner & Shure.

Frederick County Commuters

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Frederick County, Maryland is one of the fastest growing counties in the State of Maryland. Its prime location makes it easy for those who work in the city to reside outside of the busy city limits. This trend is illustrated by a recent survey that revealed Frederick has more than 117,000 commuters. Those commuters travel 25 minutes or more to places like Montgomery, Baltimore and Howard County as well Fairfax and Loudoun County in Virginia. Some commuters travel hours to work on a daily basis. The number of commuters is a primary factor in the recent highway expansions in Frederick.

"Entrapment" by Howard County Police Hookers

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The term "entrapment" refers to the principle that someone cannot be induced to do something he or she would not otherwise do by a police officer's actions. In Howard County attractive cops are dressing up as sexy hookers in a sting operation in Laurel. As a result, there have been 94 prostitution arrests this year. In fact, 15 alone were made in one sting operation on November 15, 2009.

Entrapment by the cops does not apply in most of these cases where the defendant drives by the woman in a short skirt and then haggles over a price for a sex act. These result is a lawful arrest as soon as the money changes hands. However, if the police officer hooker initiated the contact and brings up money first, the defense of entrapment may apply. Hence, any attorney you retain for this most likely embarrassing situation needs to be experienced with the defense of entrapment, as well as the elements for a prostitution conviction that the state's attorney office in Howard County needs to prove.

If you, a family member or someone you know has been convicted of entrapment or if you would like more information on charges of prostitution and/or criminal defense, please contact Portner & Shure.

Second Offense Drunken Driving Sentences

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Be careful when receiving advice from an attorney or even a judge on what your probable sentence should be in a second offense DWI or DUI. Both, if not experienced in this area may steer you wrong. Just last month a Circuit Court Judge in Anne Arundel County, Judge Silkworth, gave a repeat offender a probation before judgement (a result that spares him a conviction). The defense attorney in the case requested it, and even the State's Attorney initially went along. The problem is the sentence violates a 2009 law that states you may not be awarded a probation before judgment if you have received one during the last ten years. The Defendant, Carl Snowden, a former Annapolis alderman, had received a PBJ in 2003.

Hopefully, this defendant did not plead guilty because his counsel indicated he would receive this result. On motions, the PBJ will most likely be withdrawn by the Court, the defendant will get a conviction and lose his license. Perhaps, these situations can be averted if all uninvolved understand the current changes to Maryland's DUI/DWI laws.

If you, a family member or someone you know has been convicted of driving under the influence or if you would like more information on automobile accidents, please contact Portner & Shure.