August 2012 Archives

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing laws in Maryland are hurting criminal defendants. For decades, mandatory minimum sentencing laws, or laws that require that a certain minimum sentence be imposed when an offender has committed a certain number of offenses, have been wrecking havoc on Maryland criminal defendants. According to Maryland Defense Attorneys, these laws are resulting in sentences that are blindly handed out any without judicial discretion. The effect of such mandatory minimum sentencing laws is to put in jail, for a significant amount of time, those who commit multiple, but "less serious" crimes.

The effects these Maryland criminal sentencing laws have are grave. As most experienced Maryland criminal attorneys understand, many of the Maryland criminal defendants who commit less serious crimes- marijuana use, public drunkenness-are oftentimes not injuring society's individuals. In other words, there are "victimless crimes" being committed by Maryland criminal defendants whose actions are better described as offending the sensibilities of the legislature rather than injuring the public in any substantial way.

Maryland's mandatory minimum sentencing laws put offenders in prison for an inordinate amount of time. As we have seen from representing criminal defendants in Howard County, Prince George's County, and Montgomery County, Maryland, the overwhelming majority of mandatory minimum sentences are inflicted against drug defendants who often pose no real threat of violence to the public. overwhelming majority of mandatory minimum sentences are inflicted against drug defendants who often pose no real threat of violence to the public. Nevertheless, the public is directly harmed. Approximately 100 people enter the prison system each year, and serve an average sentence of at least seven years, due to Maryland's mandatory minimum sentencing laws. For criminal defendants, it costs Maryland taxpayers approximately $200,000 each, or $20,000,000.

An alternative to Maryland taxpayers incurring this hefty expense is to seek another form of punishment that is more effective and more affordable. With help from some of the best Maryland Defense Attorneys, the public will benefit. Maryland Defense Attorneys are in the best position to advocate evicting mandatory minimum sentencing laws from Maryland's statutes.

By enacting laws that provide judges more discretion regarding an individual's sentencing and allow judges to consider relevant facts and circumstances surrounding the cases of criminal defendants, punishments can be handed out more fairly. A system that utilizes graduated sanctions is also a viable alternative. Such a system does not blindly throw Maryland criminal defendants in prison for "X" amount of years simply because they have committed a certain number of offenses. Rather, it allows for more severe punishments based on the severity of the crime and an individual's criminal record. The idea is that because Maryland criminal defendants will not be exposed to as much prison time in the absence of mandatory minimum sentences, they will be less likely to acquire the traits of hardened behavior and criminally-set attitudes towards society that often accompanies an inmate spending a significant amount of time in prison. Yet, with the prospect of shortened and more sensible sentences in front of them, offenders will have more incentive to conform their behavior to the standards of society rather than adopting the characteristics that come with prison life.

Maryland's Best Criminal Defense lawyers must take a stand for their criminal defense clients and for society. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws are pick-pocketing the pockets of taxpayers, and turning otherwise harmless individuals into hardened Maryland criminals. If you, or someone you know might be victimized by Maryland's Mandatory Minimum Sentencing laws, call the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Portner and Shure, P.A., so that they can protect you. (301) 854-9000.