MD Courts

Marijuana Decriminalization Takes Effect Today

In the past, anyone in the state of Maryland who was caught with a small plastic bag of marijuana would face criminal charges, including the potential for jail time and a criminal conviction on their record. With the stroke of the clock at midnight, however, all of that changed as the state’s new marijuana decriminalization law took effect Oct. 1. Now, those who are found in possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana face a civil citation and fine similar to those handed out for parking tickets. For a first offense, the fine is to be no more than $100 and can rise up to $500 for a second or third offense. Prior to today, an arrest for possession of less than 10 grams would have resulted in a misdemeanor criminal charged that carried the possibility of a $500 fine, 90 days in jail, or both. See SB 364.…

Read More

Michael Phelps’ DUI Arrest in Baltimore: Olympic Gold Medalist arrested on suspicion of DUI

DUI arrests have long been a hot button issue and fodder for easy headlines, especially when celebrities are involved. So it was no surprise to see the internet light up with this morning’s announcement that Michael Phelps was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Baltimore. What many of the reports have failed to note, however, is that Phelps has the right to the presumption of innocence and due process. According to local news station WBALTV 11, an officer was driving southbound on the I-395 when a white 2014 Land Rover was picked up by radar and estimated to be traveling 84 mph in a 45 mph zone. Phelps, who was identified during the traffic stop, also allegedly crossed a double lane within the Fort McHenry Tunnel on Interstate 95 around 1:40 a.m. Many news sites noted this is Phelps’ second DUI arrest. According to court records, Phelps…

Read More

Maryland Court of Appeals Rules on DUI Rights Prior to BAC Testing

Written By Staff Writer The right to counsel is a hallmark of fairness in the American legal system and one of the procedural due process rights afforded to citizens in almost every case. It is a glimmer of hope in what can otherwise be a dark and terrifying time. But what happens if you are denied this basic right? April Deering's case provides a disturbing answer to that question that will affect countless drivers throughout Maryland. According to a recent ruling by Maryland's highest court, Deering was pulled over for suspected drunk driving early on the morning of May 3, 2012. After being transported to the Fruitland Police Department, Deering was informed that she had the option of submitting to a Breathalyzer test to determine her blood alcohol content (BAC) under Maryland's implied consent law. The consequence for refusing a Breathalyzer test in the state of Maryland is a 120…

Read More