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  • A Guide to Maryland Expungement Law
    January 30, 2016
    | Stephen P. Shepard, Esq.
    ​EXPUNGEMENT AND THE EFFECT OF A CRIMINAL RECORD
     
    If you've ever applied for a job or filled out a housing application, you've likely encountered the question, "Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a criminal offense?" Those with an arrest or conviction in their past can have a harder time facing some of those usual life changes. One way to make the process easier is to get your record expunged. But what does that mean exactly?
     
    ...
  • Understanding Your Right to Remain Silent
    January 22, 2016
    | Stephen P. Shepard, Esq.
    "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."
     
    You've more than likely heard this statement, known as the Miranda warning, countless times in courtroom dramas, reality shows, and popular cop movies, but what does it mean exactly? How did we get that right and how do we invoke it?
     
    History of the Right to Remain Silent
     
    The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution...
  • Think Twice Before Making That Prank Phone Call
    January 2, 2015
    | Stephen P. Shepard, Esq.
    Desk Telephone
    Making prank phone calls has become somewhat of a common pastime in Maryland and throughout the United States for many children and adults.  Despite their often innocent and humorous nature, prank phone calls can land you into quite a bit of trouble in the State of Maryland.  In fact, telephone misuse is a crime that can land you in jail and/or have you facing a substantial fine. This blog article examines Maryland's telephone misuse statute and the potential penalties for...
  • Maryland's "Move Over" Law Now Includes Tow Trucks
    September 29, 2014
    | Stephen P. Shepard, Esq.
    spslawoffice_tow_truck
    New Law Alert :  On October 1, 2014, Maryland's "Move Over" Law will now include tow trucks in additional to emergency vehicles. The revised law requires drivers to either move into an open lane away from tow trucks that are attending to roadside emergencies or slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe if the motorist cannot move into an open lane.
     
  • What is Drug Paraphernalia and the Related Penalties?
    July 28, 2014
    Crack-paraphernalia.jpg

    Many people who are charged with drug-related offenses are often charged with possession of drug paraphernalia under Maryland Criminal Law 5-619.  This blog post examines what is considered drug paraphernalia under Maryland Criminal Law 5-619 and the various penalties associated with it.

     
    • Factors Used to Determine Whether an Object is Considered "Drug Paraphernalia"

     

     

    The factfinder (e.g., a judge) in a criminal case considers various factors based on the evidence to determine whether or not an object qualifies...

  • Understanding Maryland's New Marijuana Decriminalization Law
    April 19, 2014
    | Stephen P. Shepard, Esq.
    What is the New Law in Maryland that Decriminalizes the Possession of Less than 10 Grams of Marijuana?
     
    On Saturday April 5, 2014, the Maryland Senate voted 34 to 8 to pass Senate Bill 364 which decriminalizes the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana.  By "decriminalizing" the possession of marijuana of less than 10 grams, the bill made such possession of marijuana into a civil offense punishable by only a fine.  It is important to note that the new bill does ...
  • Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Possession of Marijuana of Less than 10 Grams!
    April 15, 2014
    Cannabis_sativa.jpg
    Breaking News:  Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Possession of Marijuana of Less than 10 Grams!
     
    S.B. 364, which decriminalizes the possession of marijuana of less than 10 grams, was offiicially signed into law this week by Maryland's Governor Martin O'Malley.  The new law will go into effect on October 1, 2014.  
     
    A more thorough analysis of the new law and its effect on Maryland residents will be posted soon.  
  • Possession of Marijuana of Less than 10 Grams Set to be Decriminalized in Maryland
    April 8, 2014
    320px-Cannabis_sativa00.jpg
    Currently, possession of marijuana of less than 10 grams is a criminal offense that carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
     
    On Saturday April 5, 2014, the Maryland Senate voted 34 to 8 to pass a bill that would  decriminalize the possession of marijuana of less than 10 grams.  By "decriminalizing" possession of marijuana of less than 10 grams, the bill would make such possession into an offense punishable by only a civil...
  • What is a Stet (or the Stet Docket)?
    February 2, 2014
    | Stephen P. Shepard, Esq.
    Maryland Rule 4-248 provides that the Office of the State's Attorney may move the court to mark a case as a "stet" or place it on what is commonly referred to as the "stet docket."  This blog post addresses the definition of a stet and what effect it has on a case.  
     
    • What is a Stet?
     
    In short, a stet is a way of marking a case as "inactive" for a period of time, usually with one...
  • What are the Similarities and Differences Between a Private Attorney and Public Defender?
    January 28, 2014
    | Stephen P. Shepard, Esq.
     
    As a former public defender and current private attorney, many people have asked me about the similarities and differences between the two types of attorneys.  In this blog post, I will provide a general overview of those similarities and differences.  Please keep in mind that this blog post is geared toward private criminal defense attorneys and public defenders.  Also, to be clear, this blog post is intended to be purely neutral and is not intended to disparage or otherwise speak poorly of either private attorneys or public defenders.  I've been...
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