After being arrested, you may be worried that you’ll have to tell your defense attorney everything about what happened for them to be able to effectively represent you. However, this may not be the case. Here’s what you should know.
Some Attorneys Don’t Want to Know the Whole Story
While attorney-client privilege protects you from consequences should you tell your attorney the whole truth, this may not necessarily be the best course of action. Depending on your case, your lawyer may want you to keep some things under wraps, like specific details of alleged events, so they can avoid culpability themselves.
Other Lawyers Would Rather Avoid Surprises
Alternatively, some attorneys want all the information they can get their hands on so they aren’t surprised by any new information months into your defense or worse, in the courtroom.
During your initial consultation with your legal representation, ask what approach they prefer. Do your best to stay within the guidelines set by your attorney, if any. If your lawyer wants as many details as you are willing to discuss, go ahead and let them know everything, even if you think it gives the prosecution a slam-dunk case against you.
Understand What Your Attorney Can’t Do & What They Have the Responsibility to Do
If your lawyer knows that you’re guilty of a crime due to your own admission, they cannot allow you to testify to a different version of events and cannot offer evidence that supports an untrue narrative. This is often why attorneys don’t want to know for sure whether or not “you did it.” If they genuinely have no knowledge of whether or not you’re actually guilty, these standards do not apply.
If you are guilty, you may still benefit from going to trial. If the prosecutors in your case refused to offer you a fair plea deal or otherwise negated your rights during their arrest and investigation, your attorney may be able to argue for the dismissal of your case based on these merits alone.
Were You Arrested For a Crime? Get the Zealous Legal Defense You Need Today
By retaining a criminal defense lawyer quickly after your arrest, you can increase your chances of receiving a successful verdict. Your reputation and rights are at stake and you can’t afford to wait. Contact Britt Criminal Defense today to get help from an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney by calling 443-944-5705.
If you are convicted of a crime in Maryland, you may not necessarily go straight to jail. Depending on the crime you were found guilty of and your criminal history, you may be offered an alternative sentence.
An alternative sentence is a penalty designed to do less harm than jail time but provide you with an equal opportunity to become rehabilitated. Here’s what you should know about alternative sentencing in Maryland and how to get the legal help you need after being charged and convicted of a crime.
Types of Alternative Sentences
There are many different types of alternative sentences besides jail. Some of the most common include:
Conditional and unconditional suspended sentences. A judge can choose to suspend sentencing either with no stipulations, or they can suspend sentencing depending on whether or not the defendant fulfills conditions determined by the judge.
Probation. Probation allows defendants to live and work in the community under certain conditions, such as regularly reporting to a probation officer, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, etc.
Fines and restitution. Instead of jail time, you may be ordered to pay fines to the court and/or restitution to the victim.
Deferred adjudication. Deferred adjudication is similar to a conditional suspended sentence and also has some overlapping themes from probation. If the defendant fails to meet the criteria set forth by the judge, adjudication may proceed.
Community service. You may be ordered to complete a number of hours of community service in lieu of or in addition to other penalties imposed by the court.
In some cases, a judge may create a new alternative sentence for you based on the circumstances of the crime you were convicted of and the evidence available in your case. Judges in Maryland have the authority to issue creative sentences that they believe will be more effective at rehabilitating the defendant and reducing recidivism.
Get Help from a Skilled Salisbury, MD Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
At any point after being arrested for a crime, you have the right to retain legal counsel — even before you answer a single question asked by police or other law enforcement agency officers. By retaining an attorney as quickly as possible, you can increase the chances that you will be issued an alternative sentence instead of jail or prison time.
Contact Britt Criminal Defense today to get help from an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney by calling 443-944-5705.
Being charged with and convicted of a crime is frightening and many people assume they’re going to be incarcerated for at least a short period of time after all is said and done. However, this isn’t necessarily true in every case.
Some defendants are eligible for alternatives to jail time depending on the circumstances of their case. Here are some potential alternatives and how to secure trustworthy legal advocacy today.
Payment of Restitution or Fines
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or minor offense that primarily caused financial impact to the victim(s), you may be ordered to pay restitution instead of being sent to jail. Restitution is designed to compensate the victim(s) for the value of the property damaged or lost during the commission of the crime, and the court may impose punitive fines as well.
Rehabilitation for Drugs, Alcohol, or Anger Management
A judge may also order followup support for offenders who may be struggling with addiction or anger management problems. For example, a drunk driver may be ordered to attend driving safety and alcohol counseling classes, while a domestic violence offender may be required to go through extensive anger management counseling.
Serving Your Community
Community service is one of the most common alternatives to a jail sentence, especially for first-time offenders who don’t have a criminal record or were convicted of a misdemeanor. Most often, community service is ordered along with another penalty, such as the payment of fines and mandatory counseling or therapy.
House arrest is an alternative form of incarceration that involves the defendant being ordered to stay at home and wearing a special monitor that alerts law enforcement if the defendant leaves the approved area. This is generally preferable to jail time, however, not all defendants are eligible for this particular incarceration alternative. Typically, the crime must be non-violent and the defendant a first-time offender.
How to Get Help Staying Out of Jail After Being Convicted of a Crime
A seasoned criminal defense attorney is your best ally not only when it comes to reducing or eliminating the charges against you, but also petitioning for the least severe penalties if the former isn’t successful. Your lawyer can help negotiate incarceration alternatives that keep you out of jail, allowing you to continue living a relatively normal life. Contact Britt Criminal Defense for a consultation to discuss the details of your criminal case now at 443-944-5705.
It’s a common misconception that all criminal cases are treated the same way. In Maryland and other states, juvenile criminal cases have radically different sets of rules and guidelines than adult criminal cases. Here’s what you need to know to help support your child after an arrest and get the legal assistance you need.
Average Age of Juvenile Offenders
In the State of Maryland, any minor under the age of 18 is considered a juvenile for legal purposes. If they are charged with a crime, they are processed through the juvenile court system instead of the adult court system. In some cases, young defendants may be offered mental health and rehabilitation support instead of punishment.
When Underage Defendants Can Be Tried As An Adult in Maryland
Some minors may be legally considered adults during their criminal trial if they meet certain criteria. Usually, this is if the crime is very serious or violent, or if it can be clearly demonstrated that the defendant had full knowledge of the crime they were committing and had the intent to commit it. Older defendants are also more likely to be tried as an adult than younger children.
How Else Do Criminal Cases Differ Between Children and Adults?
There are many more ways that a juvenile criminal case is unlike an adult case, and you should have general knowledge of these differences to ensure your child has the best chance of receiving a favorable verdict. You should discuss with your attorney at length what to expect during your child’s proceedings.
One of the most surprising differences is that a juvenile hearing doesn’t have a jury like an adult hearing does. The courtroom is also not accessible to the public. Instead, a judge hears and considers the evidence before issuing their decision.
Another interesting dissimilarity is that the names of certain elements within the criminal process change between juvenile and adult criminal court. A juvenile is issued a petition, not a complaint, and if guilty, they are considered adjudicated instead of convicted and go through a disposition versus being sentenced.
Act Now If Your Child Is Suspected of Committing a Crime
Was your child arrested for a crime, or are they under investigation? Don’t wait to reach out to an experienced juvenile criminal defense lawyer for help advocating for their legal rights. Contact Britt Criminal Defense for a consultation to discuss the details of your child’s criminal case now at 443-944-5705.
Most seasoned lawyers actively discourage their clients from taking the stand in their criminal cases, despite what you may see in movies and on television. It’s unnecessary for the defendant to give a statement and doing so may open up more opportunities for the prosecution to weaken your case or make you appear guilty in front of the jury. Here’s how to get the legal assistance you need fighting criminal charges.
It May Be Dangerous to Be Cross Examined
If you take the stand to testify in your criminal case, this means that you are also subject to what is known as cross examination. Being cross examined can hurt your case if the prosecution is able to ask you questions that get you upset or flustered, regardless if they have very little evidence to prove their claims.
You Don’t Need to Make a Claim of Innocence
You don’t need to make a claim of innocence when you go to court to defend yourself against criminal charges, contrary to popular belief. Under the law, you are presumed innocent of the crimes you are accused of until the prosecution brings forward enough evidence to convict you beyond a reasonable doubt. For this reason, it’s usually not necessary for a defendant to testify to prove their innocence.
The Jury’s Perception of Who Has the Burden of Proof May Change
That said, jurors may still think that the defendant should actively provide evidence that they’re not the perpetrator of the crime they’re being accused of. This is often the case when a defendant offers testimony in their own defense, and it can be detrimental to your chances of a successful verdict.
Another Helpful Defense Strategy to Use Instead
A more successful defense strategy against being accused of the crime is to weaken the prosecution’s case. By omitting evidence from court, jurors will have a more difficult time proving that you committed the offense beyond a shadow of a doubt. For example, evidence obtained during an illegal search is likely dismissable.
Arrested for a Crime? A Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Your Best Defense
Waiting to get legal help after being arrested and charged with a crime can cost you your future. You need experienced advocacy to ensure that your rights are protected at all times during the Maryland criminal process. Contact Britt Criminal Defense for your initial consultation to discuss your case details now at 443-944-5705.
In a criminal case, penalties are typically decided by the severity of the crime. Generally, a criminal offense that does lesser harm to human life carries a lighter sentence than criminal offenses that do more harm.
For example, if you drink and drive with a child in your vehicle, you will likely receive a harsher punishment than if you hadn’t. In some cases, a judge cannot impose less than a mandatory minimum sentence. Here’s what you should understand.
Judges Can’t Decide to Lower Mandatory Minimum Sentences
There are two main parts of the American justice system. The first part involves determining whether a defendant is guilty or innocent. Then, their punishment must be determined during the second part. A judge can impose a variety of penalties such as incarceration, fines, and mandatory counseling in an attempt to reduce the defendant’s risk of recidivism.
They can also decide to lessen a sentence if they believe counseling would be more effective than jail time, with the exception of crimes that require the issuance of a mandatory minimum sentence. In these cases, the judge may add time to the defendant’s sentencing but may not reduce it regardless of whether or not the judge believes the sentencing is too harsh.
What Criminal Offenses in Maryland Have Mandatory Minimums?
Like many other states, Maryland law requires minimum sentences to be issued in severe criminal cases. For example, defendants facing the following charges are highly likely to also be facing a mandatory minimum sentence:
Child sex crimes
Second-time drug offenses
Certain firearms crimes
Is It Possible to Circumvent Sentencing?
A plea deal can help you circumvent a mandatory minimum sentence. In exchange for a lesser charge without a mandatory minimum sentence, you promise the prosecutor you’ll plead guilty at the start of your trial. This may seem counterintuitive, however, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you negotiate lighter penalties during the sentencing phase of your trial. Ideally, this strategy results in the least severe punishment possible in your case.
Call the Experienced Attorneys at Britt Criminal Defense Now
Your future is on the line if you’re facing criminal charges that call for a mandatory minimum sentence. It’s crucial that you start working with an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Britt Criminal Defense for your case consultation today by calling 443-944-5705. We are standing by to assist you.
There are many factors that play a role in how a crime is charged and punished if the defendant is found to be guilty. Here’s what you should know about aggravating factors that could result in a harsher penalty and what you can do to protect yourself legally.
Committing a Crime with a Deadly Weapon
If you are charged with committing any crime using a deadly weapon, such as a knife or firearm, your sentencing may be harsher if you are found guilty. For example, assault with a deadly weapon is almost always more serious than a traditional assault charge. If you commit a burglary with a gun, you could face stiffer penalties than if you had done so without the gun, whether or not the gun was used during the crime or not.
Repeat offenders usually are sentenced more harshly the second, third, or fourth time around in an attempt to deter them from recidivism. This also applies to any criminal history, even if the crime you were convicted of in the past is different from the one you are being charged with now.
Hate crimes are taken more seriously now than ever before and those accused of committing a hate-motivated crime may be facing prison time and thousands of dollars in fines. Any crime that a person is found guilty of that targeted a protected group, such as those of a particular race or sexual orientation, can automatically face aggravated sentencing as a result.
Crimes committed against traditionally vulnerable people are usually also treated more seriously and can result in harsher penalties if you’re convicted. For example, children, the disabled, and the elderly are generally considered to be more vulnerable than the average person, and crimes committed against them therefore considered more egregious.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Some crimes — usually violent crimes or those that cause serious damages — have what is called a mandatory minimum sentence. This means that regardless of the circumstances surrounding the crime, the judge must impose at least the minimum sentence, which must be served by the defendant before being considered for parole.
When to Get Legal Help After an Arrest
Don’t wait after being arrested for a serious crime to get legal help. Protect your rights by acting immediately and securing experienced criminal defense representation with Britt Criminal Defense. Call today at 443-944-5705.
If you were arrested for a crime, you will be arraigned. Your arraignment, which is a type of hearing, should occur as soon as is reasonable under your Constitutional rights to a speedy trial and be informed of the charges against you.
Here’s what to expect at your arraignment and how to get the legal help you need after being charged with a criminal offense.
The Court Advises You of the Charges
First, you will be told what the charges against you are. In many cases, the defendant will be surprised to hear additional charges beyond what they were arrested for. This may be the case if police searched your property after your arrest and found evidence they could use against you.
You Will Enter Your Plea
After being informed of the charges, you’ll be asked how you plead: guilty, not guilty, or no contest. How you plead at the arraignment hearing can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case, including the length of your sentence if convicted.
Your Bail Amount Will Be Set
At this time, the amount of your bail, if any, will be set. Depending on the crime you are accused of, you may or may not be eligible for bail. Whether or not you are allowed bail is up to the judge in charge of your case. There are a number of factors that go into what your bail amount will be set at, including the charges against you, your flight risk, and whether or not you have a lawyer present at the arraignment.
Your Next Hearing Date(s) Will Be Set
At the end of the hearing, the dates of your next court appearances will be set. You must attend this hearing at the specified date and time, regardless of if you are out on bail or remained in the custody of police.
Should You Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney?
A criminal defense attorney plays an important role at the arraignment. Your lawyer can help you decide which plea is in your best interests based on available evidence and can help you negotiate a lower bail amount. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until after your arraignment to contact a lawyer.
Britt Criminal Defense has extensive experience representing a variety of criminal cases and can provide the aggressive legal advocacy you need. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss the details of your case by calling 443-944-5705.
Being arrested can be a frightening and life-altering experience. Here are some answers to the top questions we get asked about being arrested by police officers in Maryland.
1. Can I Be Arrested Without a Warrant?
To legally arrest you, one or more of these things must be true:
The police witnessed you committing a crime or have reasonable evidence that you did commit a crime
The police have a warrant for your arrest
If law enforcement officers do not have probable cause to detain you nor a warrant for your arrest, any attempt to place you in police custody may be unlawful.
2. Does an Officer Have to Inform Me Why I’m Being Arrested?
No matter what crime you are being accused of, every U.S. citizen has the right to be informed that they are being detained and the grounds on which they are being arrested. A police officer may wait to do this only until it is practicable. If you were not informed of the reason for your arrest until much later, your arrest may have been unlawful.
3. Can a Police Officer Search Me or My Home Without a Warrant?
An officer must have either a warrant to search your person or property or probable cause. In this case, probable cause refers to the reasonable conclusion that a crime was likely committed on or in the property. If the police do not have a warrant and request to search you, ask if they have probable cause. If they don’t, inform them that you do not consent to a search.
4. What Do I Do If a Police Officer Lied About Me On Their Report?
Unfortunately, officers lie on police reports often to paint a picture of what happened that is more favorable for the officer. This can sometimes be difficult to prove, but you may be able to do so if you have video, audio, written, or pictorial proof that what the officer put on the police report was inaccurate.
5. Do I Need a Lawyer If I’m Arrested?
Fighting criminal charges on your own in Maryland is next to impossible. It’s much more difficult to argue your innocence and present compelling evidence to dispel the charges you’re being accused of without the help of a criminal defense attorney.
Contact Britt Criminal Defense Today
Don’t wait after being arrested for a crime to reach out to an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer. Contact Britt Criminal Defense today to learn more about how to protect your legal rights after an arrest and defend yourself against criminal charges. Call now at 443-944-5705.
Law enforcement officers may ask to perform a home search if they suspect there is evidence within the home that is related to a crime, or if they suspect that a crime has been or is being committed in the home. What rights do you have to refuse a search of your home? Here’s what you should know.
Who Has the Right to Consent to a Home Search
Very few people have the legal right to consent for a home search to be performed, such as:
The Homeowner or Property Renter
If you own or rent the home the police are intending to search, you may legally consent to it. That said, this isn’t necessarily a wise choice since any evidence obtained can be used against you.
A Resident of the Home
If there are adult residents who also live in the home, such as your partner or spouse, they may also provide legal consent to police officers who wish to search your domicile if you are not available.
Police officers who wish to enter a home may ask an older child for consent to do so if they believe the child is of age and cognitive ability to understand the matter at hand and agree to let them in.
Roommates are also able to provide consent for law enforcement to perform a legal search of a domicile, however, they may not consent for all spaces within that domicile. For example, a roommate of yours may allow shared spaces like the kitchen and living room to be searched, as well as their own bedroom, but they cannot provide legal consent for police to search your private space or the private space of other roommates.
Who May Not Consent to a Home Search
Anyone not listed above may not give legal consent to the search of a domicile. They may consent and the police may search, however, that doesn’t mean that it’s legal or that any evidence found can be used against you. Among those who cannot consent to a search of your home include:
Maintenance or housekeeping.
Arrested After a Home Search? Call a Criminal Defense Attorney Now
Don’t wait to get legal help after being arrested following a police search of your domicile. Your future, reputation, and criminal record are on the line.
Call Britt Criminal Defense today for more information or to book your consultation at 443-944-5705.