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Salisbury Criminal Law Blog

Why remarriage requires an updated estate plan

If you're going into a second marriage and you don't have an estate plan, now is the time to get one. If you already have one, you will need to make some changes, just as you would for most any significant life event.

When going into a second marriage, a key consideration for people who have children is ensuring that they will get a share of their estate when they die. If that's not codified, the spouse can get everything and decide not to share with the stepkids. There are a number of ways, such as trusts, that you can protect assets for your children. You may also choose to include your spouse's children in your will or set up a trust for them.

DUI driver who doesn't appear at sentencing hearing gets 50 years

A man that failed to make an appearance at his sentencing hearing back in May in his drunk driving case was finally sentenced on Friday, June 9, 2017. The judge imposed the maximum allowable sentence of 50 years in prison for causing the death of two children and three women in the 2014 Oxon Hill crash.

The defendant had been accused of both driving drunk and recklessly when he struck an Acura stopped at the Oxen Hill intersection of Livingston Road and Terrace around 9:40 p.m., on October 10, 2014. The car carried two adult sisters, a 21-year-old, and two minor children at the time. The two kids initially survived the crash, but later succumbed to their injuries at the hospital. The only survivor was the car's driver.

What does disorderly conduct mean according to Maryland law?

Do you face charges of disorderly conduct but are not even sure why? It is not uncommon for out-of-state defendants not to understand such charges, especially when they did not know that what they were doing is illegal.

Understanding what Maryland law defines as disorderly conduct can help you better fight the charges. The knowledge can also prevent another arrest in the future.

Giving the kids a bargain on your home

You're doing your estate planning, and you've decided to sell your home to one of your children, rather than leaving it in your will. This way, everything is taken care of in advance, the kids don't have to work out owning a piece of the family home, and you get the money for the house in advance.

However, you're not going to charge the child full price. You know your home is worth $400,000, but you have agreed to let it go for $200,000.

Setting up an incentive trust

You've worked hard to accumulate the wealth that you have and invested wisely. You want to leave that wealth to your children, grandchildren and other family members when you pass away. However, you don't want this new-found wealth to ruin their lives. You want to ensure that they use it to better their lives and the lives of others. How do you avoid the curse of "trust fund babies?"

There are ways to pass along you wealth as well as the values you hold dear to your family if you and your estate planning attorney take the appropriate steps. One way to do this is via an "incentive trust."

Will Justice Department changes impact Maryland drug sentencing?

Last year, Maryland lawmakers passed and Gov. Larry Hogan signed the Justice Reinvestment Act. The intent of the law, which received bipartisan support, was to lessen the number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug crimes and redirect funds to providing treatment for those convicted of these crimes.

The law was enacted during the Obama administration, which made efforts on the federal level to decrease the number of prisoners. Specifically, then-Attorney General Eric Holder instructed federal prosecutors to use their discretion regarding sentencing for drug crimes and reserve mandatory minimums for high-level drug traffickers and those who committed violent crimes.

How can you avoid a charge of resisting arrest?

If you have an encounter with the police, no matter how unfair you believe it is, it's essential to be polite and not physically or verbally threaten any officers in any way. That doesn't mean that you can't assert your legal rights. However, it's important to do so in a manner that doesn't make them feel threatened or have grounds to charge you with anything more than they may already planning to.

If you are already being arrested, and a police officer believes you are impeding that process, you may face a charge of resisting arrest in addition to the charge(s) for which you're already being arrested.

Maryland’s drug offenders need treatment, not incarceration

If you ever served time in a Maryland penitentiary, then you may be aware of just how many drug offenders occupy those prison beds. Overcrowding is a serious problem at prisons across the nation, and communities have enacted new procedures and programs aimed at reducing overcrowding while treating what is often the root of the problem: drug addiction.  

Drug courts, per the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, are programs that seek to treat your drug addiction itself because it is the addiction that often leads to additional forms of criminal behavior. These closely supervised drug treatment programs generally combine regular visits to a judge or courtroom with treatment methods aimed at helping you, the addict, kick your addiction, and studies show they have considerable positive effects. In addition to helping keep drug offenders out of jail, drug courts:

What happens if you leave the scene of a car accident in Maryland

There are so many causes of vehicular accidents that sometimes it is impossible to prevent one from happening. When you are responsible for an accident, it can catch you by surprise, leading to panic, anxiety and rash decisions. You may end up fleeing the scene due to fear.

There is lots of information available on what you should do after getting into an accident, including if the other motorist drives off. But what if you are that hit-and-run driver? What happens after the police arrest you?

What are status offenses in Maryland?

Juveniles can be detained for offenses that are not considered crimes for adults. A status offense is an activity considered harmful to minors. These generally include:

-- Consuming or possessing alcohol-- Purchasing cigarettes-- Violating curfew, which is the time by which juveniles are no longer allowed on the streets-- Truancy, which is an unexcused school absence.

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