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Salisbury Criminal Law Blog

What happens when you die without a will in Maryland?

Many people put off putting an estate plan in place or even a simple will. They figure that they're too young, that they don't have enough assets to bother or that their family will take care of everything if you should pass away "intestate" -- without a will.

However, by not having a will, you give up the right to decide how you want your assets to be distributed. They go into a probate estate and are distributed according to the state's intestacy succession laws.

How accurate are Breathalyzers?

If you drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel and a police officer pulls you over and believes you are drunk, he or she will likely try to assess your level of impairment using a device called a Breathalyzer. Breathalyzers estimate your blood alcohol content, and if yours is above the legal limit, you may face a charge of driving under the influence.

The penalties linked to such a charge are considerable, and they have the capacity to impact many areas of your life. With so much riding on the results of your breath test, you want to make sure the device performing the test is completely accurate and error-free. Regrettably, this is not always the case, and Breathalyzers are not foolproof. Several factors can impact their accuracy, and these might include:

Penalties for drugged driving in Maryland

Just as drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel can hinder your ability to drive, smoking marijuana may do the same. Though recreational marijuana has become legal in a number of states, Maryland is not, to date, among them, and even states that have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes have laws against driving while under the influence of it.

In Maryland, you may face specific penalties should you receive a conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana. As you might expect, the penalties associated with your conviction tend to increase in severity with each subsequent offense.

Maryland man facing 40-year sentence as 'volume dealer'

Officials in Baltimore County say they hope that a 40-year prison sentence handed down to a Maryland man will send a "strong message to others who deal large amounts of drugs.

The 33-year-old Gwynn Oak man was convicted of charges including possession with intent to distribute cocaine. A multi-jurisdictional investigation reportedly uncovered 1,036 grams of the drug that they say belonged to him. That amount qualifies him as a "volume dealer," which is anyone found in possession of more than 448 grams of the drug.

Man facing charges after going off Maryland bridge

A 26-year-old man was arrested on July 24 after he jumped or fell off the Route 50 Bridge in Ocean City. He was reportedly found hiding under the bridge. Ocean City Police arrested him for trespassing, intoxication and endangering emergency responders.

The incident began when a man who was fishing on the bridge in the middle of the night called the police to report a person whom he saw in the water "struggling to hold onto the base of the bridge," according to law enforcement.

Considerations when setting up a special needs trust

Estate planning is important for everyone who wants to ensure that their wishes are carried out after they die or if they become incapacitated. However, if you are the parent or guardian of someone with special needs, it's particularly crucial to make sure that your loved one is taken care of when you're no longer able to do so.

That's where a special needs trust comes in. It has to be set up correctly, however, to make sure that your loved one is still able to qualify for government benefits such as Medicaid and SSI.

Prosecutors seek more manpower to process body camera videos

Maryland police departments are increasingly providing their officers with body cameras. In Baltimore County alone, over 800 officers have them.

The video recorded by these cameras can help prosecutors gain important evidence. Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenber says that video evidence form body cams "helps us about 95 percent of the time."

Penalties for Maryland’s repeat DUI offenders

If law enforcement officials pull you over and you are subsequently convicted of drinking and driving in Maryland, you can expect some considerable penalties. As you might assume, these penalties tend to increase in terms of severity if you have committed the same offense before, so it is important that you understand the state’s penalties for repeat offenders who drive under the influence.

In Maryland, the term “repeat offender” refers to you if a court or judge convicts you of driving under the influence more than once within the same five-year period. Should you become a repeat offender, you can expect the following penalties.

What new parents need to include in their estate plans

Many younger adults never consider having an estate plan until they have children. If you and your spouse are thinking of working with a Maryland estate planning attorney to get your plans in place before the birth of your first child, there are a couple of key issues to think about.

One is designating a guardian for your child. It's best for the two of you to agree on the guardian(s). It's important to choose your guardian carefully. A relative or close friend may not always be the best choice. You need to consider objectively who you know who would be able to raise your child at least almost as well as you would.

Has recreational marijuana legalization increased car crashes?

The legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes is spreading across the country. Although marijuana is widely legal for medical purposes and used legally and illegally in every state, one leading insurance research group sought to quantify just how much effect legal recreational marijuana had on the number of car crashes.

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) looked at collision claims in the three states where the trend began -- Colorado, Oregon and Washington State compared with surrounding states. The data encompassed 2012 through most of 2016.

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