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February 2014 Archives

Are Miranda rights required during an arrest?

What are your constitutional rights when you are placed under arrest?  Is a police officer required to read you Miranda rights when he makes an arrest? This is one of the most common questions I get from my criminal defense clients. There is a very common misconception among the general public, probably promoted by television, that a police officer is required to advise an arrestee of his Miranda rights. Many of my clients incorrectly believe that if the police did not read them Miranda rights that their case must be dismissed. However, this is not the case.

Burglaries in Ocean City, Maryland

On February 18, 2014, the Ocean City Police Department reported a rash of burglaries in Ocean City, Maryland, this winter. The thieves are targeting flat screen televisions in vacant houses, condominiums and trailers. The burglaries have occurred between 120th Street and the Delaware line. Of course, Ocean City has a plethora of vacant homes during the off-season that are easy targets for burglars. Usually, the most valuable and portable property left in these vacant homes for the winter are flat screen televisions. No suspects in the break-ins have been identified.

Constructive possession of drugs in Maryland

Can a person be charged and convicted of possession of an illegal drug, weapon or other contraband in Maryland simply because the person is present in a house, apartment, room or car where the contraband is located by the police? The short answer is yes, but not always. Possession means knowingly exercising dominion or control over a thing. Possession can be inferred from circumstantial evidence. A person can possess an object directly (on his person) or indirectly (controlled but not on person). Indirect possession is often referred to as constructive possession. Presence at the location where contraband is located is one element that may be considered in establishing possession, but it is not the only factor.  If the police observe you in a house or car where drugs are located in plain view, you could face drug charges even if the drugs don't belong to you.

Maryland Firearms Safety Act Case Scheduled for a Hearing

     The federal case challenging the constitutionality of the 2013 Maryland Firearms Safety Act is scheduled for a heairng in federal court in Baltimore on March 4, 2014.  The deadline for filing briefs was Friday.  Two gun control lobby groups filed briefs in support of the Act which is one of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country.  The law requires gun buyers to submit fingerprints and obtain handgun qualification licenses.  It also limits handgun magazines to 10 rounds and adds 45 guns to a list of banned assault weapons.

Maryland and Worcester County Lead Country in Marijuana Arrests

     The American Civil Liberties Union reported that Maryland had the third highest number of Marijuana arrests per capita among the states in 2010, the last year for which data are available. Worcester County Maryland, home of Ocean City, had the highest marijuana possession arrest rate for all races of any county in the nation with a population of at least 30,000.  The ACLU estimates that Maryland spends more than $100 million a year to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate people arrested for marijuana possession.

Judge Finds MacDonald Law Office Client Not Guilty of DUI

     A MacDonald Law Office client was recently found not guilty of all charges in a DUI trial heard in the Wicomico County District Court. A judge found the client not guilty of DUI and DWI after an hour long trial. Criminal defense attorney Andrew MacDonald represented the Client for his trial.

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