If you have been charged with a crime or arrested in Salisbury, Ocean City, or anywhere else on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, you need to find an experienced, local criminal defense attorney to aggressively defend you against the charges. Andrew and Cynthia MacDonald have been practicing criminal law on Maryland's Eastern Shore for 20 years. We know the local procedures, police officers, prosecutors, and judges. We can use our extensive criminal law experience to accurately advise you on your options and prepare your defense.
Andrew MacDonald's practice is focused primarily on criminal defense. Cynthia MacDonald also practices in other areas such as estate planning, general civil litigation, business transactions and personal injury.
What is a Defense Attorney?
A criminal defense attorney plays an important role throughout the entire criminal proceedings. From the initial consultation with their client to representing them in court and post-trial activities, a competent defense attorney should be able to provide effective legal counsel from start to finish.
At first, a criminal defense lawyer will typically meet with their client and discuss the case details. The lawyer needs to review all of the facts related to the case and explain the possible consequences that may result from it. During this stage, they will also help advise their client on how they should plead: guilty or not guilty. The defense lawyer needs to provide honest advice about what actions could lead to a lesser sentence or even dismissal of charges.
However, the defense attorney may negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor, who may be willing to reduce or eliminate charges or offer more lenient sentencing options for a guilty plea. If an agreement cannot be reached, the attorney can advocate for their client’s rights in court and present evidence that could lead to acquittal or a reduction in charges and penalties. Their job is to make sure their clients understand the possible consequences of entering a guilty plea and work to get the best deal possible.
When the trial begins, a criminal defense attorney's job is to make sure their client receives a fair and just outcome. This includes providing evidence that can show their client was not guilty, or at least did not act with malicious intent. The lawyer must also build an effective closing argument that will convince the court of the client's innocence. Furthermore, they may be responsible for filing any appropriate motions during the pre-trial phase and making objections on behalf of their client during the trial itself.
Finally, after the verdict has been announced, a criminal defense attorney may advise clients on possible post-trial activities such as appeals or petitions for leniency. If necessary, they may even represent their client in these proceedings as well.
What We Can Do for You
As former assistant state's attorneys, we have the criminal law knowledge and experience to prepare a strong defense. We often forward our office calls to our cellphone on nights and weekends so you can reach us anytime. When you need a lawyer, you can turn to our law firm with confidence.
Our firm provides defense representation for all types of criminal cases from misdemeanors to felonies in Maryland including:
- DUI and DWI
- Drug charges (drug possession, distribution, trafficking, importation, prescription fraud, etc.)
- Violent and gun crimes (assault, felon firearm possession, etc.)
- Domestic violence (spousal abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, etc.)
- Theft crimes (burglary, shoplifting, property crimes, etc.)
- Sex crimes (sexual assault, prostitution, indecent exposure, etc.)
- White collar crimes (fraud, embezzlement, etc.)
- Technology crimes (child pornography, cellphone harassment, etc.)
- Traffic offenses (leaving the scene, driving while suspended, commercial vehicle citations, etc.)
- Juvenile offenses (any allegations against minors)
We carefully assess all options for helping our clients achieve their overall goals, including avoiding jail time, keeping their driver's licenses and other important work qualifications, and keeping their criminal records clean. We are prepared to defend you at trial if necessary, but we will also aggressively pursue a dismissal or the best plea offer we can.
Review of Maryland’s Criminal Defense Law
Criminal defense law covers many aspects, which go beyond the criminal justice procedure. The following are some of the most common criminal charges in Maryland and their resultant penalties.
- Alcohol Related Crimes. These crimes can either be charged as misdemeanors or felonies.
- Fraud and Financial Crimes. These felonies are commonly referred to as white collar crimes. They do not involve felonies and include fraud, federal fraud, money laundering, identity theft, bankruptcy fraud, and unemployment insurance fraud.
- Property Crimes. These are basically offenses against public or private property. They include larceny, burglary, domestic assault, and arson.
Getting arrested on a criminal conviction is a serious matter, which has long-term consequences. Maryland's criminal defense law protects you from unreasonable arrests. You can still enjoy your civil rights even if you are arrested. The arresting officers should have an arrest warrant before they put you into custody. Nonetheless, it is not advisable to interfere with the law enforcement officers' attempt to carry out a lawful arrest since it might land you in more trouble.
When you get charged with a criminal offense, it means that you are formally under an accusation. Once the prosecutor receives a police report, he/she will make an autonomous decision as to whether charges need to be formally filed or not. The prosecutor can also enlist the assistance of distinguished citizens who will serve as grand jurors.
When you get charged with a criminal offense, it is recommended to hire a private attorney. You should keep in mind that to successfully mount a criminal defense on your own, you must have thorough knowledge about the law. This alone makes it almost impossible to win the case without enlisting the services of an attorney.
Defense Strategies for All Criminal Charges in Maryland
If you are facing a criminal charge, you need to get started working on your defense right away since that allows you more preparation time than if you just wait until the last minute.
We understand the Maryland criminal justice system. We can help you learn about your options for pleas. We can also help you learn about possible deals and defense strategies. You deserve to be informed since the criminal justice proceedings affect your life.
No matter what type of charge you are facing, you should understand that there are potentially serious penalties you may face if you are convicted. Some people might be facing fines, incarceration, probation, and community service for crimes like thefts, child pornography, DUIs, DWIs, drug possession, assault, rape, embezzlement, prostitution, harassment, domestic abuse or felony firearm possession.
We can also help people who are seeking expungement and those who are facing charges in the juvenile justice system. These types of cases require special consideration and preparation.
Extensive Local Criminal Law Experience
Both Andrew and Cynthia MacDonald were criminal prosecutors right here in Wicomico County. As former criminal prosecutors, we handled tough criminal cases appearing in court virtually every day of the week. Andrew MacDonald served as assistant state's attorney for Wicomico County for more than 10 years, prosecuting every type of criminal case from DUI to murder with more than 100 jury trials under his belt. As a criminal prosecutor for 10 years, until he resigned in 2006, Andrew MacDonald actually litigated trials in more cases than many defense lawyers try in their entire careers.
Focused on Client Communication
The criminal justice system is a frightening process for many people. Andrew and Cynthia MacDonald recognize that in-person communication with your criminal defense lawyer is important to you. When you retain the MacDonald Law Office, LLC, to represent you or a family member in a criminal case, either Andrew or Cynthia MacDonald (depending on your preference) will personally handle the case from the initial consultation to the final appearance in court. Unlike large metropolitan firms, you will not be handed off to a paralegal or a lesser experienced associate. We strive to always be available to promptly address our clients' questions and concerns either in person, by email or on the telephone.
Advise. Advocate. Defend.
We have three goals for our clients:
- Advisor: to be your personal advisor and guide you through the criminal justice system while keeping you fully informed about the process
- Advocate: to be your aggressive advocate to get you the best outcome possible for your criminal charges
- Defender: to defend your rights from abuse by the police, the prosecutor and the court
Addressing the Needs of Specific Groups
Though the bulk of our criminal defense practice is devoted to defending local Maryland residents, including those in white collar professions who need to carefully protect their reputation, there are several other categories of clients whom we also represent on a regular basis:
- College students: There are potentially some serious long-term consequences for students who are convicted of crimes such as DUI, and we provide a vigorous defense.
- Vacationers: We represent many people who get caught up in the criminal justice system while visiting in Ocean City, Assateague Island National Seashore and other vacation destinations.
If you fall into one of these categories, we can help you to learn your options and work through your case.
Criminal Defense Can Include Factors Used for Sentencing
Once you are convicted of a criminal charge, you will have to face the sentencing portion of the case. This usually takes place shortly after the conviction in minor cases, such as misdemeanors. In some felony cases, there might be another hearing at which the sentencing takes places.
There are several things that are considered when you are sentenced for a conviction. These include your criminal history, whether the crime involved another person under duress or not, whether you were the main participant or an accomplice, any injuries, any cruelty, and your remorse for your actions.
The judge will usually consider the prosecution's recommendation for a sentence. Any character witnesses you call on your behalf, and the probation department's pre-sentence report are all usually considered while the judge is determining the sentence.
In most cases, the judge has a wide range of penalties from which to choose. There are some exceptions to this, such as when there is a mandatory minimum sentence. It is important to understand these guidelines before your sentencing hearing since they can have a big impact on what penalties you are going to face.
Typically, the judge can sentence you to pay fines, serve time in prison, or spend time on probation. Community service is another option that is sometimes used.
If you don't understand the possible sentences that you face for a criminal act, you should find out this information as soon as possible. Having your questions answered in advance regarding sentencing and what factors influence it could help you to plan your defense before you take your case to trial.
We're Former Prosecutors Focused on Defending You Against Criminal Charges. Call (410) 348-7809 Today.
Whatever your specific circumstances, do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your options with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. We have offices in both Salisbury and Ocean City, Maryland.
We represent our clients in a wide range of situations.
We value you and will protect your rights.
Our Attorneys deal personally and directly with our clients.
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