The Maryland criminal defense lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton have been protecting the rights of the accused since the 1980s. We understand that the legal process can be both lengthy and complicated, and we have the experience, knowledge, and ability to guide you through it smoothly and successfully. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor, felony, or DUI, our experienced team of criminal defense lawyers has what it takes to give you a decisive edge in the defense of your criminal/DUI case.
Whether you have just been charged, preparing for trial, in the discovery process, or considering an appeal, going at it alone creates the potential for disappointment and disaster.
So, if you have been accused of a crime, charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or any other traffic offense, make sure you speak to one of our Maryland criminal defense lawyers before you talk to anyone else. You have the right to consult with an attorney before giving a statement to anyone, including the police. Exercise your rights! Call 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense Cases
The most common ways to secure the pre-trial release of an individual charged with a crime is by means of either bail or bond.
Bail is generally defined as a sum of money or some other valuable that is paid or pledged to the court to ensure that the individual will appear for trial. The amount of the bail depends on a number of factors including the nature of the alleged crime, the individual’s ties with the community and whether the individual is employed. Generally, a person charged is required to post the entire amount of the bail prior to release.
In those cases where a person does not have the financial resources to post bail, he or she may contact a bail bondsman to arrange for placement of a bail bond. A bail bond is a financial commitment to the court to ensure that a person will appear for trial. It is arranged through the services of a bail bondsman. The bondsman charges a fee for his services, generally 10% of the amount of the posted bond.
Remember, unlike bail, which is returned when the individual charged with a crime appears for trial, a bond fee is for services rendered by the bondsman and is not refundable. This is so even if the charges are dropped or the individual charged is found innocent.
All crimes are serious. Felonies are considered to be the most serious crimes and include such offenses as murder, armed robbery and most burglaries. Felonies generally carry heavy punishment, usually more than a year in jail, and have other consequences including restrictions on voting as well as a negative impact on employment. Misdemeanors are considered less serious crimes but have no less serious consequences. Misdemeanor offenses such as theft, shoplifting and check fraud can still result in a lengthy jail sentence.
Even if you intend to plead guilty, you should at least consult with an attorney. An attorney can analyze your case and advise you of any defenses you may have. An attorney will advise you of any rights you give up by pleading guilty. At the very least, an attorney can help you make the best possible presentation to the court for leniency by presenting mitigation evidence.
The better question is, can you afford not to have an attorney? Remember, LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. offers free initial in-office consultations and the flexibility of payment plans. Before you decide that you can’t afford an attorney and that you have to go it alone, call us. One of our experienced criminal defense attorneys will meet you for a frank discussion of your case. You’ve got nothing to lose … and a great deal to gain.
That depends upon the type of case you need to file. A Chapter 7 for a single person costs less than a Chapter 7 case for a couple. A Chapter 13 case is more complicated than a Chapter 7 case and thus more expensive. However, payment plans are offered by my office and, in fact, are often a component of Chapter 13 cases. Our office does have a set schedule it charges for these cases, and an explanation of what our fee will be and what type of bankruptcy case we believe is best for you will occur during your free initial consultation. No one is required to hire us during the initial consultation; we will advise you which type of bankruptcy we recommend, what it will generally cost you to file, and we will send you a retainer agreement in the mail so that you can consider at home if this is right for you.
The courts treat all alcohol-related driving offenses, even first offenses, as serious matters. Many first offenders ignore this and attempt to represent themselves, often with disastrous results. Remember, anytime a person is charged with an offense, even a traffic offense that could result in jail time, a lawyer should be consulted.
Under Maryland’s “Administrative Per Se” Statute, if a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol, and that person takes either a breath or blood test for alcohol concentration with test results of .08 or above (expressed as grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath or 100 milliliters of blood), that person is subject to administrative sanctions and faces loss of driving privileges.
Procedurally, when the test results are .08 or above (or when a person refuses to take a test for alcohol concentration), the arresting police officer, acting on behalf of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, is authorized to confiscate the driver’s “card” license and issue a temporary license. This temporary license is effective for a period of 45 days from the date of issue. On the 46th day, the driver’s license privileges are suspended FOR ALL PURPOSES. The length of the suspension can vary depending on the driver’s alcohol concentration test results and certain other factors, including whether or not the driver refused to take a test for alcohol concentration, but in any event the suspension will be for no less than 45 days and can be for considerably more.
In some cases, a driver may qualify for a “restricted” license. A restricted license authorizes a driver to drive for limited purposes only, such as for employment. But beware … a restricted license is not automatic. The driver must specifically request a hearing before an administrative law judge and at that hearing present evidence to support the request for a restricted license.
In the alternative, a driver may request a hearing to contest ANY suspension of his or her driving privileges. Generally, the hearing must be requested in writing within 10 days of the date that the temporary license is issued.
You should note that there is a fee in connection with an administrative hearing. At this time, that fee is $125.00, and a check in that amount must accompany a hearing request.
In some cases, a driver may avoid a suspension by electing to have an ignition interlock installed on his or her vehicle. An ignition interlock, known generally as a “blow and go,” performs several functions, but primarily it will prevent a car from starting when the device detects alcohol in a driver’s breath sample. If the interlock is authorized, it must remain on a vehicle for at least a year, and the sanctioned driver is authorized to operate ONLY interlock-equipped vehicles for at least a year. All costs in connection with the interlock, including installation and monthly maintenance, fall on the driver.
As you can see, administrative hearings are serious matters. If you go it alone, you may wind up without a license. And just take a moment to think about what loss of your license privileges might mean not only for you, but for your family as well. Call us today for a free consultation. We will analyze your case, present your options to you, and we will represent you at an administrative hearing. Don’t take your license privileges for granted, and don’t put them at risk. Call us today.
The answer to this question depends on the details of your particular case and your driving record. Remember, in most cases a person cannot be compelled to take a breath or blood test for alcohol concentration; however, the consequences for not taking a test can be very serious. Under Maryland’s “implied consent” law, a first refusal can result in a suspension of ALL driving privileges for 120 days. And unlike the driver who elects to take a test for alcohol concentration, a driver who refuses to take a test is not eligible for a restricted license. In fact, the only recourse that driver may have is to elect to have the ignition interlock installed on his or her vehicle. But this driver, too, can contest the imposition of ANY sanctions. He or she does have the right to request an administrative hearing and at that hearing show cause why there should be no license suspension at all. Should you request a hearing in your case? We can analyze the facts of your case and the applicable law to help you decide. Remember, there are specific time limits for requesting a hearing, so call us today.
Yes, if you request the opportunity to speak with an attorney prior to taking the test the police must allow you that opportunity so long as it does not interfere with the timely administration of the test.
Many first offenders are offered a disposition of Probation before Judgment [PBJ]. This is a favorable disposition because the court stays the finding of guilt, thus avoiding the assessment of points on your Maryland driving record or criminal record. However, in most cases the court will also place the offender on supervised probation for perhaps as long as a 3-year period. During probation, the offender will be periodically required to report to a probation officer called a monitor, may be required to undergo alcohol counseling or treatment and may even be required to abstain from the consumption of alcoholic beverages altogether.
Most first offenders are not incarcerated. Subsequent offenders typically are incarcerated for some period of time depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the offense. Remember, being charged with DUI is not the same as being convicted of DUI. The experienced Baltimore defense lawyers of LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will carefully analyze your case for any and all available defenses. You should expect aggressive representation from any lawyer you choose. The lawyers of LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton in Baltimore, Maryland will FIGHT FOR YOU.