Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving Maryland
A criminal conviction can change your life forever. When you are arrested for suspicion of a criminal violation and charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you need to start thinking about how you can defend yourself immediately.
Your choice of criminal defense attorney is one of the most important decisions you will make.
The Baltimore criminal defense lawyers at McBride Bishop Law Group share more than 75 years of combined legal experience. We offer skilled, aggressive representation for individuals facing charges of DUI/DWI, traffic offenses, drug crimes, violent crimes, and other offenses.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, call McBride Bishop Law Group now at (410) 390-3101. Our office serves clients throughout Maryland, including Baltimore, Ocean City, and other areas.
Maryland enforces two types of drunk driving charges: Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Impaired (DWI).
DUI charges punish drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08% for operating a vehicle, while DWI charges punish drivers who are under the effects of alcohol at all, even if they are below the legal limit.
Every time you drink and drive, you run the risk of getting pulled over. If you are stopped and arrested on suspicion of DUI or DWI, you could face severe penalties, including the suspension of your license, heavy fines, and jail time.
If you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI):
- For a first offense, you face up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. Twelve (12) points will be assessed on your driving record and your license may be revoked for up to six (6) months.
- For a second offense, you face a $2,000 fine and up to two years imprisonment (with a mandatory minimum of five days). Twelve (12) points will be assessed on your license and your license may be revoked for up to one year.
- For two convictions within five years, a mandatory period of suspension will be followed by a minimum required period of participation in the Ignition Interlock Program.
- You may be required to participate in an alcohol abuse assessment and program.
If you are convicted of Driving While Impaired by Alcohol (DWI):
- For a first DWI offense, you face up to a $500 fine and up to two months imprisonment. Eight (8) points will be assessed on your driving record, and you face a 6-month license suspension. If this conviction is the result of a driver under 21, you will face a 1-year suspension.
- For a second DWI offense, you face up to a $500 fine and up to one-year imprisonment. Eight (8) points will be assessed on your driving record, and you face a license suspension of 9 to 12 months. If this conviction is the result of a driver under 21, you will face a 2-year suspension.
Ignition Interlock is a device that is installed in vehicles that prevents drivers from operating the vehicle while impaired by alcohol. The driver must blow into the device and if his or her breath alcohol level exceeds the accepted level set on the device, the vehicle will not start. When installed, interlocks are associated with about a 70% reduction in arrest rates for impaired driving.
The 2011 Drunk Driving Reduction Act, implemented on October 1, 2011, expanded Maryland’s Ignition Interlock program by requiring more drivers to participate. Participants in this program must have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in their vehicle, obtain an ignition interlock restricted license, and must successfully complete their assigned period of participation before they may regain full licensure.
You will be required to go to Court for the citation(s) that were issued for an impaired driving offense. If you are found guilty of the violation, a record of the conviction will be posted to your driving record and points will be assessed.
Once the points have been assessed, if you have accumulated between 8 and 11 points within a two-year period, your driver’s license will be suspended. For an accumulation of 12 or more points, your license will be revoked. You may request a hearing or, in some cases, be eligible to opt into the Ignition Interlock Program.
The consequences of a DUI conviction can linger for years, and affect almost every aspect of your life. It is in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney to protect your rights and best interests.
The accomplished DUI lawyers at McBride Bishop Law Group know how frightening it can be to face a DUI charge in Maryland. We have built a reputation for aggressively defending the rights of our clients and working tirelessly to obtain positive results.
The consequences of a traffic offense can have a significant impact on your life. Depending on the details of your case, our attorneys may be able to eliminate or reduce the fines and penalties associated with traffic tickets, traffic citations, and violations involving but not limited to:
- Reckless driving
- Aggressive driving
- Driving while suspended
- Driving without a license
- Commercial Driver License (CDL) violations
The traffic offense lawyers at McBride Bishop Law Group know how to achieve the best possible results for Baltimore traffic tickets and violations. We will work vigorously to get your fines and penalties waived or reduced.
Drug crimes are among the most common and serious criminal charges brought against Marylanders. Although Maryland has “decriminalized” some minor marijuana charges, these charges still carry monetary fines. For example, individuals are now permitted to use medical cannabis with a prescription, and possessing a small amount of marijuana is treated as a civil offense that carries only a $100 fine.
However, possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana is prosecuted as a criminal offense, and it is still illegal to possess any amount of “hard” drugs, such as heroin or cocaine.
Our drug crime lawyers know how even a minor drug conviction can affect your life and the lives of your family. We also understand that good people make honest mistakes. Our firm will work to help you achieve the best outcome in your case and protect you from unnecessary penalties and fines.
Depending on the details of the individual case, property crimes can be misdemeanors or felonies. The charges and penalties for these crimes vary, based on what was destroyed or stolen and how much it was worth.
If convicted of a property crime, you may be facing jail or prison time, fines, restitution, probation, community service, and other legal ramifications. Offenses such as arson and burglary can often carry more serious penalties because they may involve the risk of severe injury and death or serious violations of other people’s property rights.
The criminal defense attorneys at McBride Bishop Law Group represent individuals charged with a range of property crimes, including:
- Motor vehicle theft
- Malicious destruction of property (MDOP)
Because of the potential severity of penalties associated with property crimes, it is crucial to have someone in your corner who will stand up for you and present the best possible case in your defense. Our criminal defense lawyers will work diligently to protect your rights and freedom.
Violent crimes carry some of the highest penalties, and violent offenders are often sentenced to time in prison. If you are facing violent crime charges, the Baltimore criminal defense lawyers at McBride Bishop Law Group will work to get penalties reduced and keep you out of jail. We help clients charged with violent crimes such as:
- Abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults
- Child Abuse
- Domestic Violence
- Sex Crimes
- Attempted Murder
Some of these violent crimes are among the most serious criminal charges an individual can face. Our attorneys will stand by you at every stage of the legal process and work aggressively to fight the charges of these serious crimes.
Gun and Weapons Crimes
Cases involving firearms and weapons are handled aggressively by prosecutors. Our Maryland criminal defense lawyers may be able to challenge the ability of the State to prove the possession of the firearm or weapon and get the charge dropped or dismissed.
Some of the guns and weapons charges our firm handles include:
- Wear, Carry, Transport of Handgun
- Firearm Drug Trafficking
- Firearm possession by a convicted felon
- Improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon
- Possessing a firearm at a school
The investigation of fingerprints and DNA can make defending against weapons charges very complicated. It is important to speak with an attorney who knows how to protect your rights and future.
Because it involves children, who are not always as culpable for the crimes they commit, the juvenile justice system focuses primarily on the rehabilitation of minors.
If your child is facing criminal charges, our Baltimore juvenile crime attorneys can work to prevent the courts from taking unnecessary steps to move your child through juvenile detention and juvenile probation for minor missteps or offenses. Although these charges are often sealed to minimize their effects on a child’s future, continued involvement in the juvenile justice system can carry negative consequences.
If, after ordering an investigation and holding a hearing, the court finds that an individual under the age of 18 is not a fit subject for juvenile rehabilitative measures, the court may waive its jurisdiction over the child if he or she meets certain age or offense criteria. For purposes of waiver, the court must assume that the child actually committed the offenses in the petition.
Additionally, if a child who’s juvenile jurisdiction has been waived previously comes before the juvenile court on a new offense, the court may waive its jurisdiction without a hearing.
The juvenile court “does not have jurisdiction over” various age/offense categories, unless the adult criminal court waives its jurisdiction and transfers the case to the juvenile court.
If a child meets age/offense criteria for exclusion, all other charges against the child arising out of the same incident are also heard in adult criminal court.
- Capitol offense – minimum age 14: Crime punishable by death or life imprisonment
- Murder offense – minimum age 16: Second degree murder or the attempt, manslaughter
- Person offense – minimum age 16: Abduction, kidnapping, first degree assault, armed robbery or the attempt, second degree rape, second and third degree sexual offenses in violation of specified statutes, attempted rape, attempted second degree sexual assault, carjacking and armed carjacking
- Weapon offense – minimum age 16: Certain firearms violations, including wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun on the person or in a vehicle without a permit; possessing or using a machine gun for aggressive purposes or in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a crime of violence; violating restrictions on the transfer, sale, or possession of regulated firearms; knowingly possessing, selling, or transferring a stolen regulated firearm; possessing a short-barreled rifle or shotgun; and using, wearing, carrying, or transporting firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime
When individuals under the age of 18 are criminally charged as adults in Maryland, the defendant has the right to ask the adult court to “waive” the defendant back to juvenile court in what is known as a Reverse Waiver.
A court with criminal jurisdiction over a case may waive it’ jurisdiction and transfer the child to juvenile court the transfer is found to be “in the interests of the child or society.”
The law specifies various factors that must be considered in making a reverse waiver determination. However, the court may not transfer the case of a child who:
- Has been previously convicted of an excluded offense
- Has been previously transferred/waived to juvenile court and adjudicated delinquent
- Is accused of first degree murder and was at least 16 at the time of commission.
Parole and Probation Violations
People who are convicted of serious crimes in Maryland do not always go to prison. Additionally, not all prisoners serve their full sentences behind bars. In some cases, judges sentence offenders to probation, allowing individuals to remain free in the community. Once someone has served a period of time in prison, he or she may be eligible for early release or parole.
A parole and probation lawyer at McBride Bishop Law Group can help you seek to obtain probation or parole. We can also defend against allegations that you have violated the terms of your release.
While on probation or parole in Maryland, you must abide by the specific conditions of your release. These rules and regulations may require you to:
- Report to a probation or parole agent
- Secure and maintain employment
- Obtain permission from a probation or parole agent before leaving the state, moving, or changing jobs
- Undergo periodic, random drug testing
- Undergo drug or alcohol treatment, if appropriate
- Not own or possess a gun or other dangerous weapon
- Obey the law
- Meet other terms and conditions of a sentence, such as performing community service or paying fines
If you are accused of violating the conditions of your release, you may face a parole or probation revocation hearing. Our attorneys can help you address these matters and fight for the best outcome in your situation.
Expungement and Sealed Records
Expungement is used to destroy old criminal charges to prevent them from showing up on criminal background checks and being used against you when seeking employment, loans, or other benefits. If you have older criminal charges on your record, you may be eligible for expungement.
Our knowledgeable legal team can work to get your old records expunged and sealed in Maryland. Generally speaking, criminal convictions must be a few years old in order to be expunged and sealed. Additionally, in most cases, all fines must be paid and all sentences must have been served to get a conviction expunged from your record. Our attorneys will help you understand the expungement process and explain your rights and legal options.
Criminal Hearings and Trials in Maryland
Criminal cases are often extremely complex and can take months to complete as they pass through the court system. In addition to a potential court date, a case may involve multiple hearings before the trial. The criminal defense lawyers at McBride Bishop Law Group can provide exceptional legal guidance at every stage of the legal process.
Arraignments are typically conducted within 24 hours of arrest or at the first available court date. At an arraignment, you will be informed of the charges against you and bail will be set. You will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty and if you are charged with a felony, the date for a preliminary hearing will be set. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, a trial date will be set.
The Preliminary Hearing
A preliminary hearing is conducted to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial. During this hearing, prosecutors and police will work to establish that there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that you committed the crime. This is your criminal defense attorney’s opportunity to challenge the evidence in the case and get it dismissed right away if the evidence is weak.
The Bail Hearing
Under Maryland’s bail system, criminal defendants are released from jail in exchange for money that the court holds until the criminal proceedings are resolved. This money is used as financial leverage to prevent individuals from fleeing the jurisdiction. If you fail to appear for your court hearing, you lose the money and are given even more criminal charges.
There is no guarantee you will be bailed. A number of factors are considered when determining eligibility for bail; and if bail is permitted, under what conditions. These factors include:
- Recommendation of Pretrial Release Services Program
- The nature and circumstances of the offense charged, the nature of the evidence against the defendent, and the potential sentence upon conviction
- The defendant’s prior record of appearance at court proceedings or flight to avoid prosecution or failure to appear at court proceedings
- The defendant’s family ties, employment status and history, financial resources, reputation, character and mental condition, length of residence in the community, and length of residence in this state
- Any request made for the reasonable protection for the safety of an alleged victim
- Any recommendation of an agency that conducts pretrial release investigations
- Any information presented by the State’s Attorney
- Any information presented by the defendant or defendant’s attorney
- The danger of the defendant to an alleged victim, another person, or the community
- The danger of the defendant to himself or herself
- Any other factor bearing on the risk of a willful failure to appear and the safety of each alleged victim, another person, or the community, including all prior convictions and any prior adjudications of delinquency that occurred within three years of the date the defendant is charged as an adult
The bail system offers the ability to retain employment and care for your family during the legal process. Our criminal defense attorneys understand the importance of being released on bail and work aggressively to ensure that our clients are given this opportunity.
The Suppression Hearing
The prosecution’s evidence is critical to the outcome of a criminal case. If the police did not have a warrant when they searched you or your property, if they illegally seized evidence, or obtained a confession illegally, that evidence can—and should— be blocked from being presented at trial. This could lead to your case being dismissed if evidence suppression leaves the prosecution without adequate evidence against you. Our Baltimore criminal defense lawyers will meticulously examine every aspect of your case and protect your rights when any evidence against you is obtained illegally.
If your case is not dismissed or dropped before trial, your attorney will fight on your behalf before a judge and jury. In a jury trial, your case is decided by a jury of your peers, based on whether or not they believe the prosecution has proven every element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Legal victories are not given; they are earned. At McBride Bishop Law Group, our criminal defense attorneys work tirelessly to protect the rights of our clients and fight against the charges made against them. We prepare every case thoroughly and fight aggressively to achieve favorable outcomes for those we represent.
The Sentencing Hearing
In the event of a conviction, your lawyer will work to have the charges against you reduced and potentially achieve a sentence of probation rather than time in jail. If you successfully adhere to the conditions of your probation, such as remaining free of further crimes, passing drug tests, and checking in with a probation agent, you will be able to continue to work and tend to your family.
What to Do If You are Charged with a Crime in Baltimore
If you have been charged with a crime by the police, it is critical that you seek the assistance of a reputable Baltimore criminal defense lawyer immediately. Do not wait to obtain legal counsel. The hours that follow an arrest can be crucial to your case; the sooner you secure legal representation, the better.
Following an arrest, a prosecutor has 48 hours in which to determine whether or not to file charges against you. If the prosecution chooses to file charges, you must appear in court.
Do Not Make a Statement to Police
Do not, under any circumstances, speak with the police without your lawyer present. Exercise your right to remain silent; you are not required to provide the police with information. Immediately ask for a lawyer to guide you through this process. Do not make any statements without the counsel of your attorney.
Any confession you give or information you offer that pertains to a crime can be used against you in court. Unfortunately, defendants often believe that if they are innocent of the charges against them, there is no risk in speaking with police, but this is not true. You may inadvertently mention something that will harm your case. Wait for your attorney before making any statements.
Why Choose McBride Bishop Law Group?
If you are facing criminal charges, it is crucial to choose an attorney you can trust to protect your rights and best interests. With more than 75 years of combined experience, the criminal defense lawyers at McBride Bishop Law Group have the knowledge, skill, and resources necessary to guide our clients through all stages of the legal process. From pretrial to trial, sentencing and appeal, we will aggressively pursue the best possible result in your case. Your situation will be given the individualized care, attention, and effort it deserves.
Talk to a Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer for Free
A criminal conviction can impact every aspect of your life. It can affect your family, your freedom, and your future. The Baltimore criminal defense lawyers at the McBride Bishop Law Group understand the extremely high stakes involved in criminal cases. We are committed to fighting aggressively on behalf of our clients to achieve the best outcomes in their cases.
Do not risk your future. If you’ve been charged with a crime, call (410) 390-3101 now. McBride Bishop Law Group serves Baltimore, Ocean City, and other Maryland areas.