Posted On: July 26, 2012

Understanding Maryland Assault Laws

Like other states, Maryland makes various kinds of assault illegal, and being convicted of assault can carry serious penalties. Maryland law divides assault into two main categories, but many other activities fall under miscellaneous categories of “assault” as well.

Assault in the first degree in Maryland involves “intentionally caus[ing] or attempt[ing] to cause serious physical injury to another.” This includes committing assault with a firearm. A “serious physical injury” is one that causes “a substantial risk of death” or causes permanent or long-term serious disfigurement, loss of function of a body part or organ, or body part/organ impairment. The penalty for conviction of this type of assault includes up to 25 years in prison.

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Posted On: July 24, 2012

Supreme Court Allows DNA Collections from Maryland Suspects to Resume

U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has temporarily lifted the ban on the collection of DNA samples from anyone arrested for a violent crime or burglary in Maryland, according to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun. Several law enforcement agencies have resumed their collection of genetic samples while they await further word from the high Court while others are still determining what steps to take.

MD DNA Collection RulingIn April 2012, the Maryland Court of Appeals ordered law enforcement agencies to stop collecting DNA samples from those who had been arrested for violent crimes or burglaries. The court ruled that, unlike collecting fingerprints, DNA samples provided too much personal information to law enforcement and that therefore collecting them was a violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of a person who had not been convicted of the crime. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ordered that the collections could continue while it considered the constitutional issues involved.

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Posted On: July 18, 2012

Maryland State Police Seize Suspected Heroin from Vehicle in Perryville

Maryland State Police troopers recently announced that they seized what they suspect to be $100,000 worth of heroin from a vehicle stopped on Interstate 95 near Perryville, according to DelmarvaNow.com. The vehicle was searched during a routine traffic stop, when officers called in a dog to sniff the vehicle for any possible controlled substances.

Police said that the objects they seized included bundles of what appeared to be uncut heroin, empty containers of the kind often used to transport heroin, and items that could be used to “cut” or dilute heroin to the concentrations normally sold on the street. They also discovered $78,000 in cash. The vehicle’s driver, a North Carolina resident, is being held on suspicion of several drug offenses, including possession with intent to distribute heroin.

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Posted On: July 16, 2012

Maryland Governor Tables Gambling Law Expansions

Maryland Gambling LawIn the face of power outages and severe heat causing dangerous conditions for Maryland residents, Governor Martin O’Malley has postponed a special session to discuss expanding the types of legal gambling allowed in Maryland, according to a recent article in The Washington Post. The governor’s office also noted that legislators who were supposed to participate in the session are not yet ready to convene.

The session would discuss whether or not to open a sixth casino in Maryland, including blackjack tables. If approved, lawmakers would place the casino issue on the November ballot. The new casino would be located in Prince George’s County.

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Posted On: July 12, 2012

Understanding the Definitions and Penalties of Maryland Homicide Laws

MD Murder PenaltiesThe term “homicide” generally describes any unlawful killing of one human being by another. Maryland, like other states, separates homicides into different categories by type, with different penalties depending on the particular circumstances of the incident.

The most severe penalties are reserved for those convicted of first-degree murder. Section 2-201 of the Maryland Criminal Code defines first-degree murder as “a deliberate, premeditated, and willful killing” that may be committed in multiple ways, such as by lying in wait, by poisoning, or during the commission of one of a list of other felonies. A conviction of first-degree murder carries a penalty of death or life imprisonment.

In Section 2-204, Maryland’s criminal law defines second-degree murder as “a murder that is not in the first degree under section 2-201,” and the law imposes a penalty of up to 30 years in prison for those convicted of second-degree murder.

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Posted On: July 10, 2012

Maryland Crime Rates Dropping, Study Finds

According to the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP), Maryland’s crime rates have been dropping pretty consistently for the last few years. 2010 saw crime rates drop not only for multiple types of crimes, but also in multiple counties.

For several different types of violent crime, Maryland posted its lowest-ever crime statistics in 2010. For instance, in 2010 Maryland had 426 homicides, the lowest number reported since 1986, and the lowest number per capita that Maryland has ever reported. Similarly, Maryland’s 2010 robbery rate, with 11,053 robberies reported, was the lowest number and the lowest rate the state has had since the GOCCP began keeping track of crime statistics. Overall, the number of violent crimes in 2010 was 31,605, the lowest overall number since 1976 and the lowest rate per capita ever recorded in Maryland.

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