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Montgomery County Criminal Attorney

The Maryland Office of Crime Control and Prevention gave Montgomery County more than $1.6 million in grants to implement new crime fighting strategies. Unfortunately, any push to bring down the crime rate can prompt overzealous prosecutions and sometimes abusive behaviors on the part of investigators. Anyone suspected of a criminal act deserves to have his rights respected and every accused deserves a fair trial. If you are under investigation or have been charged, a Montgomery County criminal lawyer can provide legal representation and help protect your rights throughout your involvement with the justice system.

Montgomery County, Maryland

Montgomery County is largely made up of unincorporated communities, although larger areas like Rockville and Germantown also contribute to a large metropolitan population. Montgomery County’s position just north of Washington DC often results in a significant law enforcement presence in the area, including not just local and county police, but also federal agents. A Montgomery County criminal lawyer has experience in the court systems of the area, and can help you fight the state if you’re charged with a misdemeanor or felony.

Montgomery County is home to a highly educated population, as well as one of the richest counties in the U.S. based on median household income. In 2011, Montgomery County residents reported a median household of income of $94,213, ranking the county 10th in the nation. 29.2 percent of the population over the age of 25 in Montgomery County holds a post-graduate degree.

Criminal Laws in Montgomery County

In Maryland, criminal offenses are broadly grouped into felonies and misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are more minor offenses that usually result in less than a year of incarceration, while felonies are more serious crimes.

Maryland has voluntary sentencing guidelines listing each criminal offense. Judges may use the sentencing guidelines by completing a worksheet detailing the offense committed, aggravating or mitigating factors, and the criminal history of the defendant.

The sentencing guidelines provide a complete list of criminal acts in the state that could result in jail time, fines, probation, community service, or other penalties upon conviction.  Some of the many listed offenses where you may want to contact a Montgomery County criminal lawyer include:

  • Commercial fraud
  • Counterfeiting
  • Credit card crimes
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Extortion and threats
  • Fraud and financial crimes
  • Illegal gambling
  • Handguns and weapons offenses
  • Trespassing

History of repeat convictions can result in significantly harsher penalties than for those that have no criminal record making it even more important that you contact a Montgomery County criminal lawyer if you already have a criminal record.

Being Prosecuted in Montgomery County

Before you are found guilty and sentenced to criminal penalties for any offense, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you violated Maryland’s criminal laws. By working with a Montgomery County criminal lawyer, you can work to prove that there is reasonable doubt in your case, thereby making a conviction difficult.

The Maryland Criminal Code has 12 different “titles” defining offenses within the state. For most crimes, there are multiple elements of the offense and a prosecutor must prove every element of the particular crime if you are to be convicted.

    For example, the offense of kidnapping is defined in Maryland Code Section 3-502 to include:

  • Using force or fraud
  • To take, or cause a person to be taken
  • With the intent to have the person concealed either somewhere in Maryland or somewhere outside of the state

Kidnapping is an intent crime, so the prosecutor has to show your actions were purposeful and your ultimate goal was to break the law. Many offenses in Maryland, from theft to assault, require a prosecutor to show you acted willfully or with intent.

If the prosecutor cannot prove any part of the case against you, you should avoid conviction.

Montgomery County Criminal Penalties

If you are convicted of a criminal offense, Maryland’s sentencing guidelines are voluntary. However, each different section of the criminal code outlines the possible penalties for various wrongful acts. For example:

  • Kidnapping could result in a felony conviction and imprisonment for up to 30 years under Code Section 3-502.
  • Theft of items valued at less than $100 could result in a misdemeanor conviction, a fine up to $500, and up to 90 days incarceration under Code Section 7-104. Theft of items valued at $100 to less than $1,000 could result in misdemeanor charges, up to 18 months incarceration, and a fine of $500.
  • First Degree Assault, which is assault involving a firearm or serious physical injury, can result in felony charges under Code Section 3-202. Penalties could include up to 25 years imprisonment.

For many defendants accused of crimes, prosecutors are willing to make a deal to avoid trial. If you admit you violated the law, the prosecutor may agree to charge you with a less serious offense than you would be charged with if your case went to a jury. The prosecutor may also agree to recommend that you face a sentence that is less serious than the maximum penalty for the particular offense. A Montgomery County criminal attorney will be able to look at the specific details surrounding your case and let you know if a plea bargain is a good idea for charge.

The Courthouse in Montgomery County, MD

In addition to the Silver Spring District Courthouse on 8552 Second Avenue, Montgomery County is served by the large Montgomery County District Court in Rockville on 191 East Jefferson Street. The District Court keeps weekday hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with the exception of being closed during all legal holidays. Those utilizing the area’s public transportation systems can access the District Court via routes 46, 54, 63, and T2. A Montgomery County lawyer is experienced in working with all court personnel, including the Administrative Clerk Judy Lohman. Parking for the Rockville court in Montgomery County is available through a variety of public lots.

How a Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer Can Help You

A Montgomery County criminal lawyer is your advocate as you respond to charges. An attorney can:

  • Advise you when you are under investigation or answering police questions.
  • Argue for bail at arraignment and help you make an informed choice about pleading guilty or not guilty.
  • Negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor
  • Help you make the jury doubt your guilt in a criminal trial

These are just some of the ways in which a Montgomery County criminal lawyer will fight for you when you are at risk of conviction for breaking the law. Call today to find out more about what a lawyer can do to help you.