Common Criminal Charges in Ocean City
In Ocean City, Maryland there are a variety of criminal charges that law enforcement officers and courts commonly see. Below an attorney discusses these crimes and the specific laws that are unique to Ocean City. If you are facing any of these charges, contact a criminal defense lawyer in Ocean City as soon as possible.
Criminal Charges Most Commonly Seen in Ocean City
The most commonly seen charge in Ocean City is driving under the influence, however in addition to charges of intoxication the following are also very common:
Sometimes, being intoxicated can lead to an assault charge because being impaired can influence a person’s ability to make decisions when they’re interacting with other people. Many people come to Ocean City for vacation, so what happens is they come down and they are perhaps not acting as they would at home, they go out to eat or drink and they end up getting charged with something related to that.
It is not unusual to see someone charged with sex offenses—individuals may have too much to drink and then engage in intercourse or some other kind of sexual activity. This then raises the possibility that consent was not given, or the woman does not recall giving consent or was too intoxicated to provide consent.
There are also some drug offenses charged pretty frequently in Ocean City. Marijuana is a charge that is seen a lot.
There are many felony drug charges where people sometimes come down to Ocean City and they might have a substantial amount of marijuana with them. Some people might be actively selling drugs while they’re there or they just have so many drugs with them that it appears that they possess them with the intent to distribute it.
Local Laws in Ocean City
Ocean City has its own city municipal code and Ocean City law enforcement officers can enforce those municipal codes. Sometimes the enforcement of those code violations can turn into a much more serious case and potentially a criminal case.
For example, in Ocean City there is a municipal law which prohibits driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street. There are multiple one-way streets located in Ocean City and it is quite possible for a driver to get confused about which one of the streets is a one-way street and possibly start driving in a wrong direction on a one-way street. Ocean City police officers could stop the vehicle for that purpose.
Strict Noise Ordinances
Also, Ocean City has a relatively strict noise ordinance and the officers are able to enforce that ordinance which includes loud music or shouting or yelling from a vehicle if that noise can be heard within a certain number of feet by somebody outside of the vehicle. So, a police officer could stop a car based on a violation of the noise ordinance. Those municipal violations might be the basis for the officer making contact with a person and then based on their contact with the person, the case could then become much more serious if it leads possibly to an officer charging the driver of a car while driving under the influence.
Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in Ocean City Criminal Cases
The most common mistakes are that an individual either agreed to speak with the police, or they consented to having their vehicle searched or their residence/hotel room searched.
Speaking to the Police
People have a natural desire to cooperate with the police, which is the exact opposite of what you should do. A person does not have to agree to be interviewed by the police and they have the right to refuse to talk to a police officer. Sometimes people do not even realize that they are admitting to their involvement in some sort of wrongdoing. But if they speak to the police then any statements that they make to the police officer could be used against them in court.
Consent to Search
People don’t have to agree to let an officer search them, they don’t have to agree to let an officer search their condo or their hotel room, but people oftentimes do. An officer might find something there that is incriminating. You have an absolute right to refuse an officer’s request to search your person or your car or your home and that decision to refuse cannot be used against you at trial. If a police officer receives consent to search, then any item that is seized can be used against them in court.
If an officer does not receive consent to perform a search, then the officer will have to articulate a constitutionally acceptable basis to search. Without it, anything the officer seizes could be excluded. There is absolutely no downside to refusing to consent to a search.