Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, your rights and privileges may be in jeopardy. Without an aggressive, experienced defense lawyer fighting in your corner, you may fall prey to an overzealous prosecutor who is more concerned about winning convictions than about your rights and your good name. In Maryland, a skilled criminal lawyer with the Cochran Firm may be your strongest ally. By offering wise legal counsel and powerful defense representation, our attorneys can provide the protection you need when facing a complex criminal justice system. Our attorneys have experience defending clients against criminal misdemeanor, felony and federal charges. If you have been formally charged with a violation, or if you are the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation that you believe might eventually result in a charge, please contact the attorneys with the Cochran Firm to find out how we may be able to help you.
Although many second degree violent crimes or sex crimes are charged as misdemeanors, aggravated offenses and crimes in the first degree are generally charged as felony offenses. Felonies are generally considered to be more serious crimes than misdemeanors, and as such, the potential consequences of conviction may be much greater. Felony conviction may garner longer prison sentences and strict requirements for parole. The ramifications of a felony conviction may last a lifetime, whether an inmate is sentenced to life in prison or a convicted sex offender must register as such for a lifetime. Maryland felony offenses include:
- Aggravated Assault
- Auto Theft
- Theft (more than $1000)
- Drug Distribution
- Drug Trafficking
- Gun Charges
- Sex Crimes
Felony offenses carry numerous restrictions beyond any criminal penalties associated with conviction. A felony criminal record can revoke one’s rights to vote, possess firearms, serve in the military, and more.
Our attorneys are known for their commitment to providing effective representation for every client, regardless of the charges he or she faces. Whether charged with misdemeanors or felonies, our clients can count on us to give every case careful attention, defending against every criminal charge with the tenacity required for success.
In Maryland, criminal offenses are classified as either misdemeanor crimes or felony crimes. Though misdemeanors are typically considered less serious offenses than felonies, the consequences of conviction are still harsh. In some states, misdemeanor convictions carry the potential for a maximum sentence of one year in jail; Maryland, however, does not determine misdemeanor classification by the length of the sentence. Second degree assault, for example, is a misdemeanor that carries a possible sentence of up to ten years in prison. In fact, second degree assault, a misdemeanor in the state, is punishable by a prison sentence of up to ten years. Maryland misdemeanors include certain traffic crimes, violent crimes, sex crimes, and drug crimes:
- Domestic Violence
- Driving with a Suspended License
- Drug Possession
- DUI or DWI
- Prostitution or Solicitation
Although the crimes listed above are commonly charged as misdemeanor offenses, there are certain situations and details of the offense which may elevate them to felony classification.
Maryland assault charges may be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies. Second degree assault is a misdemeanor characterized by contact with the victim that is unwanted, offensive, or potentially harmful. Any physical injury that occurs must be minor in order for the assault to be considered a misdemeanor. Second degree assault charges carry a potential penalty of up to ten years in prison.
Felony assault crimes include assault against a law enforcement officer, assault involving the use of a firearm, and assault with the intent to inflict serious physical injury. First degree assault is punishable by a sentence of up to twenty-five years in prison.
Other Maryland assault crimes include reckless endangerment and domestic violence.
Maryland drug laws prohibit the possession, manufacture, cultivation, and distribution of certain controlled substances. Drug possession may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the type and amount of drug in the defendant’s possession. Misdemeanor drug crimes include possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana possession (less than 20g). Felony drug crimes include possession for sale, drug distribution, and trafficking. Because there are so many variables in determining the sentence for a drug conviction–including the type of drug, amount of drug, and repeat offenses—it is important to consult a highly-qualified drug lawyer for your defense.
Driving under the Influence (DUI) and Driving while Impaired (DWI) are two of the most commonly charged criminal offenses in the state. Because driving while impaired by or under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered to put other people at considerable risk of danger, Maryland law penalizes drug and alcohol-related driving offenses. A driver may be charged with DUI if he or she is found to be operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. Commercial drivers and drivers under the age of 21 may be charged with DUI with an even lower BAC. Similarly, any driver who shows signs of impairment may be charged with DWI with a BAC below 0.08 percent. Consequences of conviction increase with repeated offenses.
Americans have a Constitutional right to bear arms; however, states have the oversight to determine how the right of gun ownership is granted. Maryland, for example, has no state constitutional provision granting the “right to bear arms.” Maryland gun laws require proper permits to carry weapons, and they prohibit carrying guns on school premises. Convicted felons are prohibited from possessing firearms. Furthermore, the use of a gun in the commission of a crime is an offense that is punished separately and in addition to the underlying crime. Penalties for misdemeanor gun crimes vary according to the specific offense, the type of weapon involved, and whether or not the crime is a repeat offense. Consulting a gun lawyer is critical to the success of your case.
Sex crimes such as prostitution and solicitation are misdemeanors in Maryland, but more serious crimes, including rape, are prosecuted as felonies. Specific charges and associated penalties for sex offenses are dependent on factors such as the age of the victim and the use of threats or violence. Serious sex crimes, including Rape in the First Degree, are punishable by life in prison or lifetime registration as a Maryland Sex Offender.
The Maryland criminal lawyers with The Cochran Firm represent defendants in criminal cases across the state. We are experienced attorneys who have built our reputation for success in the district courts in counties throughout Maryland:
Anne Arundel County General District Court
- Robert F. Sweeney Building, 251 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis
- George M. Taylor Multi-Service Center, 7500 Governor Ritchie Highway, Glenn Burnie
Howard County General District Court
- 3451 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City
Montgomery County General District Court
- 191 East Jefferson Street, Rockville
- 8552 Second Avenue, Silver Spring
Prince George’s County General District Court
- 14735 Main Street, Suite 173B, Upper Marlboro
- 4990 Rhode Island Avenue, Hyattsville
At The Cochran Firm, our Maryland defense attorneys bring experience, skill, and a reputation for success to your case. We carefully explore every case to uncover the best defense options, and we strategically use our wealth of resources to help your case reach its best possible outcome. Contact us today for a free, confidential evaluation of your case.