Wheaton Criminal Defense Attorneys
Protecting the Rights of the Accused for 25+ Years
People often talk about their legal and constitutional “rights” in abstract or theoretical terms. However, there is no other time when your rights matter more than when you have been accused of a crime. A criminal accusation is a life-altering event. The consequences of a conviction can lead to the loss of your job, your freedom, and your future. In order to prevent or mitigate these consequences, it is absolutely critical that you seek effective legal representation immediately.
The Wheaton criminal defense attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. have been successfully representing clients in criminal matters in Montgomery County courts for over 25 years. We have obtained numerous positive outcomes on behalf of our clients and have earned countless five-star results from our past clients for our results and our commitment to a high level of legal service.
Accused of a crime? Under investigation? Do not wait to contact our team for a free and confidential consultation; call (855) 954-4141 or submit an online request form today.
How the Maryland Criminal Justice Process Works
A person learns of a criminal charge usually when they are arrested or summoned to court. Maryland has two courts where criminal matters are adjudicated: the District Court and the Circuit Court. The main difference between these entities is that there are no jury trials in the District Court. Jury trials are held in the Circuit Court. Many criminal cases are charged in the District Court; however, for any criminal offense with a potential penalty of more than 90 days, the accused has an absolute right to a trial by jury in the Circuit Court.
Common Misconceptions About Criminal Cases
For people who find themselves accused of a crime, they often think that they have to prove their innocence. This is not the case, as the United States Constitution guarantees an accused individual the presumption of innocence. Stated simply, the state of Maryland bears the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that an individual is guilty of the crime of which they are accused. Whether the state of Maryland is able to meet that burden depends on the evidence and the facts surrounding the case.
People who are accused of crimes often find themselves intimidated by the criminal justice system. The Montgomery County Police and local prosecutors use this fear in order to overcome certain rights an accused individual has, such as the right to silence, the right to a speedy trial, the presumption of innocence, and the right to counsel.
What Defenses Are Available in a Criminal Case?
When an accused individual is asked how they plea, their options are “guilty” or “not guilty.” By pleading “not guilty,” an accused individual is basically saying “prove it” to the state of Maryland. The state will have to prove their case and overcome any defenses asserted by the accused individual at trial.
The defenses available depend on the facts of case and the evidence the state is bringing. An accused individual may have a factual defense (e.g., an alibi), an evidentiary defense (i.e., the state has insufficient evidence to prove their case), or a legal defense (e.g., a Fourth Amendment suppression issue). In order to determine if any defenses are available and the likelihood of their success, it’s important that you request a thorough review of your case from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Most people think that the only possible outcomes in a criminal case are a finding of guilty or not guilty or a dismissal. However, there are actually five available outcomes in a criminal case. The two most obvious are guilty and not guilty. Another disposition (or outcome) for a criminal case is a nolle prosequi. This is essentially a dismissal by the State’s Attorney. The State’s Attorney can also move to place a criminal case on the stet docket. This is an inactive docket. The case has not been dismissed, however, it is not being actively prosecuted. In order to accept a stet, the accused must waive their right to a speedy trial. The primary benefit to a stet is that the case is terminated and after one year, the State’s Attorney must show good cause to reinstate it.
The final disposition available under Maryland State law is a probation before judgement. This is not considered a conviction under Maryland law. In order to understand a probation before judgement, one must understand the legal definition of a criminal conviction or a criminal judgement. A criminal conviction comprises a finding of guilt and the imposition of a sentence. Accordingly, if the accused is found guilty but never sentenced, they are not legally convicted under Maryland law.
Criminal Defense Services Portner & Shure, P.A. Can Provide
The experienced attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. have been zealously representing clients for criminal matters in Montgomery County, Maryland for over 25 years. Our Wheaton criminal defense attorneys make weekly appearances in Montgomery County courthouses.
Our criminal defense practice areas include:
In addition to excellent reviews from prior clients, our reputation in the legal community can be seen in the numerous awards our attorneys have earned over 25 years of practice. The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys of 2020 recently recognized Portner & Shure, P.A. as one of Maryland’s “10 Best Law Firms.”
To schedule a free consultation regarding your Montgomery County criminal case, call us at (855) 954-4141 or contact us online.