Protecting the Rights of Criminal Defendants in the Bethesda Area
Facing criminal charges is always a stressful matter. In some situations, criminal charges can be downright frightening due to the potentially severe penalties you may face. To make matters worse, the criminal justice system in Maryland is complicated and confusing, and it does not favor the interests of defendants. Authorities and prosecutors will often do whatever it takes to secure a criminal conviction and a harsh sentence, which is much easier to accomplish when a defendant does not have proper defense representation.
Whether you believe your charges are relatively minor or serious, your first step should always be to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who handles cases in and around Bethesda. At Alpert Schreyer, LLC, our defense attorneys understand how the criminal court system works, and we know how to protect your rights and fight against many types of criminal allegations. Please call us as soon as possible to discuss your situation and how we may help.
Defending Against a Wide Range of Criminal Charges
There are hundreds of criminal offenses set out by Maryland law, each with its own elements and potential penalties. Montgomery County reported more than 51,450 criminal reports in a single year, including a wide variety of crimes against both people and property. Our legal team at Alpert Schreyer regularly handles cases involving the following charges, among many others:
- Misdemeanor offenses
- Felony offenses
- DUI and DWI
- Vehicular homicide
- Weapons and gun crimes
- Sex crimes
- Drug offenses
- Theft crimes
- Criminal abuse
- Disorderly conduct
- False accusations
Even if an offense seems like no big deal, you can be sure that prosecutors and criminal courts will take the matter very seriously. Authorities in Bethesda want to enforce all criminal laws and impose penalties, even if the offense is minor. By trying to handle a case on your own, you will often end up facing unnecessarily harsh consequences or wrongful convictions.
How a Criminal Record Can Affect Your Life
Maryland law allows for maximum penalties for each specific criminal offense. Unlike many states, Maryland does not classify misdemeanor or felony offenses into specific degrees but instead, provides penalties for crimes individually. The following are some examples of possible criminal penalties:
- Misdemeanor convictions can mean fines, probation, and/or up to 12 months in jail
- Felony convictions can mean fines, one year to life in prison, or even the death penalty
The sentence range is broad, and many sentences will depend on the circumstances of the allegations against you, including any aggravating factors the prosecutor asserts.
The consequences of a criminal conviction do not end when you finish a term of probation or a prison sentence, however. Having a criminal record can have many effects on your daily life for years and, sometimes, for the rest of your life. A criminal conviction can impact your job, personal life, living situation, and much more. Some of the collateral and often, unexpected consequences of a conviction include:
- Getting fired from a job
- Loss of a commercial driver’s license
- Having difficulty being competitive for new jobs
- Disqualification from certain professions for certain crimes
- Denial or revocation of a security clearance
- Denial or revocation of a professional license
- Sanctions for military members
- Mandatory sex offender registration
- Deportation or other immigration consequences
- Denial of rental housing
- Disqualification from public benefits
- Rejection or expulsion from higher educational programs
- Ineligibility for federal student aid for drug convictions
- Loss of child custody
- Grounds for an absolute divorce if incarcerated more than three years
As you can see, the consequences of a criminal conviction are extensive and lasting in most situations. These are in addition to fines, court costs, probation fees, jail time, and other court-imposed penalties. It is critical to avoid a conviction whenever you can or to at least minimize the effects of a conviction. You should never wait to call Alpert Schreyer, LLC if you face criminal charges in Bethesda.
Skilled Defense Against Criminal Allegations in Bethesda
Defendants have the right to present legal defenses against their charges. However, many defenses can be highly complicated, and it can be difficult to even identify which defenses may apply in your case. For example, you cannot simply claim “self-defense” in an assault case and expect the automatic dismissal of your charges. Instead, self-defense only applies in specific situations, and you must prove that it applies in your case.
There are many steps our attorneys take to build an effective defense strategy for each individual case. First, we engage in an investigation of the circumstances before, during, and after your arrest. We obtain and closely examine the evidence the prosecutor has against you. Then, we determine any and all defenses that may apply in your case and gather the necessary evidence to support them. Such defenses may include:
- Insufficient evidence to prove the crime
- Suppressing evidence based on constitutional violations by authorities
- Suppressing improper evidence under state and federal rules, such as hearsay
- Challenging the reliability of a witness identification
- Presenting evidence of an alibi
- Challenging forensic lab results and procedures
- Challenging witness testimony, including that of expert witnesses
Our defense attorneys know how to fight aggressively against a wrongful conviction at trial when necessary.
In some cases, the best option may be for a client to agree to a plea agreement. Prosecutors generally will not offer any plea deals to unrepresented defendants. Instead, it requires our lawyers negotiating with prosecutors to obtain reduced charges or sentences in exchange for a guilty plea. Often, the right plea deal can help clients avoid jail time or have a less severe conviction on their permanent record.
Contact Our Bethesda Criminal Defense Lawyers for More Information Right Away
There is no way to know the possible outcome of a criminal case or defenses available until our Bethesda criminal defense attorneys carefully review your specific situation. If you’re facing any type of criminal charge, you want Alpert Schreyer, LLC on your side. We provide defense representation you can trust, so call (866) 444-6363 or contact us online for a free case evaluation today.