Maryland Drug Crime Client Story
We are sharing a client story below to help you better know what to expect in your case. Though we’ve changed the names and specifics to protect client privacy, you’ll find value in the information. Please read to the end, then call our Maryland DUI lawyers to set up a free legal consultation. We’d love to discuss your claim.
Anyone who knows Trevor Green will tell you he’s a “stand-up” guy. He’s kind, considerate, and level-headed. The kind of guy who thinks before he speaks, even when angry, and definitely not someone who’d throw the first punch. He is not the guy you picture getting arrested for assault. That’s why his wife Maya was so upset the night she called the Frederick, Maryland office of Alpert Schreyer looking for someone to defend her husband from not one, but two assault charges.
Attorney Michael Berman arrived to find Trevor in a holding cell downtown. They sat in an interview room, where Trevor explained that he’d been in a local bar with his coworkers at the time of the fight.
“About fifteen minutes before we called it a night, we saw this young woman leave her bar stool and head for the back hallway to the bathrooms,” Trevor said. “There was a guy on her heels, warning her not to even think about sneaking out the back door. He appeared to be drunk and was loud and obnoxious.
“You could see the ladies’ room door from where we were, and they were so loud, I automatically turned their way, as did most of the people within earshot. He grabbed her arm as she pulled the door open, but she pulled away and went in.
“For a second, he looked like he was going to follow her in, but someone came out right away, almost colliding with him. He stepped into the men’s room instead.
“She must have been waiting for the guy to give up and leave because it was probably a good ten minutes before she reappeared. My friends had just left, and I was paying my tab when she blew past the bar, and there he was, following close behind, alternating between pleading with her and yelling at her to stop.
“As he passed me, he grabbed her arm again and she freaked out, trying to get away. I got off my stool and told him to let her go. He did, and immediately took a swing at me. He missed and I knocked him on his as— his butt. That’s when his girlfriend, of all people, jumped on my back, pulling my hair. I couldn’t believe it,” Trevor said, shaking his head. “I shrugged her off, and she fell on her back and hit her head.
“Now, they’re both pressing assault charges against me. Their story is I threw the first punch, and then knocked her down for no reason. My friends were gone by then, and somehow no one seems to remember what really happened. Apparently, it’s well and good to gawk until the police want your statement,” Trevor said, shaking his head once more. “I was just trying to do the right thing. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.”
What happens after my arrest?
“So, what happens now?” Trevor asked, his eyes shining with fear. “Please tell me you can help. I’m a civilian contractor with a security clearance and a great job with the military. These charges could end all that. My wife is home with our toddlers. I’ve got to take care of my family.”
“I believe we can help you,” Attorney Berman said. “Our first objective is to arrange for you to be released on bail. You’ll be arraigned in the morning, at which time we will argue for you to be released on your own recognizance, or ‘ROR.’ This means allowing you out of jail without posting bail.
“This is the easiest for non-violent charges, but we’re going to try just the same, arguing that you are, in fact, a law-abiding citizen and not a flight risk. Should that fail, I still believe it likely you’ll be released until your trial, though you may have to post bond,” Berman said.
“In the meantime, do not speak to anyone inside the jail about your case — even in the simplest terms,” Berman cautioned. “You’re likely to find the inmates ‘friendly,’’’ he said, using air quotes. “I assure you, they’re out for themselves. It’s common practice for the repeat offenders to cruise through the ranks, gathering fragments of information they can cobble together to offer to the prosecution in exchange for a reduction in their own charges. The easiest way to protect yourself is to avoid speaking to anyone about your case, period. In here, information is currency.”
“Got it. Don’t speak to anyone,” Trevor said, solemnly.
Respect the court’s schedule
“As I mentioned, the immediate goal is to get you out until your case is resolved or goes to trial,” said Attorney Berman. “You’ll be given your next court appearance date at your arraignment, and your defense team will get to work on your case. The important thing you must focus on now is being reliable and on time for every court appearance.
“Your friends and family know you’re an upstanding guy, but the court doesn’t know you, beyond the fact that you’ve been arrested for assault. Our goal is to prevent them from developing any harmful opinions of you because you wasted the court’s time by showing up late, or worse, you missed a court date.
“If your case goes all the way to trial, it’s possible we may build a favorable image of you for a jury. But at this point, the best we can hope for is to stay off the negative radar. Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there,” Berman said.
“I will, I promise,” said Trevor.
How do you defend an assault charge?
“I know you just got here, but is there anything you can tell me about how you might go about building a defense? Just to give me the peace of mind that you’ve got a way forward?” Trevor asked.
“Well, ideally, we’ll be able to show that the crime didn’t actually take place — or that it did, but you weren’t the guy involved,” said Berman. “In your case, the altercation took place, but there are mitigating factors in each assault charge. The other person acted with intent to harm you and you defended yourself.
“We’re going to start with a careful investigation of what happened and search for additional witnesses who can corroborate, or support, your side of the story,” Attorney Berman said. “We’ll start with looking for witnesses who haven’t spoken to the police yet. We’ll also look for security camera footage of the incident.
“We’ll also look for a history of aggressive behavior from the guy and the girl. From the public drama they displayed over the course of half an hour, I’d guess they’re known for this type of drama,” Attorney Berman said.
Don’t speak to the prosecution
“What, if anything, did you say to the police?” Berman asked.
“Nothing. I was afraid I’d make the situation worse. I asked for a lawyer as soon as they read me my rights,” said Trevor.
“Okay, good. You did the right thing,” Berman said. “Don’t say anything to them going forward, either. They can speak to your defense team if they have any questions for you. We’ll take it from here, protecting your rights first and foremost.”
Don’t ask for advice from family or friends
“When you get out of jail pending trial, make sure you don’t seek any legal advice from family or friends,” Attorney Berman warned. “People may give you unsolicited legal advice, which is often inaccurate and useless. While there’s nothing you can do about them volunteering it, remember not to take it to heart.
“Then there’s the majority of friends and family who won’t know you’re dealing with this at all. In their case, it’s best to keep your situation to yourself,” Berman said. “Your wife cannot be forced to testify against you, but friends and family can be. While they may not have anything damaging to say, the prosecutor will try to twist their words to obtain a conviction. It’s best for you and for them if they aren’t vulnerable to the stress of being dragged into court.
“Now that you’ve got a legal team, you can turn to us for answers to your legal questions and for the support you need,” Attorney Berman said. “We are here for you.”
“Thanks, that’s a huge relief,” Trevor said.
Don’t post about your case on social media
“As an extension of this subject, don’t vent about your case on social media,” warned Berman. “It’s natural to want to defend your innocence and even vent. But it’s not going to help your case. If anything, it will make things worse.
“Remember that social media platforms are public forums. Anything you post will be available to the prosecution, who will use your posts in pursuit of a conviction, if possible.”
“Got it. I will stay away from social media. Preserving my freedom and my job are my biggest concerns. This means protecting my security clearance, which starts with keeping as much of this out of the public eye as possible,” Trevor said.
“Correct. It will help all around,” Attorney Berman said.
Don’t leave town
“Last but not least,” said Berman, “don’t leave town. I realize this may sound like a line out of a crime drama, but it’s important. When people are released from jail pending criminal charges, their first instinct is often to run. It’s a primal response to the overwhelming stress of the situation.
“But even if you feel like heading to Virginia for the weekend where you’re completely anonymous, stay put. Even if you feel claustrophobic, even if a local reporter is hounding you for a quote, even if anything,” said Attorney Berman. “By the way, I think you know by now not to answer if you do get questions from a reporter. And call us if you’re feeling unbearably stressed out.
“The bottom line is, the negative impression you could make on a jury is far too damaging to risk any travel outside of the immediate area. Don’t give the prosecution anything they can use against you,” Berman warned.
Trevor stayed out of conversations with inmates until his arraignment the next day. Attorney Berman got him released on his own recognizance, and he took the attorney’s instructions to heart. He made his court appearances, stayed off social media, stayed local, and reserved his case strategy discussions for his legal defense team.
The team’s investigation revealed additional witnesses and an admission. A bartender named Todd remembered the boyfriend because he refused to serve him alcohol about the time Trevor arrived. He said the guy appeared to already have had enough and became belligerent when he was refused alcohol. That’s when the girlfriend tried to leave, sparking the buildup to the fight. Todd had left for the night by the time the fight actually broke out and thus had not been questioned by the police.
The girlfriend later bragged on social media after the incident that she’d attacked Trevor to “help her man.” The post proved helpful on its own and produced additional witnesses who claimed to have seen the event while also at the bar. When interviewed, two of the new witnesses admitted seeing the boyfriend take the first swing at Trevor. Further investigation revealed the boyfriend had a history of drunken bar fights.
Attorney Berman was able to get the charges against Trevor dropped and no harm was done to his job or his life. He remains grateful and very relieved.
Call Our Maryland Assault Lawyers Today
If you have been charged with assault in Maryland, don’t take chances with the outcome. Reach out to the Maryland assault lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC for a free legal consultation. Let us protect your right to a robust legal defense. Call today.