Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer
Providing Aggressive, Results-Driven Representation in the DC Area
Criminal charges can prove difficult to manage and can throw every aspect of your life into disarray. If you are looking at a criminal charge, retain knowledgeable, experienced legal counsel to bring your case to a favorable conclusion.
The Maryland criminal defense lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC are experienced in defending the rights of individuals who have been accused of a crime. We can review your situation carefully to better understand your needs and the circumstances surrounding your case. For your convenience we have five offices located in Bowie, Frederick, Lexington Park, Prince Frederick, Rockville, and Waldorf.
Watch our video to learn more about criminal practice.
Our Firm's Track Record
The legal team at Alpert Schreyer has over 70 years of collective experience defending the criminally accused in Maryland and Washington DC. Our Maryland attorneys have helped people just like you reduce their criminal charges, or get them dropped completely. Highly rated by Martindale-Hubbell, Super Lawyers, and The National Trial Lawyers, Alpert Schreyer's criminal defense team has the skill and experience you need to fight your criminal charges.
Keep reading to learn more about:
- The Negative Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
- How We Fight Your Criminal Charges
- The Results of a Successful Defense
- Misdemeanors vs. Felonies
The Negative Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
If you stand accused of a crime, take this charge seriously. Even if you do not end up serving time in jail, convicted criminals face numerous consequences for criminal convictions.
- Makes finding a job harder: Employers can run a background check on you, including whether you have a criminal conviction.
- Complicates getting an apartment: Many landlords also run criminal background checks in addition to credit checks.
- Decreases your chances of getting into college: You can certainly explain how you have rehabilitated yourself, but college admissions are competitive everywhere. A criminal conviction can make gaining a slot in the class harder.
These collateral consequences can prevent you from getting back on your feet and rebuilding your life, even after you have paid your debt to society. To improve your chances of reaching a favorable outcome, hire a Maryland criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
How We Fight Your Criminal Charges in Maryland
A criminal charge can quickly change the course of your life. At Alpert Schreyer, our aggressive representation begins from the first moment you hire us.
Representation at Bond Hearings
We are skilled at making compelling arguments at bond hearings and getting the amount of bail reduced or eliminated. We will marshal the facts to show the judge that you are not a flight risk or a threat to the public or to witnesses in the case. In many situations, we can get clients released on their own recognizance, which means they do not have to post any money or collateral. Instead, you simply promise to show up to your future court hearings and any future trial.
Your Maryland criminal lawyer also will not simply accept the state’s version of events. Instead, we know how to gather evidence ourselves, particularly hard-to-find evidence that can make the difference between winning a case and losing it.
For example, our evidence collection can encompass:
- Tracking down witnesses who would rather not be found. We can interview them to find out their sides of the story and subpoena them so that they must show up to court to testify, under oath, at trial.
- Examining physical evidence and reviewing the state’s chain of custody. Often, the evidence is compromised because the state cut corners when collecting it.
- Bolstering your alibi by interviewing witnesses or finding other evidence, such as proof that you were at a store or at an ATM when a crime took place.
This type of evidence collection takes time and know-how. At Alpert Schreyer, we recognize that many cases are won or lost at this early stage of the case, so we spare no resource in fully examining the factual record on your behalf.
Attacking the State’s Evidence
In addition to building a defense, we work aggressively to get key pieces of the state’s case thrown out of court. The state and federal constitutions place limits on how the police can collect evidence and how the state can use it. Often, the state violates these rules. If your Maryland criminal attorney objects, you can suppress this evidence, which means it may never see the light of day.
We have successfully suppressed:
- Incriminating statements and confessions made by defendants that the police collected without fully giving required Miranda warnings
- Incriminating statements and confessions obtained by police coercion in violation of the Due Process Clause
- Physical evidence collected without a search warrant or applicable extenuating circumstances
- Second-hand gossip and other hearsay the state tries to introduce at trial
- Unduly prejudicial guilt-by-association or character evidence the prosecutor attempts to smuggle into the trial in violation of the state’s rules of evidence
- Inflammatory statements in cross-examination or closing arguments as the prosecutor tries to get an edge in violation of Maryland’s rules of evidence
To successfully convince the court to throw out evidence, lawyers need experience, attention to detail, and an ability to think quickly on their feet. The Maryland criminal defense lawyers at Alpert Schreyer possess all of these qualities and are prepared to use them in your defense.
When we can’t get the court to throw out evidence, we will attack its credibility. For example, we will methodically cross-examine all of the state’s witnesses to uncover their hidden biases and bring their contractions to the attention of the judge and jury. We have successfully cross-examined hundreds of witnesses in our careers. We know how to patiently lay traps for even the most conniving witnesses and get them to impeach themselves.
Negotiations & Plea Bargains
At Alpert Schreyer, we are committed to achieving the most favorable result possible for our clients. However, sometimes the best possible outcome will be to take a plea bargain if the prosecutor offers one. We are fully prepared to take all cases to trial, but we also are ethically bound to explain to you the likely outcome if you try to fight your case in court.
By taking a plea bargain, you might agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge, or the prosecutor might recommend a lighter sentence, such as no time in jail. These can make for attractive options, depending on your life circumstances and the strength of the state’s evidence.
At Alpert Schreyer, we will help you fully understand the consequences of pleading guilty so that you can make an informed choice. Many factors go into the analysis, including your criminal history and whether you want to risk going to trial. Although we can help you think through the consequences of accepting a plea, the choice is ultimately yours.
Our Maryland Criminal Attorneys have successfully represented hundreds of clients. View Our Case Results.
The Results of a Successful Defense
Because you are facing criminal charges does not mean your trial will end in prison and monetary fines. A successful defense can end in many results. It all depends on the circumstances of your case, and the potential penalties that you faced.
If the jury finds that you did not commit any form of crime, they will declare you innocent of the charges. This means that there are no penalties, and that you will not have a criminal record created- no matter what had been previously claimed. For people facing charges of multiple crimes, it is possible to be innocent of some and guilty of others. This can result in fewer penalties.
By proving that the circumstances of the crime do not fit the criteria for the charge, it is possible to have charges reduced. It may be possible to prove that the crime does not qualify as a felony, but is actually a misdemeanor. This can mean a difference of years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
Rather than prison time, a plea deal and other tactics can result in a defendant being sentenced to probation. During this time, a defendant will be able to live outside prison as long as he or she follows specific guidelines. At the end of probation, he or she will be free from obligation. He or she may even have some charges wiped from the record.
Misdemeanors vs. Felonies in Maryland
Depending upon the circumstances of the case, crimes will either be prosecuted as felonies or misdemeanors. For example, assault is often charged as a misdemeanor unless it involves severe bodily injury, in which case the charge would be escalated to a felony. Similarly, drug offenses are usually prosecuted as felonies, but possession of a small amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor in many states.
Penalties for Misdemeanors in Maryland
A misdemeanor usually is punishable by a fine or by incarceration in a local jail for less than one year. Prosecutors typically do not convene a grand jury to investigate or issue indictments for misdemeanor charges, although the same conduct may give rise to both felony and misdemeanor charges.
Examples of misdemeanors include:
- Theft under $1,500: Up to 18 months in prison and maximum fine of $10,000.
- DUI/DWI: Maximum one year in prison and fine of $1,000.
- Most traffic offenses
- Drug possession: (not including marijuana): Up to four years in prison and $25,000 fine.
Misdemeanors are usually charged by a written complaint, or “information.” The charges may be considered minor, but being accused of a misdemeanor–not to mention being convicted of one–can cause a major disruption in the life of an accused. As in any criminal case, it is essential that a defendant in a misdemeanor prosecution have zealous representation backing him or her up.
Penalties for Felonies in Maryland
Felonies in Maryland come with very serious fines and criminal penalties. In some cases, conviction of a felony offense can cost you civil rights as well, including the right to vote, join the military, and run for public office.
Some examples of felony crimes, including:
- First-degree assault: Up to 25 years in prison.
- Drug trafficking: Up to five years in prison and hefty fines.
- Murder/Homicide: Life in prison without parole.
- Rape: Up to 20 years in prison, or life in prison, in the case of first-degree rape.
- First-degree burglary: up to 20 years in prison.
- Theft over $1,500: Up to five years in prison and maximum $5,000 fine.
With decades of courtroom success, a Maryland criminal defense attorney at Alpert Schreyer not only has deep insight into the needs of your case, but has the skills and resources needed to find success. Whatever charges you may be facing, we will work to defend your rights and create a better future for you and the people who depend on you.
Q:Do I need a criminal defense lawyer if i'm guilty?
A:No matter the circumstances of your arrest, you should absolutely hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you. Even if you are guilty you still have rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution that a defense lawyer can ensure are protected. A lawyer can also negotiate reduced sentencing, and in some cases, get charges dropped or cases dismissed if there isn't enough evidence. Bottom line: call a criminal defense attorney first thing if you've been arrested.
Q:Will Speaking to the Police Help My Case?
A:NO! You should never speak to a police officer if you've been arrested for a crime without your attorney present. The right to remain silent protects you from incriminating yourself during police questioning. Exercise that right! However, choosing to remain silent does not mean you should resist arrest. You can comply with an officer's commands and treat them with respect while refraining to answer their questions.
Q:What is the Difference Between Probation & Parole?
A:Simply put, probation is an alternative to jail time whereas parole allows someone to serve the remainder of their sentence outside of prision. In some cases, your criminal defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to accept probation, under specific terms, instead of going to prision. If you have already served part of your sentence in jail, you may qualify for parole if you meet certain critera, such as being a model inmate.
Q:Can the police interrogate me without reading me my Miranda Rights?
A:The police are legally obligated to read the Miranda Rights to a suspect prior to any interrogation. If an officer does not read the suspect their rights or delays in doing so, any information they obtain through interrogation may be inadmissible in court. However, this does not relate to statements that are volunteered by the suspect. Ultimately, it’s best to say as little as possible to law enforcement if you’ve been placed into custody.
Q:Can my person or property be searched without a warrant?
A:Yes, there are some instances where law enforcement officers may be exempt from obtaining a warrant. These exceptions can involve the verbal permission of a suspect, evidence is in plain sight, or an emergency that requires prompt attention. Sometimes, law enforcement officers take advantage of these exceptions, but our experienced defense lawyers are prepared to protect your rights!
Our legal team boasts over 70 years of combined experience defending the rights of the accused.
Our attorneys are former prosecutors who know how to recognize mistakes made by law enforcement.
We have an established reputations as one of Maryland's top-rated DUI defense firms.
Our attorneys are committed to taking the time to clearly communicate & understand your case.
We have the resources to investigate cases, provide expert witnesses in court & advocate for you.
We promise to fight for you with the intensity, drive & skill necessary to produce results.