Many people have heard of the legal terms “misdemeanor” and “felony.” These are the two categories of criminal conduct under Maryland law. Misdemeanors are considered to be less serious than felonies, and they likewise typically carry a less severe penalty if a conviction results. Some of the more common misdemeanors include drunk driving, petty theft, vandalism, reckless driving, and minor drug possession. Despite differences between misdemeanors and felonies, if you are charged with either type of crime, you are encouraged to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your counsel will review the charges and prepare a proper defense under the circumstances.
Although drunk driving is typically considered a misdemeanor, the charges could be elevated to a felony if the impaired driver’s actions cause a person’s death. News stories concerning the recent tragic death of a cyclist in Maryland have been reported throughout the nation. According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, a Bishop from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland was allegedly driving while intoxicated and sending text messages when she struck and killed a cyclist. The attorney for Baltimore City charged the Bishop with criminal negligent manslaughter, driving while impaired and texting, and leaving the scene of an accident. News reports have also suggested that the Bishop had pleaded guilty back in 2010 to driving under the influence. These are very serious criminal charges that must be addressed accordingly.
The police who investigated the scene say that at the time of the accident, the victim was riding his bicycle south on Roland Avenue. Investigators allege that the Bishop had been driving behind the cyclist, veered into the bike lane, and struck him from behind. The cyclist was thrown onto the hood of the Bishop’s car and hit the windshield. It is alleged that the Bishop was also sending text messages at the time of the collision. Even though the Bishop is reported to have left the scene of the accident, she returned to the crash site approximately half an hour later. At that point, she was taken to a Baltimore police station, where she was given a Breathalyzer test.
Some people have criticized the handling of this case with respect to the pace at which the charges were filed and announced. But others have suggested that the charges were brought quickly, considering the time it can take for the police and other officials to reconstruct the incident. Reports indicate that the Bishop could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. However, the sentence in a criminal case can vary a great deal, depending on the particular circumstances.
Anyone arrested or charged with a crime is entitled to a basic set of rights. One is innocent until proven guilty in this country. With that in mind, it is imperative that a person charged with a crime contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your counsel may be able to raise a defense that nullifies the charges completely. In other cases, your attorney may be able to reduce the charges against you, resulting in a less severe penalty. Anthony Fatemi is an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney who can work to develop the best strategy to defend your case. Contact us at 301-519-2801 or via our online form.
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