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United States District Court for the District of Maryland
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Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland

The phrase “mission creep,” which pertains to “the gradual broadening of the original objectives” beyond a task’s original scope, goals, or focus, originated in military circles but has been adopted by much of the business world. A type of mission creep can occur in a police traffic stop, as well. While mission creep in business may cost time or money, mission creep in a traffic stop may cost the suspect his/her constitutional rights. If you were arrested because the police stretched the boundaries of their interaction with you beyond what the law allows, then an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer may be an essential part of getting evidence seized in that stop suppressed.

These sorts of movaing-target traffic stops are regrettably common. A recent drug case from Carroll County shows how a person’s rights can be violated.

On Aug. 11, 2020, a Carroll County sheriff’s deputy was conducting a traffic patrol of Route 140 in Finksburg. Shortly after noon, the deputy observed a car with two men in the front seat both of whom “sat stiff as a board” while avoiding making eye contact with the deputy. Thinking this suspicious, the deputy began following the vehicle to “look for a motor vehicle violation.” The deputy soon thereafter pulled them over for an unsafe lane change.

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Criminal law in Maryland allows the state to punish people convicted of crimes in several ways, including incarceration, fines, and restitution. Just like all other aspects of criminal law and punishment, there are rules about when and how the state can order restitution. If those rules aren’t followed, the restitution order isn’t valid. Whether you’re dealing with a jail sentence, a fine, or a restitution order, a knowledgeable Maryland criminal defense lawyer can help you take the proper action if the state has failed to follow the rules in your case.

C.P. was a man who pleaded guilty to two counts of assault in 2008 as part of a plea agreement. The court sentenced him to a period of active incarceration plus five years probation. Additionally, the court noted that, as a condition of probation, the state would propose an order for restitution.

The state released C.P. in June 2015, which also represented the start of his five-year period of probation. Those five years came and went and the man’s probation ended on June 19, 2020. In early February 2021 — seven and one-half months later — the state submitted a proposed order of restitution. The following October, the trial court entered an order demanding that C.P. pay $6,116 in restitution.

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The laws that impact your immigration status are sometimes a complex web traversing multiple areas of law. So, you may wonder, what happens if a criminal statute is amended and that change alters the status of my deportation case? Potentially, that kind of change may be a crucial event in your favor. A knowledgeable Maryland deportation defense lawyer may be able to help you use that change to get your deportation order reversed.

To get an example of how the process unfolds, we can look at the deportation case of D.W., an immigrant from Jamaica. In 1987, he moved to the U.S. and became a permanent resident. He was six years old at that time.

A 2003 run-in with police in Virginia resulted in a conviction for assault and battery of a police officer, obstructing justice, and disorderly conduct. According to the court, all those crimes were the result of D.W.’s resisting an officer who was trying to mace him after the officer had already handcuffed him.

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As many people in the tech industry can attest, 2022 has been a down year, with many tech employers slashing payroll. Losing one’s job in a round of layoffs is traumatizing for most workers, but it is especially so if you’re a non-citizen who’s here on a temporary work visa. If you’re in the U.S. on an H-1B or another work visa and your employer lays you off, you must act quickly. If you have questions about your immigration status, be sure you get the advice you need by consulting an experienced Maryland immigration lawyer.

The 2022 tech layoffs hit especially hard in the social media and financial areas. As CNBC reported, Facebook parent Meta shed 11,000 jobs and Twitter cut 3,700. Cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase and online payment processor Stripe each laid off around 1,100 workers. On the year, tech employers have shed between 90,000-150,000 jobs (depending on who you ask,) with 45,000 of those happening in a November flurry of layoffs.

If you’re in this country on an H-1B visa, the termination of your employment doesn’t mean that your status immediately becomes “illegal,” but it does mean that the “clock” is on. The federal immigration regulations (specifically, 8 CFR Section 214.1) give you a 60-day “grace period” during which you can find a new employer to submit a new H-1B petition for you.

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Sometimes, in interacting with law enforcement, you may make mistakes. Maybe you said something you shouldn’t have. Maybe you gave the police consent to search when you should’ve declined. Be aware that, even if you made a tactically less-than-ideal choice, there often are still ways to mitigate the damage and protect your rights. An experienced attorney will know how, which is why retaining a knowledgeable Maryland criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible is vital.

A recent criminal case originating in Anne Arundel County illustrates what we mean.

It began with a knock on the door of D.M.’s home. Law enforcement officers questioned D.M. about a suspected upload of illegal content. D.M. signed a written consent allowing law enforcement to search his electronic devices. They collected his devices and, within a few days, made a “mirror-image” copy of his laptop computer’s hard drive.

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Immigration law, like most areas of the law, has certain hard-and-fast deadlines. For example, the age cut-off for obtaining Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status, which is one potential basis for obtaining a green card, is the applicant’s 21st birthday. Sometimes, an applicant may be pushed to the brink of that deadline through forces outside their control. For those applicants who find themselves facing unavoidable last-minute applications, recent court decisions may offer some good news. As with any sort of immigration filing, a skilled Maryland immigration lawyer can provide invaluable assistance as you pursue an SIJ application… whether or not you’re up against the deadline.

To receive SIJ status, a juvenile must file USCIS Form I-360 and establish that he “has been abused, neglected or abandoned by one or both parents making reunification with those parents impossible” and that return to his native country is not in his best interest.

Generally, the basis for meeting the first of these required criteria is a declaration of dependency by a state court judge. This creates a major challenge for some SIJ applicants: they must meet a strictly enforced deadline (the date of their 21st birthday) but they also are at the mercy of factors outside their control; namely, the speed at which the state court adjudicates its dependency case docket.

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Courts, as well as the legal community, are keenly aware of the challenging job that police officers have, Officers daily make split-second decisions while seeking to keep the neighborhoods they serve safe. They also, however, are charged with “respecting the dignity and Constitutional rights of persons they confront.” Sometimes, even skillful officers acting in good faith can step over the line and stop and/or search someone without a proper legal basis. When that happens and criminal charges come from that stop, knowledgeable Maryland criminal defense lawyers are here to vindicate the rights of those accused people.

This is especially true in neighborhoods that are home to high levels of crime, as a recent weapons case from Southwest Baltimore demonstrates.

Two city police officers, while on foot patrol in a high-crime area, spotted a man who they thought was acting suspiciously. Essentially, what they knew was this: the man, L.B., walked with his right arm swinging “freely” while he kept his left arm “braced against his side.” While the man was inside a convenience store, they spotted a “bulge in the front of his waistband.”

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For many immigrants, obtaining their green card likely included significant time, a substantial amount of money, and a lot of paperwork. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that simply obtaining a green card often isn’t the final chapter in your immigration journey. If you decide to remain in the United States for more than a decade, you’ll typically need to obtain a replacement green card, which is its own bureaucratic (and time-consuming) journey. Whether you’re seeking your initial green card or a replacement green card, an experienced Maryland green card lawyer can help you as you navigate the process to avoid errors that can cause needless (and potentially costly) delays.

When your initial green card is approaching its expiration, you have to file an “Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card),” or U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-90. While getting your initial green card takes a lot of time, the wait time for a renewal green card after you file your Form I-90 typically is shorter, but still often spans several months. To accommodate the possibility that your initial green card might expire while you’re waiting for the government to approve your Form I-90 and provide you with a new green card, you had an extra 12 months from the date of your Form I-90 receipt notice (a/k/a Form I-797, Notice of Action.) To travel abroad, reenter the U.S., or obtain new employment, you simply present your expired green card alongside your Form I-90 receipt notice.

Recently, though, Form I-90 processing times began stretching beyond the one-year mark, creating a need for the USCIS to take action. That action came on September 28, when the USCIS announced that, effective September 26, it was automatically expanding the extension period for those permanent residents waiting on the government to process their I-90 forms.

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For many people, “let’s meet up for a drink” is a frequent first-date proposal. Mixing alcohol and dating may be common but also presents risks, particularly when it comes to sexual contact and disputes regarding consent. If you find yourself facing charges for something that was actually a consensual sexual encounter, be sure to retain a knowledgeable Maryland criminal defense lawyer right away. Whether or not alcohol was involved, the right legal team can help you put on the effective and complete defense you deserve.

J.J. was one of those sex crime defendants. In August 2020, law enforcement officers in Anne Arundel County pulled over a woman they suspected was driving while intoxicated. When the officers approached her, the woman was upset and told them about her date with J.J.

According to the woman, she blacked out during the date and, when she regained consciousness, she found J.J. sexually attacking her. The man, however, maintained (and testified) that the entire encounter was completely consensual. The state brought charges of second-degree rape, third-degree sexual offense, fourth-degree sexual offense, and second-degree assault.

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Countless numbers of people enter this country — some illegally — to escape persecution, torture, and possible death in the country they left behind. For those people, the option may exist to defeat a removal order and remain in this country if they can credibly establish that the threat exists and meets the criteria the law requires. If you find yourself in that position, it’s vitally important to have on your side a knowledgeable Maryland deportation defense lawyer who understands the law in all its intricacies and knows how to make your case.

An example of this sort of deportation defense was the immigration case of a man named Adan. He was a Guatemalan man who had entered the United States illegally (for a second time) in 2018.

Again, Adan faced removal. At that time, he declared his fear that, if he returned to Guatemala, he would face persecution and/or torture at the hands of the gangs who tried to recruit his son and with whom he fought regarding the son.

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