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Domestic Violence Isn’t Always Physical: Know the Signs of Domestic Violence

Intimate partner violence makes up 15% of all violent crime in the United States, and it’s a very serious problem. While many people associate domestic violence with being struck or physically attacked, there are many signs of domestic violence that don’t involve any physical contact at all. What are the more subtle indicators that your loved one may be in a domestic violence situation?

Domestic Violence Often Involves Power and Control

Every relationship has a different dynamic, which means what is healthy and consensual for one couple might be different from what is healthy for you. However, most domestic violence relationships involve an element of control. The abusive partner will find ways to control the other partner, whether that’s through the things that they say or financial manipulation. One of the more subtle signs of domestic violence is a need for power and control, as some abusive partners may try to pass it off as simply being possessive or protective.

Some signs of trying to gain control or power include:

  • Saying that you don’t do anything right
  • Being extremely jealous of time that you spend with friends or out of the house
  • Pressuring you to stay home or isolated instead of speaking with or spending time with family members or friends
  • Insulting or embarrassing you in front of others
  • Pressuring you to do anything you are uncomfortable with (sexual acts, drugs, alcohol, etc.)

Checking In Constantly

Another subtle one of the signs of domestic violence is frequently checking in to see where the other partner is, what they are doing, or who they are with. Something like this can be misinterpreted as being caring or just curious. However, it can escalate over time and make the partner hesitant to leave the house for fear of their partner spamming them with texts or calls. Constant checking in also often escalates to include things like tracking software.

Isolating the Victim

Abusers want to isolate their victims for a variety of reasons, including wanting to have more control. This is another one of the signs of domestic violence that can be defended by the abuser, as they might claim that they just want to spend more time together or that they don’t like a certain friend group. Isolating someone separates them from people who might be critical of the abuser, which can create a situation where gaslighting is more likely to occur.

Financial Control

Financial control is another type of non-physical abuse. Retaining access to all bank account passwords, giving the victim an allowance, or pushing them to stay home instead of working and earning their own money can all try to cut off their access to money that might help them leave or become more independent.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help in Any Domestic Violence Situation

If you are concerned that you or a loved one is being abused by a partner, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. We are committed to using our experience along with facts from your specific case in order to achieve the result you deserve. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

4 Misconceptions About Maryland DUI

Alcohol impaired drivers get behind the wheel millions of times every year, which results in very sobering statistics involving alcohol related crashes. It has also resulted in the rise in popularity of several misleading or outright false misconceptions relating to Maryland DUI charges. In this blog, we are dispelling the most common myths pertaining to DUI in the state of Maryland.

“It is Best to Refuse a Breathalyzer Test”

The purpose of a breathalyzer test is to provide additional evidence when filing a police report. In other words, abstaining from the test is not an effective means to avoid a charge. Law enforcement can cite erratic driving and physical symptoms of being under the influence as adequate evidence for a DUI charge. Moreover, refusal to comply with the test can lead to a 120-day license suspension.

“Testing Under the Legal Limit Means I Have Not Committed a Crime”

The legal blood alcohol content limit of .08 simply serves as a threshold for presumption of impairment. Exceeding the limit presumes you are driving while impaired by alcohol. So, what if you test under the limit, or don’t test at all? In this case, you can in fact still be convicted of DUI. In some cases, field sobriety tests, witness statements, and even video surveillance provide enough evidence for a charge to be upheld in court.

“I Only Had a Few Drinks, I am Safe to Drive”

Deciphering the impact of alcohol on an individual involves more than simply measuring the quantity consumed. Metabolism and body weight largely impact the effects of alcohol, meaning you could be at risk for DUI even after minimal drinking. The effects only ramp up for those currently taking other types of medication. For complete peace of mind, be sure to make alternate transportation plans if you know alcohol will be served!

“My DUI Case is Open and Shut”

Even if it may feel like the evidence is beginning to stack up against you, your DUI case is not hopeless. There are often arguments or evidence that can be used in your favor to reduce charges or even eliminate them altogether. This is where an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer can step in and make the difference.

Whether a responding officer collected evidence unlawfully, lacked probable cause, or made an unreasonable stop, our team will explore all avenues to negotiate a just outcome for your DUI case.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help Fighting Your DUI Charge

If you are searching for the right path forward after a DUI or DWI charge in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. We are committed to using our experience along with facts from your specific case in order to achieve the result you deserve. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Who is Liable in a Rear End Collision?

There are seemingly endless types of car accidents, ranging from minor parking lot fender benders to highspeed freeway pileups. The most common of all, however, is the rear-end collision. It’s no secret that the driver who collided with the leading car is the one who assumes liability most of the time, but are there any exceptions to the rule? Read on to learn more about establishing liability after a rear-end collision.

Establishing Fault After a Rear End Collision in Maryland

Maryland is an at-fault state, which means that every multi-car collision must ultimately end with one party being held liable. In the case of a rear-end accident, the trailing driver is usually pinned with negligence and held liable. This isn’t always the case, however. A closer look at the details of your collision may reveal that the negligence of the leading driver directly led to the impact.

Here are the most common scenarios that lead to leading drivers being held liable for rear-end accidents:

• The leading driver suddenly accelerates in reverse gear, causing a collision.
• The leading driver has a mechanical issue but fails to safely move over to the side of the road.
• The leading driver has nonfunctional brake lights.
• The leading driver drives unpredictably, or brake checks the trailing driver.

While the first three examples are mistakes that any driver could reasonably make, it’s worth being extra careful with the final example. Brake checking is a form of road rage that is used to intimidate or surprise a trailing driver. Unfortunately, it can very easily result in serious accidents with multiple cars involved. Additionally, it can lead to a reckless driving charge.

In addition to not letting the stress of high traffic driving cause a regrettable mistake, committing to the following driving practices will help ensure you never find yourself on the wrong side of a rear-end collision case:

• Keeping a safe distance behind other drivers
• Yielding the right of way
• Using turn signals
• Looking out for road hazards ahead
• Driving predictably
• Accounting for longer stopping time in inclement weather

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Your Maryland Car Accident Claims

After leaving the scene of the accident, it’s time to collaborate with an attorney who can provide legal counsel as you prepare to seek out compensation for any damages or injuries incurred. If you are searching for the right car accident attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Estate Planning Tips When You’re Expecting a New Baby

Whether you’re a recent college graduate looking to get a head start or an individual planning their retirement, there really is no wrong time to take the plunge and start creating your estate plan. Even still, there are a few major life events that may serve as a reminder to take those first few steps toward outlining your wishes. For many individuals, the first time they seriously consider creating an estate plan is when their first child is on the way. Becoming a parent involves a ton of responsibility, including attempting to meet your child’s needs and create a structure that allows them to enjoy safety and security in life. In this blog post, we’ll outline a few simple steps you can take to begin the estate planning process when you’re expecting.

Purchase or Update Life Insurance

If you don’t already have a life insurance policy, a great time to start shopping for one is when you’re about to enter the world of parenthood. In the event of a tragedy involving either parent, life insurance can step in to ensure stability for the surviving spouse and children. Life insurance premiums are generally affordable, and they can provide a major safety net in the unfortunate event that they need to be utilized.

Do you already have a life insurance plan? Now is also a great time to review it to ensure your coverage is sufficient and that your new child is listed as a beneficiary.

Make a Will

We understand that getting into the details and assigning beneficiaries for your possessions may not be appealing at a younger age. This is something you can focus on later in life if you prefer. However, now is the perfect time to start getting your key estate planning documents up to date. Consider protecting your family’s security by reviewing or creating the following:

• Revocable Living Trust
• Health Care Powers of Attorney
• Financial Powers of Attorney
• Living wills
• Wills

At the very minimum, you will also want to update beneficiaries for your 401k/ IRA and life insurance to include both your spouse and your children.

Optional: Set Up a Trust

For those that want maximum control over the dispersal of their assets after their passing, we recommend setting up a trust. Typically, this is the most ideal way to transfer financial assets to those under the age of 18.

Unlike a will, a trust allows access to funds without court intervention or the probate process. As such, you can designate an individual to manage your trust and be in immediate strategic control of how your children should be taken care of after your passing.

Optional: Begin a College Fund

Many life insurance policies include tuition assistance in the event that both parents pass away prior to their child’s high school graduation. However, you should still consider starting a college fund now! Consider making contributions to 529 accounts to get a head start on this very large future expense.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help Starting Your Estate Planning

If you are searching for an estate planning and family law attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

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All About the State of Cannabis Legality in Maryland

In 2023, we will reach the ten-year anniversary of medical cannabis legalization in the state of Maryland. Ever since possession in small quantities was decriminalized in 2014, our state hasn’t undergone many legal changes when it comes to cannabis possession and usage. Over that same time span, nearby DC, Virginia, and New York have all legalized cannabis for recreational usage. In this blog, we’re assessing the current state of cannabis legality in the state of Maryland and forecasting the next several years.

Cannabis Legality in Maryland

As outlined earlier, possession of small quantities of cannabis has been decriminalized in the state of Maryland. Those with less than 10 grams on their person can expect a civil offense penalty, a fine not exceeding $100, and zero incarceration time.

Once the 10-gram threshold is exceeded, the consequences ramp up notably. Possession of over 10 grams of cannabis can result in a fine not exceeding $1,000, a year of incarceration, as well as a criminal misdemeanor charge. If an excessively high quantity is discovered, or if intent to distribute can be proven, offenders can expect even steeper fines along with a felony charge and a maximum of five years imprisonment.

As is the case with any misdemeanor crime, individuals potentially facing charges should seek out legal guidance and assistance to reduce the impact of the ensuing negative consequences.

A Look Ahead

In November of 2022, Maryland may become the next state to officially legalize recreational cannabis usage. The decision will come after citizens vote on the question of whether cannabis reform should come to Maryland on our November ballot. Should the bill pass, here is how the landscape of cannabis will most likely change in Maryland:

Between the start of 2023 and July 2023, a transitional period would take place, resulting in small fines for possession under an ounce and a half. After the transitional period, the state would then view possession as follows:

  • Possession of 1.5 ounces or less: Fully legal
  • Possession of up to two cannabis plants: Fully legal
  • Possession not exceeding 2.5 ounces: Civil citation, no criminal charges
  • Possession exceeding 2.5 ounces: Existing marijuana laws apply (civil violation with a fine not exceeding $100)
  • Expungements of past marijuana- related crimes.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Represent You After Being Accused of a Crime in the State of Maryland

If you are searching for a criminal defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Juridical concept about DUI Penalties with phrase on the piece of paper.

The Potential Collateral Consequences of Being Charged with a DUI in Maryland

A DUI charge is a misdemeanor crime in the state of Maryland. While that is undoubtedly less severe than a felony charge, don’t mistakenly believe that a DUI charge is something that will blow over with minimal consequences. In this blog, we cover the potential legal consequences of a DUI as well as a few collateral consequences that many offenders are forced to grapple with.

Maryland DUI Conviction Penalties

As stated earlier, a DUI conviction is considered a misdemeanor crime.  Here are a few of the potential consequences associated with a first-time conviction in Maryland:

  • A fine not exceeding $1,000 (or $2,000 for second offense)
  • A maximum of one-year imprisonment (or two years for a second offense)
  • Up to twelve penalty points are added to a driver’s record (or 8 points for DWI)
  • Mandatory participation in Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program
  • Required attendance and participation in an alcohol abuse treatment program
  • Not entitled to have a conviction or PBJ expunged

These are all the sanctions and punishments that the state could impose on those convicted of a DUI, but it doesn’t end there. Here are a few of the indirect consequences of the charge.

Collateral Consequences of Being Charged with DUI in Maryland

 

License Difficulties

The maximum 12-point penalty from a DUI charge alone is enough for license revocation, meaning you may end up having to reapply for your driver’s license down the road.  At the minimum, you are subject to a six-month license revocation for a DUI and a six-month suspension for a DWI. It is imperative to be represented by competent counsel at an MVA hearing. Naturally, either of these consequences will introduce many complications in an area that used to be simple and straightforward.

Time Lost

In most straightforward DUI and DWI cases, offenders with proper legal representation can avoid jail time. Even still, the proceedings following a DUI charge are sure to require some of your time. Expect tasks such as preparing for, requesting, and attending a hearing at the office of Administrative Hearings to occupy some of your time throughout this process, as well as attending a certified alcohol education program for at least 12 hours.  With that in mind, be sure to choose an advocate who can provide counsel at each decision point and ensure a smooth process from the initial consultation to the conclusion of your case.

Day-to-Day Difficulties

These aren’t penalties, per se, but they are complications that occur as a direct result of the charge:

  • Difficulty finding employment opportunities
  • Higher auto insurance rates
  • Higher life insurance rates
  • Possible loss of security clearance or professional licenses
  • Damaged reputation
  • Payments for alternative transportation

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help Fighting Your DUI Charge

If you are searching for the right path forward after a DUI or DWI charge in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. We are committed to using our experience along with facts from your specific case in order to achieve the result you deserve. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Man Taking Photo Of Car Accident On Mobile Phone

Involved in a Car Accident? Be Sure to Gather These 3 Things at the Scene

So, you were just involved in a car accident and it’s time to start picking up the pieces and moving forward. After your adrenaline settles down, the immediate aftermath of an accident is the best chance to get the information from the “at-fault” party to pass along and begin building your case. Here are three key pieces of information you should be sure to retrieve at the scene of the accident.

But before you do anything, be sure to stop and assess yourself for injuries. If you or anyone in your vehicle is injured, be sure to call 911 right away. If you are not sure if making the call is necessary, it’s always best to call either way. Even if there are no signs after an injury, a responding officer can file a police report containing key details that are likely to benefit your case down the road.

After assessing yourself for injury, relocating your vehicle to a safe area, and confirming you can safely exit the vehicle under your own power, it’s time to make an effort to gather this critical information:

  • Contact information. The contact information you should collect from the other driver involved includes their name, driver’s license numbers, car insurance company, insurance policy number. To eliminate the chance for an error in transcribing, feel free to take a photo of the driver’s insurance card and vehicle tag rather than jotting it down.
  • Witness information. Did anyone witness your accident unfold? If so, make it a priority to gather their contact information as well. In the event that the other driver tries to assign blame to you, a witness account could potentially make all the difference.
  • Evidence. Once you have the contact information of all relevant parties, it’s time to star gathering evidence. Relevant information includes the make, model, and year of the car that collided with you. Additionally, be sure to snap plenty of photos of the accident, including any damages, traffic signals, and skid marks. Finally, survey the area and attempt to find surveillance cameras or traffic cameras. Be sure to remember their location, as this too could come in handy as you prepare to form a case and seek reparations for the damages you have experienced.

Your Next Step? Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Your Maryland Car Accident Claims

After leaving the scene of the accident, it’s time to collaborate with an attorney who can provide legal counsel as you prepare to seek out compensation for any damages or injuries incurred. If you are searching for the right car accident attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Trust and Estate Planning is shown on the conceptual business photo

Is Now the Right Time to Consider Starting a Trust?

At some point, we will no longer be around to take care of our loved ones. Taking the time to create an estate plan will ensure one’s wishes are met when the inevitable takes place down the road. But can a will alone meet all your needs? There are a variety of scenarios in which individuals benefit from starting a trust to supplement their estate planning. Here are four examples of how a trust could benefit you!

What is a Trust?

Put simply, a trust is a document that holds property or assets for a specific group of beneficiaries. The most crucial thing to remember is that wills only take effect after an individual has passed. Until then, if one were to become incapacitated, they would be unable to provide critical information regarding the handling of their finances. Trusts, on the other hand, go into effect the moment they are signed.

Why Might Someone Start a Trust?

  1. Bypass Probate. The primary advantage of starting a trust is that it allows families to bypass the often-lengthy probate process. While the process can otherwise take up to two years, a trust grants your beneficiaries instant access to their inheritance. Plus, you can also avoid pesky probate fees that add up quickly.
  2. Eliminate Beneficiary Arguments. There is no question that the details of an estate plan can trigger family feuds. Luckily, trusts can prevent this unnecessary drama during the grieving period because of their complete customizability. Additionally, trusts are more resistant to contesting than a standard will, meaning one can ensure their exact wishes are being met after their passing.
  3. Divide Property. If your assets include real estate, you could potentially benefit from starting a trust. This way, you can spell out how the property will be transferred, who can access the property, how shared inheritors can buy out the property, and whether the property can be sold.
  4. Fund Your Favorite Causes. Starting a trust also gives individuals the flexibility to support a cause of their choosing after their passing. Whether you would like to set aside funds to cover a family member’s tuition or donate to a charity of your choosing, a trust will empower you to do so.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Assistance with Your Estate Planning Needs

If you are searching for an estate planning and family law attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

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The Ethics of Estate Planning

The estate planning process is about much more than planning the distribution of assets in the quickest and most cost-effective manner. While that is certainly among our highest priorities, there are many ethical concerns associated with the estate planning process as well. You’ve likely heard a hand full of horror stories involving family disagreements and extended probate delays. While these things certainly happen, the Mobley and Brown legal team operates with the following ethical considerations to ensure we play a key role in offering thorough and morally sound legal counsel to our clients.

Competence

Any attorney you speak with regarding your upcoming or ongoing estate planning should be well versed in guiding individuals through the process from beginning to end. When matters directly impact you, your finances, and your loved ones are involved, be sure to rely on a team with a wealth of experience that makes conscious efforts to stay abreast of the latest best practices in the field.

Navigating Through Conflicts of Interest

We all hope for a seamless estate planning process, but the fact of the matter is that conflicts of interest can occasionally creep in. As such, our primary concern always remains the same: doing everything within our power to represent our client’s best interests. When you work with our team, you can enjoy the peace of mind that we’re working for you.

Testamentary Capacity

While we attempt to serve our clients’ best interests, it’s imperative to confirm our clients have full testamentary capacity. We assume the ethical responsibility of ensuring our clients have the mental capacity to make sound decisions when their future and the future of their loved ones is involved. If a client has become partially or fully unable to provide for themselves, we are happy to explore the possibility of guardianship to protect their best interests.

Diligence and Continued Obligation

Operating diligently is another major ethical concern of a qualified estate planning lawyer. We offer our clients the peace of mind that their wishes are being met in a cost-effective and law-abiding manner. Critically, we also place heavy emphasis on keeping our clients informed of our continued obligation. Estate planning isn’t a one-time thing that you can check off on your to-do list, but rather an ongoing process that will require attention from time to time. With Mobley and Brown, we are readily available to discuss the current state of your estate plan and make any adjustments with full transparency and open communication.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help for Families Who Need Estate Planning

If you are searching for an estate planning and family law attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Traffic Ticket Police Vehicle - A police cruiser with the lights flashing has stopped a speeding car along the interstate highway and is issuing a ticket.

Have You Received a Traffic Charge in the State of Maryland? Here’s How to Proceed

Regardless of the severity of a traffic offense, there is no question that heightened feelings of anxiety are often part of the immediate aftermath of a traffic stop and the ensuing charge. In this blog, we offer peace of mind by outlining how the aftermath of your charge will likely unfold and how to secure the most positive outcome!

The Three Types of Maryland Traffic Charges

There are three types of traffic charges in the state of Maryland:

  • Infractions
  • Misdemeanors
  • Felonies

These charges are met with either a payable offense or a must-appear offense.

Payable Offenses Vs Must-Appear Offenses

Payable Offenses

As the least severe of the three charges, infractions are mostly handled as payable offenses. Common payable violations include:

  • Speeding tickets
  • Illegal turning
  • Running a stop sign

After receiving notice of a payable offense, you will have three options to proceed:

  • Bypass the court process, plead guilty, and pay the required fine
  • Plead guilty with explanation and request a hearing
  • Plead not guilty and request a trial

Still debating your best route forward after receiving a payable offense? We’re happy to observe the specifics of your situation to help you make the best and most cost-effective decision. Critically, be sure to act fast! You must choose one of the three above options within 30 days of receiving the offense to avoid potential license suspension.

Must-Appear Offenses

While you may decide to go it alone in the aftermath of a minor traffic infraction, we highly advise consulting with an attorney as your ally for a criminal traffic charge. Most often, such charges include violations such as:

  • DUI
  • Hit and run
  • Fleeing the police
  • Driving with suspended license
  • Driving while revoked

Each of these charges are unique, but there are a few serious implications associated with each of them. In addition to paying the required fines, individuals charged with must-appear traffic offenses are also required to appear for a court ruling at a specified time. Depending on the severity you can receive a period of incarceration for must-appear offenses . When the stakes are that high, don’t go it alone! Trust an experienced criminal law attorney to leave no stone unturned when it comes to securing the best possible outcome for your future.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Represent You After a Traffic Charge in the State of Maryland

If you are searching for a criminal defense defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.