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harassment and stalking

Understanding Harassment and Stalking Charges in Maryland

In today’s digital and hyperconnected world, personal boundaries can sometimes be blurred. This can lead to situations that result in charges related to harassment and stalking. Maryland, like many states, takes these offenses seriously and has specific laws in place to address them. If you’ve received stalking charges in Maryland or you’re looking to press charges for harassment and stalking, here’s what you need to know.

What Is Harassment?

Maryland defines harassment as maliciously engaging in repeated conduct that bothers or scares the victim, including things that have the intent to alarm, abuse, torment, or harass. Harassment can take a variety of forms, including things like threats, unwanted communications, or other actions that lead to emotional distress. It is important to note that harassment does not need to happen in person. It can also occur online or over the phone. Maryland law carves out exceptions for those expressing political views or giving information. For example, someone canvassing for an election could not be charged with harassment.

What Is Stalking?

Stalking charges in Maryland are very serious, and harassment and stalking can go hand in hand in some cases. Stalking is defined as maliciously pursuing or approaching someone else. The person being charged with stalking must have known or reasonably should have known that their actions would impact the victim and lead to fear of harm. Fear of harm includes legitimate fear of sexual assault, assault, serious physical harm, death, or false imprisonment.

Some people misinterpret stalking as all unwanted contact, but that is not the case. For example, going over to an ex-girlfriend’s house to collect your personal belongings that are there one time is not generally stalking. However, if you show up multiple times with no reason or an illegitimate reason with the goal of intimidating or upsetting your ex-girlfriend, that could be considered stalking. As the result of laws put into place in late 2022, stalking can include digital technology, like trackers placed on a vehicle or hidden cameras placed in a home.

How Are They Different?

Harassment and stalking are two separate charges in Maryland, and stalking has more serious consequences. Harassment is a misdemeanor, and the first offense can carry a $500 fine or prison for up to 90 days. However, stalking is a misdemeanor that can lead to fines up to $5,000 and prison up to 5 years.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Your Harassment and Stalking Case

If you have experienced harassment and stalking or you are the recipient of stalking charges in Maryland, you need the right legal assistance. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

DWI conviction

What Will Happen to Your Car Insurance Premium After a DUI or DWI Conviction?

A DUI or DWI conviction is not just serious because it will impact your ability to drive or potentially keep your driving-based career; it is also serious because there are many other hidden consequences that you might not immediately think of. One such consequence is your car insurance premium. Maryland drivers see an alarming 85% increase in the average insurance premium after being convicted of a DUI, which is much higher than the national average of 53%. What can you expect after a conviction?

What Are the Consequences of a DUI or DWI Conviction?

While DUIs have harsher punishments than DWIs legally, some car insurance companies do not make a big distinction between the two. Even if this is your first offense, many companies will see the DWI conviction as a sign of a lack of judgment and a high-risk driver, so they will increase the amount that it costs to receive coverage to offset that perceived increase in liability.

Will You Be Labeled a High-Risk Driver?

After a DUI or DWI conviction, there is a high likelihood that insurance companies will label you a high-risk driver. Some companies will outright refuse to insure high-risk drivers, so you may lose your current policy and need to find a new insurance provider and pay their car insurance premium. Some of the other factors that will be considered when determining how risky you are to insure include:

  • Past convictions for DWI, DUI, or other driving-related offenses
  • A history of at-fault car accidents
  • Traffic violations
  • Numerous speeding tickets

Additionally, car insurance companies can pull from your insurance and financial history to make additional risk judgments. Some of the factors that can harm your car insurance premium include:

  • Poor credit or bad credit history
  • Insurance cancellations or lapses in coverage
  • Being a new driver
  • Having an expensive car
  • Filing numerous claims in the past few years

High-risk drivers will have a higher car insurance premium than lower-risk drivers, as insurance companies project that they will cost them more to protect. When you have a DUI or DWI conviction on top of other risk factors, it can put you in a tough spot. This is one of many reasons why it is critical to partner with a skilled attorney as quickly as possible after your arrest. If you are able to avoid a conviction entirely, you will not need to worry about your car insurance premium increasing and other potentially negative consequences of a conviction.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Your DUI or DWI Case

If you have been arrested for a DWI or DUI and want to make sure that you are represented well in court, we can help. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

hospital negligence

What Counts as Hospital Negligence?

As a society, we entrust hospitals and medical professionals with our well-being when we are sick or in need of aid. While healthcare providers strive for excellence, there are times where negligence creeps in, resulting in dire consequences for patients. In fact, over 250,000 people every year die in the United States due to medical mistakes and negligence based on data from Johns Hopkins University. What counts as hospital negligence?

What Is Hospital Negligence?

Hospital negligence is also called medical negligence, and it can be a challenging thing to prove in court. Even if a mistake has occurred, it does not automatically equal negligence or something that is worthy of legal action. Medical negligence includes demonstrating that standards of care were violated by a healthcare professional providing you with care, including a nurse, surgeon, or doctor.

However, this mistake needs to lead to harm. Hospital negligence is hard to prove, as no outcome is 100% guaranteed in a healthcare environment. For example, if you have surgery, one of the potential outcomes is an infection. If you receive an infection, it does not necessarily mean that there was hospital negligence. Working with an attorney is essential to build a strong case.

How Can You Demonstrate Negligence?

As we mentioned above, proving hospital negligence can be challenging due to the inherent risk present with many different medical procedures. In order to have a successful case, you need to be able to show that their actions went beyond carelessness and that they were not in line with the care that a competent medical professional in the same situation would provide.

One way that you can work to prove hospital negligence is working with your attorney to consult medical experts. These experts can provide unbiased advice on whether or not the doctor involved provided acceptable care. For example, they might conclude that a competent doctor in the same situation might have ordered different tests based on how you presented at the time of treatment and that this led to your injury or negative outcome.

A negative outcome alone is not enough to show hospital negligence. However, you must have some type of negative consequence in order to collect damages. Your attorney will help you to show that the doctor had a duty of care to you, that the care they provided was not in line with the standard of care, that their deviation from the standard of care caused your injuries, and that you have suffered damages as a result.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Your Medical Malpractice Case

If you have experienced hospital negligence or you are concerned that , you need the right legal assistance. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

refusing a breath test

What Are the Consequences of Refusing a Breath Test in Maryland?

Winter is a dangerous time to drive due to road conditions, but it is even more dangerous due to the increase in drunk drivers. New Year’s Eve is one of the top holidays for DUI arrests and Maryland police typically plan numerous initiatives to find intoxicated drivers before they can harm themselves or someone else. One such method is traffic stops. If you are pulled over or pulled aside during a checkpoint, what are the consequences of refusing a breath test?

You’ll Face Some Consequences Immediately

Maryland has serious consequences for refusing a breath test. If you refuse a preliminary breath test, which is typically the test performed on the roadside, you cannot have your license suspended or have that used against you in court. However, if you also refuse to take a breath test when brought to the police station, you will start to face consequences.

First, the police officer will take your driver’s license if you are a Maryland driver and provide you with a temporary paper license that lasts for 45 days. The temporary license will expire on the 46th day.  They will also initiate a case with the MVA. You will be provided with an Order of Suspension.  The Order is the result of you refusing a breath test.  You will also receive an Advice of Rights Form which explains the administrative process of losing your Maryland driving privileges any other penalties that you might face.

What Happens Next?

You can request a hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) to contest the Motor Vehicle Administration’s notice of suspension.  You have 30 days to request a hearing, or you will lose your ability to request a hearing and be subject to having your license suspended on the 46th day.  It is recommended that you request an administrative hearing within 10 days of the date given on the Order of Suspension to avoid the possibility of having your license suspended prior to your hearing.  Requesting a hearing within 10 days will guarantee that your driving privileges will not be suspended prior to your hearing.  You also have the option to forego a hearing and elect to install an ignition interlock on your vehicle.

Working with an experienced DUI attorney is important, as having a DUI charge on your record can lead to serious personal, professional, and driving consequences. If you do nothing, your license will automatically be suspended on the 46th day after the date on the Order of Suspension. If this is your first time refusing a breath test, your license will be suspended for 270 days. For second or subsequent offenses, you will have a two-year suspension.

What Happens if You Have a CDL?

If you have a CDL, you will be put into a tough situation if you refuse a breath test. If you are stopped, you can have your CDL suspended for a year or forever if you are refusing a test a second time. This can prevent you from working, so many CDL drivers choose to take a breath test when offered.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Your DUI Case

If you have been arrested at a DUI checkpoint in Maryland or for a DUI on a bike, you need the right legal assistance. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

distracted driving

The Danger of Distracted Driving in Maryland

Every year, over 24,000 people are hurt and 200 are killed due to distracted driving in Maryland. This data from the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office drives home the importance of staying safe and focused when on the road. What should all drivers know about distracted driving accidents in Maryland?

The Facts on Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is currently one of the leading causes of accidents and fatalities in the state of Maryland. Sadly, every death from distracted driving is a preventable death, as these ‘accidents’ are the result of choices that drivers make on the road, not weather conditions or mechanical failures. Taking your eyes off the road for mere seconds can lead to a crash.

There are four different types of distracted driving:

  1. Visual: When you are looking at something else, whether it’s something on the shoulder of the road or your phone in front of your face, you are not paying attention as you operate your vehicle.
  2. Auditory: Many people listen to music while they drive, but it can be a legitimate distraction that divides your attention.
  3. Manual: Any time that you are using your hands to touch and manipulate something other than the wheel, you’re driving distracted.
  4. Cognitive: When you are thinking about other things or going over your to-do list, that’s brainpower that should be getting used for driving.

What Does the Law Say?

Maryland has specific laws that prevent any driver from using their phone while driving unless they are turning the phone on or off or starting or stopping a call. There are also exceptions for calling 9-1-1, a hospital, a police department, emergency medical services (EMS), or a fire department, but you should pull over whenever possible to make a call.

Maryland also has a law known as Jake’s Law. This law targets distracted driving specifically, and it has harsh penalties for drivers who don’t keep their attention on the road. The law was passed in response to the killing of a 5-year-old boy, Jake Owen, by a distracted driver who only paid a $1,000 fine in response. Now, drivers will face a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison if their distracted driving leads to a fatal or serious accident.

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

  • Only use your phone during emergencies on the road. Even hands-free devices can distract you from what you’re doing.
  • Avoid driving with a car full of passengers, especially if you are a young or inexperienced driver. Other people provide ample opportunities for distraction that can lead to a car accident.
  • Never eat while driving. Glancing away from the road for a few seconds is incredibly dangerous, and food spills can also be a distraction.
  • When you are driving, only worry about driving. Focus on the road and your surroundings, not what song is playing or the person in the backseat.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help

If you have been harmed due to distracted driving in Maryland, you need the right legal assistance. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

DUI on a bike

Can You Get a DUI on a Bike in Maryland?

Riding a bicycle can be a great way to stay healthy, reduce your carbon footprint, and enjoy the outdoors. However, just like operating a motor vehicle, there are rules and regulations that cyclists must follow to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road. Some riders unfortunately have the misconception that it’s impossible to get a DUI on a bike. However, that is the opposite of the truth. In Maryland, just like in many other states, it is possible to receive a DUI on a bike.

Bicyclists Can Get DUIs

Maryland’s DUI laws apply not only to motor vehicles but also to bicycles. If you are caught riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could face legal consequences just like you would in a car. Riding a bicycle under the influence is a serious offense that can result in fines, license suspension, and even jail time.

Maryland law prohibits anyone from operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a law enforcement officer suspects that you are riding a bicycle while impaired, they can stop you and conduct field sobriety tests, just like they would for a motorist. If you fail these tests or refuse to take them, you can be arrested for DUI on a bike.

What Are the Possible Penalties for a DUI on a Bike?

The penalties for a DUI on a bike in Maryland can vary depending on the circumstances of the offense and whether it is your first time being charged with a DUI. For a first-time DUI on a bike offense, you may face fines of up to $500 and a maximum of 2 months in jail. Additionally, your driver’s license can be suspended, even though you were not operating a motor vehicle at the time of the offense. Subsequent offenses can result in higher fines, longer jail sentences, and a longer license suspension period.

It’s important to note that a DUI on a bike can have long-lasting consequences beyond legal penalties. A DUI conviction can be a mark on your criminal record, which might make it difficult to find employment or work in certain industries. It can also lead to increased insurance premiums if you own a motor vehicle.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Your DUI Case

If you have been arrested at a DUI checkpoint in Maryland or for a DUI on a bike, you need the right legal assistance. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

DUI checkpoint

What Happens During a DUI Checkpoint in Maryland?

25% of adults admit that they increase their alcohol intake during the holiday season, which is right around the corner. During the holidays, the number of alcohol-related fatal car accidents also increases to 33%. As one way to counteract that, many police departments in the state of Maryland set up sobriety checkpoints to ensure that nobody is drinking and driving. What should you expect when driving through a DUI checkpoint?

Know Where They Are

Maryland law requires law enforcement agencies to announce every DUI checkpoint in advance, so you will typically see notices posted in a newspaper or online. A DUI checkpoint is a temporary roadblock, and all cars driving on the specific roadway will have to pass through the checkpoint. You do have the ability to avoid a checkpoint by taking an alternate route or turning down a side street. Unless you behave erratically or break the law in doing so, police do not have the right to force you through the checkpoint.

Answer Some Questions

At a DUI checkpoint, law enforcement officers stop vehicles in a pre-planned manner, such as every third or fifth car. You might not be asked to stop at all. During the screening, officers typically ask the driver for their license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. They observe the driver’s behavior and look for signs of impairment, such as the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, or bloodshot eyes.

Complete a Field Sobriety Test

If an officer suspects a driver might be under the influence, they may ask the driver to complete standardized field sobriety tests. These tests include tasks like standing on one leg, walking in a straight line, or following a finger with your eyes. While these tests are designed to assess impairment, various factors, such as medical conditions and environmental conditions, can affect the results.

A Breathalyzer Test

In Maryland, after performing field sobriety tests, an officer may decide to administer a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) using a handheld breathalyzer. If you take the test and it indicates that your BAC is too high, they will place you under arrest. You will then be asked to complete a chemical blood test to measure your precise level of intoxication. In the event that you are arrested for DUI, you should immediately contact your attorney at Mobley and Brown, LLP.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Your Accident Case

If you have been arrested at a DUI checkpoint in Maryland, you need the right legal assistance. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

estate planning

How Estate Planning Can Protect You Against Exploitation

One recent study found that elder financial abuse leads to a range of $2.9 billion to $36.5 billion in losses every year. Furthermore, financial abuse can come from a variety of places, including family, staff, caretakers, and complete strangers. As a result, it’s important to protect yourself and the assets that you’ve worked hard to accumulate. Estate planning is one way to help guard yourself against elder exploitation.

What Is Elder Financial Exploitation?

Financial exploitation includes illegal, unauthorized, or fraudulent actions that involve taking resources from an elder and using them for their own gain or actions that can lead to depriving an elder adult of assets, benefits, or other resources to which they are entitled. Maryland has a special coalition of 16 different organizations called Project SAFE designed to help prevent and detect elder financial exploitation.

What Can Elder Financial Exploitation Look Like?

When many people think about elder financial abuse, they think about outright stealing money or things from the home. However, it includes a broad variety of things, including:

  • Grandparent scams
  • Tax or debt collection scams
  • Internet scams
  • Theft of property or money
  • Investment scams or fraud
  • Lottery scams
  • Telemarketing scams
  • Contractor scams

While estate planning cannot protect you against all of these things, it can help to increase your protection.

Create a Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is a key part of estate planning for many people, and it will make it more challenging for people to access your assets. Because things placed in the trust are owned by the trust and not you, it can put more of a separation and wall between you and those assets. While this won’t deter everyone from making an attempt to scam you or take advantage of you, it makes things much more challenging.

Choose Your Fiduciaries Carefully

One of the biggest ways that estate planning can help protect you against exploitation is through choosing fiduciaries that will ensure your will is properly carried out in the event that you are incapacitated or no longer here. When choosing a fiduciary or someone to serve as your power of attorney or trustee:

  • Consider having someone that your agent regularly reports to so that there is another person looking through your financial transactions
  • Avoid appointing anyone who has had financial problems in the past or who currently has financial instability
  • Work with an attorney to ensure that all of your financial advisers and institutions know who your POA is
  • Avoid naming a paid helper or caregiver who is being compensated as your power of attorney

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Your Estate Planning Needs

When you want to protect yourself against exploitation as you get older or want to get a head start on your estate planning, you need the right legal assistance. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

protect yourself from medical mistakes

4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Medical Mistakes

One Johns Hopkins University study found that over 250,000 people in the United States die annually due to negligence and other medical errors. Medical mistakes can happen, but they can also be deadly. As a patient navigating the healthcare system, it’s important to know how to protect yourself from medical mistakes.

Bring Someone With You

One of the best ways to protect yourself from medical mistakes is to bring a friend, family member, or partner with you to your important medical appointments. Sometimes, when you are getting challenging news about your health, it’s easy to misunderstand something a doctor tells you or miss other important information. Having someone there for you will help you ensure that you know exactly what the doctor said and provide you with a witness in the event that something untoward happens.

Keep Notes

It’s a good idea to keep notes of any medical events, including doctor’s appointments. Having your own records, along with dates and times, is not just important to protect yourself from medical mistakes; it can also be important if your insurance company rejects a claim and needs additional information.

Bring Your Medication List

Another one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from medical mistakes is ensuring that all of your doctors and healthcare specialists have equal access to information. Medication conflicts are very common, and they can be deadly. Never assume that any medical professional has access to your complete health history or medical record, especially if you have prescriptions from multiple providers. Bring a complete list of current supplements, vitamins, and medications with you to every appointment, even if you think it won’t matter. Additionally, make sure that you inform any healthcare professional treating you of any and all allergies that you have.

Advocate for Yourself

In a medical environment, it can be stressful to understand what is going on fully—especially when time is of the essence. That makes it even more important to advocate for yourself.  If you don’t understand something that is said to you, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. If you get a prescription from the pharmacy and the pills are a different shape or color than they normally are, ask the pharmacist to confirm what they are. It is always better to waste a minute of time instead of experiencing a potentially fatal error.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Your Medical Malpractice Case

When you think that you have been the victim of a medical malpractice incident and you aren’t sure where to turn, you need the right legal assistance. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

DUI in Maryland

How Can a DUI in Maryland Affect Your Career?

Receiving a DUI conviction is very serious, and it can have a broad range of impacts on your life. While many people know that a DUI will impact their ability to drive, they do not necessarily realize that a DUI in Maryland can also affect their career. How could a DUI conviction affect your employability in the future? Read on to learn more!

Background Checks Will Show Your Conviction

Many employers in Maryland and throughout the country require their employees to pass a background check as part of the onboarding process. Additionally, a disproportionate number of Maryland residents work in the local and federal government due to the proximity to the District of Columbia and many government agencies and military bases. If you are convicted of a DUI in Maryland, it will show up on your background check, which means that it may be considered as part of the application process.

The Type of Positions You Can Hold Will Change

If you work in an industry that requires you to operate a commercial vehicle as part of your employment, there is a high probability that receiving a DUI in Maryland will impact your employability. Anyone who drives commercially, including things like a school bus, will have their driving history and record scrutinized. In fact, a DUI conviction could lead to the inability to find a job in certain fields. You will likely be given the ability to offer an explanation regarding your conviction, but you should be prepared to address it throughout the application and interview process.

Your Current Job May Be Affected

When determining whether or not to disclose a DUI conviction to your employer, you should start by consulting your employee handbook and any contract that you have signed. Many companies require you to report a DUI in Maryland, as well as any other arrests or convictions. Because you are an “at will” employee in Maryland, that means that your employer does not need any reason to fire you. Depending on your industry and workplace, you may be let go as a result of your DUI conviction.

Professional Licenses Could Be Revoked

Many different professionals have to be formally licensed in order to provide services to patients or customers. For example, lawyers, pharmacists, nurses, accountants, dentists, and doctors all need to maintain an active license. Depending on what agency you are licensed through, you may face sanctions or fines due to a DUI conviction. In some industries, if you are charged with a DUI in Maryland, you may be required to relinquish your license entirely.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Your DUI Case

When your loved one has passed away and you aren’t sure where to turn, you need the right legal assistance. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.