hearsay evidence

Understanding Hearsay Evidence in Your Maryland Criminal Case

There is a good chance that, if you have watched any legal drama on television or at the movie theatre, you have heard the term hearsay tossed around. While you might think that you are familiar with what it means, there are many misconceptions about the term that may give you the wrong idea. What should you understand about hearsay evidence, and how could it impact your Maryland criminal case?

What Is Hearsay?

In simple terms, hearsay refers to statements that are made outside of a courtroom that are presented to the court as evidence. This concept can be a little bit confusing, so think of hearsay evidence like this—James was talking to Mary, and he said that he saw Robert stealing something from the break room at work. If this case makes it to court and Mary is called to the witness stand to talk about what she heard from James, the things that she heard would be considered hearsay. At no point did Mary actually see Robert steal something. Instead, she only knows what James told her.

What Does Maryland Have to Say About Hearsay Evidence?

The state of Maryland has a general rule against the use of hearsay evidence in the courtroom. This is for a good reason, as many different studies have shown that hearsay can be untrustworthy. Because the person who initially made the statement is not there in court, there is no way to truly verify the accuracy of anything that was discussed. While this is a general rule, there are a few notable exceptions that you should understand.

What Are the Exceptions to the Hearsay Evidence Rule?

  • One of the most common exceptions to hearsay evidence is known as present tense impressions. When someone is making a statement that explains something as they are seeing it or in the immediate aftermath, this is considered to be a present sense impression and completely admissible to the court.
  • Another exception to the hearsay evidence rule is statements that are made about someone’s current physical, emotional, or mental condition.
  • If there are any business records, there is a good chance that they are also exempt and completely admissible in court. Business records can include things like receipts, logs, invoices, and other paperwork that is filled out over the course of doing business.
  • Any public records or official records are considered exceptions to hearsay evidence rules, as they are trustworthy and legally binding documents.

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

When you are preparing to go to court for your criminal case, 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.

medical malpractice in Maryland

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice in Maryland?

If you have been injured as a result of a mistake by a healthcare provider, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, you only have a certain period of time to do so. If you do not file your suit within the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Maryland, you will be unable to collect the damages that may help you cover your loss of income, pain and suffering, or healthcare bills. How long do you have to start your legal proceedings?

Understanding a Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is how much time someone has to start legal proceedings for a civil case. Once the statute of limitations is over, your options for getting damages or other types of recovery may be seriously limited or non-existent. The statute of limitations varies from state to state, so it’s important to understand specific requirements for your area.

How Much Time Do You Have to Seek Damages for Medical Malpractice in Maryland?

Medical malpractice in Maryland is slightly more complex than other statutes of limitations, as the length of time that you have varies based on a few factors. As a rule of thumb, you must start legal proceedings before the lesser of three years from the date of discovery or five years from the date of your injury. If the person involved is under the age of 18, the statute of limitations will not begin until they turn 18.

What Counts as Medical Malpractice?

Medical practice in Maryland is a broad category that includes a variety of types of breaches of the standards of care that doctors are expected to obey. Unfortunately, these cases are very common throughout the United States. Some of the things that can fall under medical malpractice cases include:

  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Prescription mistakes
  • Delivery errors
  • Emergency room mistakes
  • Unsafe hospital or medical practice conditions
  • Defective equipment
  • Anesthesia mistakes
  • And more!

Some of these issues may be immediately apparent, but others may not be discovered until a great deal of time has passed.

Understanding How Much Time You Have

As mentioned above, the clock starts ticking for medical malpractice in Maryland when your injury happens. For example, if you had surgery on January 1, 2023 and your injury occurred during it, the length of time that you have may be calculated using that date.

However, things become more complicated when you consider when the issue was discovered or when it is reasonable that you would have discovered it. If you have surgery and an object is left behind in your body, it might not be discovered until a few years later during another surgery. Instead of your clock starting on the date of your surgery, in this case, it would start on the date that the second surgeon found the object.

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

When you are interested in exploring your options for recovery due to medical malpractice 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.

draft your own will

3 Reasons Not to Draft Your Own Will

When it comes time to draft your will, it may be tempting to write it yourself. There are countless resources online, many of them free, including DIY templates and walkthrough guides for completing it, but remember that your will is a legal document. As such, it’s much safer to hire legal counsel to guide you. Creating estate planning documents is something that many legal professionals spend their entire careers focusing on. Trying to draft your own will is likely to cause confusion and unintentional feuding between mourning relatives for the following reasons.

Your Will May Not Be Valid

There are legal procedures that vary by state that determine the validity of a will. In the state of Maryland, for example, two credible witnesses must sign the will after the testator (the person executes the will) has signed. That might sound simple enough on the surface, but what makes a witness credible? What if you draft your own will while living in another state from the one in which you currently reside? Some states require wills to be completely typed and notarized, while others allow it to be handwritten. Knowledge of these laws is imperative for ensuring that you didn’t pour your time into a will that is determined invalid in the end.

Problems Assigning Your Executor

If you draft your own will by following an online template, you could miss a step or two regarding your executor. This is the person you choose to carry out your will once you’ve passed, but there are some laws around this role that must be checked.

Your state will determine who can and cannot serve as your executor. If you choose someone who cannot serve this role, then when your will goes to probate, the role could be assigned to someone else. The new person taking over the role may not be someone you want in charge of distributing your assets to your beneficiaries. If you work with an attorney, you’ll be advised who can and cannot take on this role, and that keeps this choice in your hands.

The Will Isn’t Clear

You may feel you were clear about your intentions, but if you draft your own will, you’re likely to miss some key items in distributing your assets. You may even try to distribute things that you aren’t allowed to. For example, have you thought about what you’ll do with the funds from your retirement account? Much like funds from a bank account that are classified as “payable on death,” you can’t designate the beneficiaries in the will. Similarly, you could forget property. There are too many items to designate, and too many A, B, and C scenarios in estate planning to go it alone. Employing legal counsel will help you navigate each of these areas so that nothing is left unclear.

Don’t Draft Your Own Will; Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Estate Planning

If you need help drafting your will, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. We are committed to using our experience along with facts from your specific case 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.

burden of proof

What Is the Burden of Proof in a Maryland Criminal Case?

When you are involved in a criminal case in Maryland, one of the elements that will determine the outcome of the case is the burden of proof. In line with your constitutional rights, anyone who is charged with a crime is presumed innocent until they are found guilty in court. In order to get that guilty conviction, the side of the prosecution has to satisfy the burden of proof. What does that mean?

The Burden of Proof 101

The burden of proof is used in criminal law to describe the standard that is used to determine whether or not a criminal charge is appropriate. The prosecution must meet this standard beyond a reasonable doubt, otherwise, the criminal charges are not justified. The burden of proof is argued in front of a judge or judge and jury depending on the format of the trial.

What Does ‘Beyond a Reasonable Doubt’ Mean?

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ before, and it’s used to describe the burden of proof standard in a criminal case.  Simply wondering if someone is guilty is not enough. The evidence that is provided by the prosecution needs to make it so that a reasonable person would see that the defendant is clearly guilty.

It is important to note that reasonable doubt does not require removing all doubt. There is no burden of ‘absolute certainty’ required. Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to ensure that you are able to satisfy the needs of the court.

Is Burden of Proof the Only Standard of Proof?

Some people are so used to hearing about the burden of proof that they assume it is the only standard of proof. However, there are other standards that might be used throughout a criminal trial. Some of the other standards of proof that could be used include:

  • Reasonable suspicion, which is used in cases where the judge is determining whether or not a law enforcement search that led to an arrest was performed lawfully
  • Probably cause, which is a standard implemented in cases where law enforcement must have met a certain standard before getting a warrant, performing a search, or making an arrest

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Your Criminal Law Case

If you are concerned about your criminal case and want to make sure that you are prepared for court, 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.


3 Tips for Choosing Your Executor

Nobody wants to think about what will happen when they are no longer here, but waiting to make decisions and plans can leave your loved ones without the guidance that they need. One of the many important things that you will need to choose is an executor for your will. The executor will be responsible for performing a broad range of legal tasks, including distributing assets and selling off properties to pay creditors. What are some of the things you should consider when choosing your executor?

Choose Someone Responsible

While creating a will can be emotional, as you want to think about what you are leaving behind to the people that you love, the decision of who your executor will be should be practical. You want to choose someone who is responsible and whom you can completely trust to carry out your wishes and take care of estate matters. The executor will have to make hard decisions, stay extremely organized, and work until everything is taken care of. If you do not think that anyone in your family is up to the task, remember that you can always name an attorney as your executor.

Think About Finances

Finances are a sensitive subject for many people, but they are another critical consideration when choosing an executor. If the person has a very poor credit history or bankruptcies in the past, it might not be easy for them to get bonded. Bonding is one of the types of insurance that courts require to make sure that the executor is spending money properly. Bonding companies are very hesitant to bond people with poor financial histories, so the court may not accept your executor nomination.

Choose a Co-Executor

It is important to update your will as circumstances in your life change, but we also recognize that many people create only one will in their lifetime. As a result, you should also name some co-executors that will be able to serve if the executor is unable to do so. It’s a good idea to choose someone who is younger that will likely outlive you. You don’t have to name a specific person for this, as adding a mechanism in your will is good enough. For example, “My Successor Co-Executors will be any of my children who are 35 years or older at the time of my passing.”

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

When you are preparing the legal documents that represent your last wishes, 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.

pain and suffering

Understanding Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case

Many accident or malpractice victims are aware of the terms “pain and suffering” in a legal context, but there is a great deal of confusion around what counts as pain and suffering and what juries can award. What are some of the basics of this type of damage, and how can pain or suffering be calculated?

Damages in a Personal Injury Case

When you are asking for some forms of damages during your personal injury lawsuit, they will be easy to calculate. For example, if you are asking for the jury to grant you damages for your lost wages or medical bills, the precise dollar amount of those can be calculated with relative ease. However, non-economic damages are harder to quantify, which is part of why it’s so important to work with an experienced attorney.

Maryland law asks juries to consider the plaintiff’s damages based on the specific situation, not in broader and more general terms. In other words, instead of considering the fact that someone had three surgeries to recover from an accident, the jury should think about that person’s specific suffering and not the suffering of someone in a hypothetical situation who received the same surgeries. Your pain and suffering damages will be uniquely yours.

The Types of Pain and Suffering

The law will consider two different types of pain and suffering, physical and mental. Physical pain and suffering include the pain associated with the physical injuries that were sustained during the accident. Importantly, it does not just include pain or discomfort in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Instead, it also considers the pain and suffering that might be faced in the future due to your physical injuries.

Mental pain and suffering can touch on a broad variety of mental health challenges and conditions, including anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, depression, shock, loss of enjoyment, fear, and more. Your mental suffering includes any negative emotions that you feel due to your accident.

How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

Your attorney at Mobley & Brown, LLP will be able to guide you through the process of calculating pain and suffering. This process is not easy, as there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some of the things that will be considered when calculating pain and suffering damages include:

  • What injuries you experienced
  • The severity of your pain
  • How long the pain has lasted or will last
  • Potential issues that you may face in the future due to the injury or accident
  • How the injuries and their impacts have affected your quality of life, including things like your ability to participate in hobbies or sports
  • What evidence you have that you have experienced a decreased quality of life, pain, or suffering
  • Support from medical providers and other individuals as to your claims

Because every case is unique, working with an experienced attorney can make a big difference in your outcome.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Your Personal Injury Claim

When you are suffering in the aftermath of an accident, it can be overwhelming to know where to turn. Working with the right attorney can make the claims process easier and make sure that you receive what you deserve. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

breathalyzer test

What Can Lead to a False Result in a Breathalyzer Test?

Being suspected of a DUI or DWI can do serious damage to your reputation, your career, and your record. While there are multiple tests that are used to gauge whether or not someone is intoxicated, they are not foolproof. What are some of the things that can lead to a false positive result on a breathalyzer or breath test?

What Is a False Positive?

Before reviewing the reasons, it’s important to understand what a false positive breathalyzer test is. There are two different breath tests that are commonly used by the police, portable breath tests (PBTs) and more complex breath tests that can be used at the police station. A PBT is typically done on the scene and the second breathalyzer will be given at the police station depending on the results of the first. Both tests have known quirks that can lead to a false positive, or an indication that you are intoxicated when you are not.

The Presence of Residual Alcohol

The breathalyzer test is designed to determine how much alcohol is in the air that you exhale from your lungs for the most accurate result. However, it also goes through your mouth. If you have an elevated level of alcohol in your mouth despite not consuming alcohol, you could get a false positive result. Some medications and foods that can lead to an error include:

  • Sugar-free gum
  • Energy drinks
  • Cough medications like Nyquil
  • Kombucha or fermented teas

Another thing that can increase the odds of a false positive on your breathalyzer test is a large amount of dental work. Bridges and crowns in your mouth can trap alcohol if you don’t brush your teeth, which means that you could have residual mouth alcohol hours later.

Poor Calibration

Breath tests need to be properly calibrated in order to make sure that they are accurately measuring alcohol. The police officer and station should be performing routine maintenance on the tool in order to ensure it stays in good condition. However, some officers fail to perform maintenance and are using breathalyzers that are damaged.

Untrained Officer

Finally, anyone administering a breathalyzer test must understand how to do so properly. If the officer administering your test was not familiar with how to use the device properly, you could receive a false positive due to the unfamiliarity of the officer.

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

If you feel that you have been falsely charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence, 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.

probation violations

8 Examples of Probation Violations

The law is constantly changing, and it can be challenging to keep up as a Maryland resident. If you are on probation, there are a number of ways that you can violate your probation. In the state of Maryland, there are technical probation violations that can lead to serious consequences. What are some of the ways that you might violate the conditions of your probation?

8 Examples of Probation Violations

There are many different types of technical violations in the state of Maryland. These occur when you are not committing a new offense but instead violating one of the rules involved with probation. Some of these include:

  • Not doing your court-ordered community service
  • Missing an appointment with your probation officer
  • Testing positive for alcohol or drug use
  • Being late to an appointment with your probation officer
  • Not completing a court-ordered substance abuse treatment
  • Not paying restitution to victims
  • Not paying court fines
  • Not completing court-ordered anger management classes

It might seem like these are easy to avoid, but many complications can arise. For example, bad weather might lead to you being late for an appointment with your probation officer and put your freedom in jeopardy. Working with a lawyer is one way to avoid these probation violations and make sure that you are always in good standing

What Happens If You Violate Probation?

There are numerous different consequences for probation violations depending on the severity of the violation, the number of times that you violated in the past, and other factors. Your probation officer can decide to force you to appear in court and request a penalty from the judge for your probation violations. These violations might include jail time, a hearing, or simply a warning. If you are concerned that your probation officer might request a probation violation hearing due to your probation violations, it is critical that you contact your attorney as soon as possible to prepare.

Additionally, some Maryland judges will issue a no-bail arrest warrant if you violate your probation. This might lead to your detainment until a trial occurs, which could last for weeks or months. It’s critical to communicate immediately with your lawyer and your probation officer.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Avoid Probation Violations

If you are concerned about probation violations, 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.

independent contractors

Navigating the Lines Between Independent Contractors and Employees in Maryland

As an employer, it’s critical that you understand the difference between independent contractors and employees. While it might seem trivial, this distinction makes a massive difference in the tax filing process and what wage and employment laws apply to different employees at your business. What are some of the differences between the two, and how can you tell which one you are employing?

How Work Is Done and What It’s Done With

One key difference between independent contractors and employees is how work is performed and what is performed. In most cases, an employer and employee relationship can be established when you are dictating and directing the person performing the services in what needs to be done, what means are used to accomplish the goal, and how it should be done. In other words, you are not just telling the worker what needs to be done, but how it must be done.

For example, a restaurant wants to have its bartenders be considered independent contractors. If the restaurant wants to set working hours, provide all the equipment used, require the bartenders to wear uniforms, and require them to attend staff meetings, they have employees instead of contractors.

The Type of Wage Paid

The lines between independent contractors and employees can become blurred when thinking about how wages are paid, but it is one good way to provide yourself with a benchmark for how you are classifying employees. Most employees are paid a flat wage per hour of work or a salary. Even if you also give commissions and bonuses, this type of payment is considered an employee-and-employer relationship by the IRS.

For independent contractors, payment is generally a set rate after a task or job is completed. This rate could be a certain amount per hour that is billed to the company, or it could be a flat rate for the specific project.

Who Pays Expenses

If you employ someone, you will provide employees with the resources that they need to get the job done without paying for them out-of-pocket. If an employee does buy something out-of-pocket, it’s reimbursed. Independent contractors are required to cover their own expenses throughout the course of the project. For example, if someone is making a wood bench for your lobby, they will cover the cost of woodworking materials, the wood itself, and any tools required to finish the job. You will pay the independent contractor for the finished project. However, if this was an employee, you would supply them with the machinery, tools, wood, and all other supplies to finish the job.

What Happens If You Misclassify a Worker?

Misclassification is a serious risk, and it’s become more common with the flourishing of the gig economy and more businesses working with freelancers and independent contractors. Some of the consequences of misclassification include:

  • Wage law violations
  • Tax penalties
  • I-9 violations
  • Shortfalls in unemployment insurance
  • Lawsuits due to exclusion from benefit plans
  • Worker’s compensation violations
  • FMLA Act violations
  • WARN Act violations
  • And more!

We can help you make sure that your business is following all classification rules.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Employment Law

If you are a business and concerned about misclassification of independent contractors or employees, we are here to help. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

rights in a DUI stop

Know Your Rights in a DUI Stop in Maryland

When you are pulled over for a DUI stop in Maryland, it’s easy to panic, regardless of whether or not you have been drinking. Understanding your rights in a DUI stop is essential to ensure that you do not unintentionally reveal information or imply fault. We can help you protect yourself and avoid jeopardizing your case.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

Almost anyone who has watched television and movies has heard about the “right to remain silent,” and it is one of your rights in a DUI stop. This right is protected by the fifth amendment of the United States Constitution, which gives you protection against being compelled to say things that might incriminate yourself. It’s important to know that this right to silence is not the same as a right to being silent at all times. You must invoke your right to silence—you cannot simply stay silent. How can you invoke this right?

  • “I will not speak until I have the opportunity to speak to my attorney.”
  • “I am invoking my Miranda
  • “I am exercising my right to remain silent.”

You Have the Right to Avoid Unreasonable Search and Seizure

Another one of your rights in a DUI stop is granted by the fourth amendment, the protection against unreasonable search and seizure. This means that you do not have to voluntarily submit to the police searching your car. However, particularly in a DUI, the police can search without a warrant if there is evidence of a crime in plain view. For example, if you have a visible bottle of wine or an open container in the car, the police do not need your permission or a warrant to complete a search.

You Have the Right to Refuse Field Sobriety Testing

You do have the right to refuse to submit to testing, including blood testing, breath testing, and field sobriety testing. However, before you act on this right, it’s important to understand that it does not come without consequences. First, if the police want to test you, they can obtain a warrant for your blood test results. Additionally, if you refuse testing, the police officer will take your Maryland license, give you a paper temporary license, and create a case for the MVA to review. As a result of your refusal, you may receive a 270-day license suspension or 2 year license suspension for a second or subsequent offense.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Protect Your Rights in a DUI Stop

If you want to make sure that your family and friends receive your assets as soon as possible after passing, 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.