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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.

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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.

What Consequences Can One Expect After Being Charged with a Crime in the State of Maryland?

There are two types of crimes in the state of Maryland: felonies and misdemeanors. While most individuals are familiar with the fact that felonies are the more serious of the two charges, it’s worth bearing in mind that a conviction of any kind can be associated with consequences that could greatly impact one’s future. In this blog, we’ll outline the likely consequences of the more common convictions throughout the state of Maryland.

Misdemeanor Convictions in the State of Maryland

Though we have witnessed more delays than usual throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, misdemeanor cases are typically brought to court within 10 weeks after the charge was initially given. Depending on the nature of the charge, there are a variety of outcomes of a guilty misdemeanor charge:

DUI. The state of Maryland does not take DUI charges lightly due to the danger that they pose to other citizens on the road. After a first time DUI conviction, offenders can be charged a fine not exceeding $1,000 and may be imprisoned for up to one year. Offenders who receive a Probation Before Judgement (PBJ) for DUI or DWI are not eligible to have their records expunged.  To learn more about DUI/DWI, its potential consequences, and avenues to explore in the interest of reducing those consequences, check out our recent blog post on the subject!

Traffic Related Offenses. The scope of traffic related offenses is quite broad, so the consequences will naturally hinge on the specifics yet again. Without proper representation, however, charged individuals could be at greater risk for fines, license penalty points, license suspensions, and even potential jail time.

Assault. In the state of Maryland, a second-degree assault conviction can also be linked with a few life altering consequences. At maximum, guilty offenders may be required to pay a fine not exceeding $2,500 and serve up to ten years of jail time.

Theft. Petty theft is yet another common misdemeanor in the state of Maryland, and it can also bear significant consequences for such a seemingly minor offense. In addition to potential fines, offenders could be subjected to a maximum of 90 days of imprisonment. As a note, employers tend to shy away from applicants with theft convictions.

Felony Convictions

The consequences outlined in the previous section may seem steep, but they only ramp up in more serious felony cases. Naturally, we implore individuals in this situation to seek out legal guidance and assistance due to the incredibly high stakes. By going at it alone, you may be exposing yourself to a greater risk of multiple years of imprisonment, the loss of many civil rights, difficulty securing employment, and immigration status complications.

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 or disorderly conduct 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.

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Remember These 3 Things if You Are Charged with DUI

As we move through the spring, there is a lot to be excited about! We are continuing to move away from the earlier state of the pandemic, the weather is improving, and we even have fun summer holidays like the 4th of July just over the horizon. People are ready to celebrate, and that unfortunately means that mistakes will be made. If you find yourself in the aftermath of a DUI charge, here are three things you should remember.

DUI is a Serious Charge in the State of Maryland

Maryland takes DUI charges very seriously, and defensive legal action is critical to help secure the most positive outcome. Noah’s Law, which went into effect back in 2016, states that most drivers who are convicted of a DUI in Maryland have to use an ignition interlock device to drive a vehicle, even if they are first-time offenders. This lock will sit in the vehicle for six months for first-time offenders and one year for subsequent offenses.

In Maryland, the penalties for a DUI also increased under Noah’s Law. For first-time offenders, you can also experience the following consequences:

  • Suspension of your license
  • Revocation of your license
  • Points added to your license
  • Fines of $500 or more
  • Jail time

Naturally, the severity of the consequences varies based on the severity of the offense and the quality of the defense.  Ultimately, when the stakes are so high, you must fight DUI charges aggressively.

There May be Errors that Can Help You Fight Back

Even if you are charged with DUI, do not assume that a conviction is inevitable! Even if you test over the legal limit on a Breathalyzer machine, for instance, you may still have a valid defense. Law enforcement officers can make numerous errors over the course of the testing and arresting process, and lawyers are able to pinpoint these issues and leverage them to fight DUI charges on your behalf.

You Don’t Have to Go it Alone!

Perhaps our most critical piece of advice is a reminder that you shouldn’t navigate the aftermath of a DUI charge alone. Many drivers don’t realize how many ways a lawyer can help them when facing DUI charges in Maryland. Here’s how we can step in and help right away:

  • Explain the exact charges against you and what the consequences in your specific situation could be.
  • Help you perform proactive steps to show you understand the seriousness of the charge and fight DUI charges from the best position.
  • Analyze the circumstances of your case and investigate how the traffic stop unfolded.
  • Prepare you for a court trial, if necessary.
  • Advocate for you and defend you through each step of the trial and sentencing processes.

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

If you are searching for the right DUI or DWI defense attorney 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.