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Baltimore Criminal Law Blog

A strong defense for statutory rape charges is essential

Charges of sexual assault, including assault and unwanted contact involving minors, have been saturating the news lately. It's important to understand that when minors are the alleged victims, the criminal charges may be much more serious than if the victim is an adult. Any sexual assault conviction can result in prison time, sex offender registration and/or significant fines, regardless of the circumstances.

The age of an alleged victim and perpetrator that turn sexual contact into statutory rape vary by state. Under Maryland law, statutory rape is defined as someone who is at least 21 years old engaging in sex with another person who is 15 years old or younger.

Why Thanksgiving weekend brings lots of drinking

Many young people will soon be returning home for Thanksgiving break for the first time since going off to college. That means catching up with hometown friends as well as family. They won't be alone in the restaurants and bars throughout Maryland over Thanksgiving weekend.

The night before Thanksgiving has actually become known as "Black Wednesday" -- not for deep discounts in stores, but because it's widely considered one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. Many bartenders say that it's even busier than New Year's Eve or St. Patrick's Day. There are a number of reasons for this.

Noah's Law marks first anniversary

It's been just over a year since Noah's Law was enacted in Maryland. The law was named after a young police officer in Montgomery County who was killed at a DUI checkpoint by a drunk driver.

Noah's Law requires that all drivers convicted of DUI be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicles -- even first-time offenders. The 24-year-old officer's face is even on all IIDs issued in the state.

Maryland county executive facing DUI charge

A Maryland veterinarian who also serves as Cecil County Executive is facing charges for driving under the influence. The 69-year old man was arrested late last month after a state trooper allegedly saw him weaving in his Infiniti across lanes in the area north of Chesapeake City on Route 213.

The incident occurred at approximately 11:00 p.m. on Oct. 26. The man was charged with other traffic violations, including negligent driving and failure to stay in his designated lane, in addition to DUI.

What's the difference between sexual harassment and assault?

Sexual harassment and assault have been at the forefront of the news lately in the midst of accusations against numerous famous and powerful men. While accusations of either can have serious implications, it's important to understand that sexual assault is criminal, while sexual harassment is not.

That's not to say that sexual harassment allegations aren't taken seriously. They can and do cost people their careers and can result in costly lawsuits. Ask former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who settled a sexual harassment suit against him for $32 million.

College kids can stay sober and still have a full social life

Recently we discussed the increase in sober housing options for college students. Some of the students who reside in these dorms arrive at college already in recovery from alcohol or drug abuse. Others simply choose to abstain from alcohol and drug use while working on their degree. Some students' religions prohibit drinking.

However, even if your student doesn't reside in one of these "sober dorms," which are still limited, there are ways that they can avoid drinking while still enjoying parties and other social activities with their friends. Following are a couple of suggestions to help them withstand the pressure to drink in these situations and still have fun.

Sober college housing helps students abstain from drinking

One of the most frightening aspects of sending children off to college for many parents is that they will be exposed to alcohol and illegal drugs. Even kids who did not drink or take drugs in high school may find the easy access to these substances, coupled with peer pressure, too much to resist.

This can be particularly problematic for young people who have already battled substance abuse and are in recovery. They may even hesitate to go away to college for fear of a relapse.

Sweeping changes made to Maryland drug sentencing laws

The sentence does not always match the crime. There are plenty of people who found themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time, or who made a mistake – or are battling with their own drug addiction issues – who are now facing years and years behind bars.

Legislators around the country are finally starting to come around on this, though, which is part of the reason why changes were recently made to mandatory minimum sentences in Maryland. These changes will hit the Baltimore-area in a big way, as Baltimore County is one of the busiest in the state when it comes to locking people up for drug dealing crimes.

Maryland high school counselor charged with sex offense, assault

Often, stories of teachers and other school employees accused of sexual assault involve the alleged abuse of students. However, a high school counselor in Montgomery County is facing multiple charges involving the alleged assault of two women whom he met on Tinder.

Families of students at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington were notified by the school's principal of the man's arrest. He called the charges "deeply troubling" and assured parents that the alleged assaults did not involve any students or any other minors, nor did they occur on school property.

When should you talk to kids about alcohol? You'd be suprised

If you're the parent of young children and are thankful that you don't yet have to deal with the potential problem of underage drinking, think again. According to a recently-released report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents should start talking to their kids about the dangers of drinking before they're 10 years old.

The AAP's recommendation coincides with that of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). That group's research has found that many kids have at least tried alcohol by the time they're in middle school. However, only a third of parents say that they didn't address drinking with their children until they were in high school.