Thomas G. WitkopLaw Offices

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Updates on Shielding Protective Order Cases

The state of Maryland has become more generous in providing shielding of protective orders. Initially, protective order cases could only be shielded if they were dismissed or the petitioner's request was denied. Currently, if the respondent consents to a protective order, without a finding of abuse, the respondent is eligible to at least petition the court to have the matter shielded from public record.
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Converting Arrest Warrants to Criminal Summons in Montgomery County

A question which I receive in Montgomery County is whether an arrest warrant can be quashed or converted to a summons. The general answer in Montgomery County is in the negative. I was successful in converting an arrest warrant in Prince Georges County. In that case the prosecutor consented to the request.Below is directly from our administrative judge:It is the position of our District Court that
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Addressing uninsured motor vehicle claims in Maryland

§ 10-921. Burden of proof in uninsured motorist coverage actions.(a) In general. -- In an action against an insurer or the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund under a policy providing uninsured motor vehicle liability coverage, the person asserting the uninsured status of a motor vehicle shall have the burden to prove that status.(b) Vehicles registered in the State. -- For a motor vehicle registered
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Whether a Defendant Serving a Sentence for a Crime of Violence Is Entitled to Immediate Relief under Health General 8-505?

As indicated below, Maryland provides that at almost any time a defendant may be evaluated to determine whether because of drug or alcohol abuse the defendant is in need and may benefit from treatment.Many times someone will demand treatment in lieu of incarceration based on the statute. There is a strong body of evidence that someone with a drug or alcohol problem is not cured simply by abstinence
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Credit for Time Spent in Custody

It is not unusual for a criminal defendant to be held in custody prior to trial on several different cases. For example a defendant might be convicted, receive a suspended sentence and be placed on probation. While on probation the defendant commits a new crime and is arrested and held without bond.At some point the defendant is convicted for the new crime. The court imposes incarceration. Because
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Immigration consequences of alcohol related offenses in Maryland

This is taken directly from two exceptional Maryland attorneys, Nadine Whetstein, Esq. and Maureen Sweeney, Esq.  I put it here as a public service was great thanks for their research and writing.IMMIGRATION IMPACTS OF DUI ALCOHOL CONVICTIONS FOR OUR NONCITIZEN CLIENTS1 FOR ALL NONCITIZENS: Immigration authorities do not distinguish between alcohol-related convictions for driving
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Limited Discovery in Breach of Lease?

In a District Court breach of lease case, is limited discovery allowed to? In other words can the landlord find out about the tenant's case prior to trial and vice versa?Hudson v. Housing Authority, 935 A.2d 395, 402 Md. (2007) seems to indicate that limited discovery in certain types of landlord-tenant cases is allowed. In a footnote it cites the following:1. Maryland Rule 3-711 (2006),
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Right to A Jury Trial in a Criminal Case

It is generally thought that a criminal defendant may only have a jury trial if the crime charged exposes the defendant to more than 90 days of incarceration. While this is true in the District Court of Maryland, it does not apply in the Circuit Court. If the defendant is convicted in the District Court of, for example, driving while impaired, which generally only has a maximum of 60 days of incarceration,
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Must the clerk accept a proper filing?

According to statute, generally yes:§ 2-201. In general(a) Enumeration. -- The clerk of a court shall:(1) Have custody of the books, records, and papers of his office;(2) Make proper legible entries of all proceedings of the court and keep them in well-bound books or other permanent form;(3) When requested in writing to do so, record any paper filed with his office and required by law to be recorded
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What does "shall" mean?

In Maryland there is some debate as to the term shall. Sometimes I like to equate shall with must. Excerpts from this opinion seem to support that position:Lovero v. Joelma Da Silva., 200 Md.App. 433, 28 A.3d 43 (Md. App., 2011It is important to note that in each iteration of the rule the clerk is directed not to “file” any paper or pleading requiring service that does not contain the appropriate
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