On October 1, 2019, many new Maryland laws went into effect. From taxing online sales to banning specific attachments for firearms, these laws span a great number of subjects. We’re here to let you know about the new criminal laws that are now in effect so that you can be better prepared and can avoid unnecessary charges.
SB0103: Criminal Law – Electronic Harassment and Bullying | Grace’s Law 2.0
- Broadening what constitutes electronic harassment and increasing the penalties against it.
- States that a person using electronic harassment with the intent of inducing a minor to commit suicide may now be imprisoned for up to 10 years with or without fines of up to $10,000.
- This is an addition to the existing Grace’s Law, which is named after a teenage girl who committed suicide after vicious and repeated online harassment by an acquaintance.
HB0240: Hate Crimes – Threats
- Committing a hate crime is still illegal in Maryland, but now the threat of a hate crime is illegal as well.
- Threatening a hate crime will now carry a misdemeanor penalty of up to 3 years in prison, with or without a fine of up to $5,000.
- This change was partially influenced by the rise in Maryland hate crimes by 35% from 2016-2017.
SB0460: Pedestrian Safety Fund Act of 2019
- Establishes that drivers failing to stop for pedestrians will now face fines up to $1,000 (previously: $500).
- These fines will go to a Pedestrian Safety fund and used for traffic education, calming, and enforcement.
HB0707: Drunk and Drugged Driving Offenses – Penalties
This law has been modified to establish an increase in the penalties that are allowed when Maryland residents are found to be operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Specifically:
- For drivers convicted of vehicular homicide while impaired, the maximum jail term or imprisonment has increased from 3 to 5 years.
- For drivers convicted of vehicular homicide or of causing a serious injury or fatal crash while impaired who have prior convictions, the maximum imprisonment has doubled from 5 to 10 years.
HB0493: Crimes – Solicitation and Conspiracy to Commit Murder Resulting in Death (Stacey’s Law)
- States that a person soliciting or conspiring with another to commit first-degree murder is also guilty of murder in the first degree.
- Solicitation to commit murder, prior to Oct. 1, 2019, was considered a misdemeanor with a statute of limitations of 3 years.
- This bill is named after Stacey Seaton who was murdered in 2005 by a man that McDonald Abraham III hired to kill her.
For more information on new criminal laws in Maryland, or if you are currently facing criminal charges and are seeking legal assistance, reach out to the professional defense attorneys at Albers & Associates today.
Criminal Defense FAQs
Can I Appeal My Criminal Case?
If your case was tried in the District Court of Maryland, you do have the right to an appeal which would result in a brand new trial that doesn’t regard the findings of the initial court that tried your case. You have 30 days from the date of sentencing to appeal a case.
Will the State Appoint Me a Defense Attorney?
You may choose to accept legal assistance from a state-appointed lawyer during your trial. However, working with a criminal defense attorney at Albers & Associates means you’ll receive more personalized and dedicated care from a lawyer who is dedicated to aggressively pursuing the best outcome possible for every client they work with.
Why Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney for a DUI?
Maryland is one of the states in the U.S. That assesses both administrative and criminal penalties when someone is charged with a DUI. This means that fines, license suspension, and imprisonment are all commonly assessed when a driver has been caught doing so under the influence. The MVA handles most of the administrative charges, but a criminal defense lawyer is necessary if you want to avoid harsher penalties for the criminal charges.