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Prince George's County Legal Blog

When are penalties for impaired driving enhanced in Maryland?

Impaired driving or operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law in virtually every state, including Maryland. What you might not be aware of, though, are the stiff penalties associated with either Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Impaired (DWI). They're much more serious if you hurt or kill someone.

How serious of a problem is impaired driving in Maryland?

Why you always accept medical treatment after a collision

If you frequently navigate Maryland highways, you know how dangerous they can be. Especially if there's a distracted, intoxicated or sleepy driver in your midst, your otherwise uneventful road trip can suddenly turn disastrous if another driver's negligence or reckless behavior at the wheel causes a collision. Perhaps you were recently involved in a motor vehicle crash and still see flashes of the scene in your mind or hear the sound of screeching brakes or the crashing sound of metal on metal. 

Motor vehicle collisions often cause intense emotional trauma. In the moments following a collision, you might feel shocked, frightened and upset. If you don't believe you have suffered any broken bones or life-threatening injuries, you might be tempted to go straight home after police have concluded their preliminary investigation of the crash. It's always best to seek immediate medical treatment, even if you are coherent and there are no visible signs of injury. 

What increases (and diminishes) your chances of winning custody

One of the more common questions a parent seeking to regain or increase their custody time with their child asks about is what they can do to enhance their chances in their Maryland case. Most family law judges aim to have kids spend equal amounts of time with each parent. There are situations in which you may be able to successfully persuade the court to give you increased visitation rights or custody in your Prince George's County case, though.

You can take some steps to show that you deserve more parenting time with your child. One of those is to take advantage of any opportunity you have to spend time with them. You shouldn't attempt to reschedule any agreed-to sessions with your kids. You need to be timely in arriving for pickups or visitation and when dropping them off as well.

Conviction of a felony offense will change your future

If you are facing criminal charges, you know that a conviction will impact your life in some ways. Depending on the nature of the charges against you, you could be facing anything from probation and fines to years in prison. In cases involving felony charges, the penalties are severe to the point where they will alter the course of the rest of your life. 

Defendants facing charges of felony crimes would be wise to take their situations seriously and seek defense counsel as soon as possible. While the stakes are high, it is possible to effectively defend against these types of charges and pursue a beneficial outcome. If you find yourself in this situation, you would be wise to begin developing your defense strategy as soon as you learn of an investigation into your actions or promptly after an arrest.

What are the possible negative repercussions of sole custody?

Getting a divorce when you have children throws an additional complicated element into your case. Though you would do anything for your kids and do not consider them a complication, having kids does mean that you will need to handle child custody matters when ending your marriage. The amount of complexity your case faces will depend on how well you and the other parent can get along and what type of custody arrangement you want.

If you want to pursue sole custody of your children, it is important that you have a valid reason for doing so. Like those in most states, Maryland courts consider joint custody to be more favorable for the children involved. As a result, before moving forward with sole custody as your final goal, you may want to consider some of theĀ negative repercussions of this arrangement.

Traffic violations can become far more serious offenses

If you have the misfortune of receiving a traffic citation, then you're likely aware that you can receive either a moving or nonmoving violation here in Maryland. If the police gave you one of these citations, then you might wonder what types of behaviors fall into the different categories and the penalties for each of them.

There's one main difference between a moving and a nonmoving violation. Police might only cite you with the former if your car was in motion at the time of your alleged offense.

Some pedestrians are more apt to be hit than others

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data published in 2017 shows that an estimated 5,977 pedestrians lost their lives in traffic accidents that year. Emergency room doctors also treated an additional 137,000 people for non-fatal injuries. The risks that pedestrians face are severe.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2007 captured how passenger car occupants were 1.5 times less likely to die in an accident than pedestrians were. NHTSA statistics from 2017 showed how another pedestrian dies in the U.S. every 88 minutes.

Preparing for a child custody case? Clothing choices matter

If you're one of the many Maryland parents headed to court regarding child-related issues in divorce, you might be feeling anxious or stressed and worried about the potential outcome of your case. Like all good parents, you only want what's best for your kids. If your ex disagrees about what that might be, you could be in for a legal battle. During child custody proceedings, you want the judge overseeing your case to decide that your children would be best off living with you. 

Your appearance can influence the judge's decision for better or worse. For instance, if you were to show up in court looking disheveled or unclean, it's not likely to convince the judge that you would be taking good care of your children when your own appearance looks poorly attended to. There are several things to keep in mind regarding clothing choices and court proceedings that may help you make a good impression as a parent. 

Speeding: A common form of reckless driving

While behind the wheel, all Maryland drivers have the responsibility of making smart and safe decisions. Unfortunately, many drivers do not make good decisions, and it is often innocent people who pay the price. Speeding is one of the most common types of reckless driving, and it is one of the most common causes of car accidents. 

Every driver has likely gone over the speed limit at some point. There are specific reasons why there are set speed limits, and traveling even a few miles per hour over the posted limit can have detrimental consequences. If you suffered injuries, property damage and financial loss because of an accident caused by a speeding driver, you could have grounds to pursue damages through a civil claim.

The 2 ways to establish paternity in Maryland

Most jurisdictions automatically assume that a mother is the bona fide parent of the child born to them; however, they don't look at fathers the same way. Like Maryland, many states have a process that dads must follow to establish their paternity and thus be able to enjoy their full parental rights. There are two primary ways to establish paternity in this state.

One way to establish paternity in Maryland is by filling out an Affidavit of Parentage form. You can fill this legal document while you're still at the hospital or complete it at home and send it to the Division of Vital Records. You and the child's other parent will both have to sign the form in front of a notary public if you decide to complete the form once you arrive back home instead of at the hospital.

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