The Differences between a Criminal Prosecution and a Civil Lawsuit

The Differences between a Criminal Prosecution and a Civil LawsuitThere are distinct differences between prosecution for a criminal offense and the pursuit of a legal remedy through a civil proceeding:

  • Burden of proof—In a criminal prosecution, the jury must have no reasonable doubt as to your guilt. In a civil proceeding, they only need to conclude that your version of the facts is more believable than your opponent’s story.
  • The sanctions/penalties—In a criminal proceeding, you can face incarceration, fines (payable to the state), restitution (payable to the victim), community service, probation and even, in some jurisdictions, the death penalty. In a civil lawsuit, the remedy is customarily a monetary damage award, though there are limited situations where a court may compel a party to do something.
  • The source of the law—As a general rule, crimes are established by statute, a written law enacted by a legislative body. Though some civil wrongs are also statutory, most are derived from the common law, written down in opinions of judges in prior cases.
  • The parties—In a criminal prosecution, one of the parties is always the government, acting on behalf of the people. In a civil matter, the parties are usually private citizens or companies, though the government may be a party to a civil lawsuit.

Proven Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has protected the rights of criminal defendants in Maryland for more than 30 years, including people charged with misdemeanors or felonies. SuperLawyers has named him one of the top 100 lawyers in Maryland and The American Lawyer Magazine has also cited him as a Top-Rated Lawyer.

Attorney Smith has been AV-rated (the highest possible) by his colleagues in the legal profession under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System for more than three decades. He has also received Martindale-Hubbell’s prized Client Distinction Award, an accolade earned by less than 4% of all attorneys nationwide. He carries a 10.0 (Superb rating) as a trial lawyer from AVVO and has also earned AVVO’s Client’s Choice Award, with an average client review of 5 stars.

A highly-regarded trial attorney, Jonathan has an extensive knowledge and understanding of Maryland criminal law and procedure. He knows how to effectively gather and preserve evidence and will take all necessary measures to ensure that law enforcement officers did not violate your constitutional rights.

Contact a Proven Maryland Violent Crimes Defense Lawyer

At the law offices of Jonathan Scott Smith, we aggressively advocate for criminal defendants throughout the greater Baltimore area and across the state of Maryland. Contact us online or call 410-740-0101 to arrange a meeting. We handle cases throughout Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Baltimore Homicide Rate Up in 2022

City Sees Record Monthly Murder Tolls

Baltimore Homicide Rate Up in 20222022 is on track to be the deadliest in Baltimore’s history, with nearly 180 homicides in the first six months. The city recorded 42 slayings in May, 2022, the first time that the monthly toll exceeded 40 since May, 2015, when police logged a record 45 killings. The city’s Carrollton Ridge neighborhood, which experienced just six murders between 2012 and 2014, counted six in the month of June this year. City officials expect that the annual tally of homicides in Baltimore will surpass 300 for the 8th year in a row.

Aggressive Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith brings more than three decades of proven experience to criminal defendants across the Baltimore metropolitan area and the state of Maryland, including people charged with violent crimes. He has been received an AV-rating (the highest rating possible) under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System from his colleagues in the Maryland bar for more than 34 years. He has been ranked among the top 100 lawyers in Maryland listed by SuperLawyers and was named a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer Magazine. He has also earned Martindale-Hubbell’s Client Distinction Award, awarded to less than 4% of all lawyers nationwide.

Over the past 30 years, attorney Smith has successfully protected the rights of individuals facing all types of criminal charges, including prosecution for domestic violence or abuse. He will work hard to protect your constitutional rights, fully investigating your case to verify that law enforcement officers and prosecutors follow proper procedures when gathering evidence. He’ll question all potential witnesses and preserve all relevant evidence, so that he can prepare and present the most compelling arguments for your acquittal.

Attorney Smith has been listed among the top 100 attorneys in Maryland by the National Trial Lawyers Association, a “by invitation only” professional organization. He holds a 10.0 (Superb) rating as a trial attorney from AVVO, as well as AVVO’s Client’s Choice Award, with an average client review of 5 stars.

Aggressive Howard County Criminal Defense Attorney

Contact our office by e-mail or call 410-740-0101 for a free initial consultation. We represent criminal defendants in Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Man Dies of Gunshot Wounds 22 Years after Shooting

Can the Perpetrator Still Be Charged with Murder?

Man Dies of Gunshot Wounds 22 Years after ShootingA 38-year-old Baltimore man died in 2021 from gunshot wounds originally sustained in 1999, when he was just 16. Police say the bullet severed the victim’s spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed. After his death, a medical enquiry determined that the man had never returned to good health after the shooting and ruled the death a homicide.

Officials say that, because there is no statute of limitations on murder in Maryland, the perpetrator can still face prosecution. The statute of limitations establishes the time period in which a legal claim must be made. Most criminal acts must be prosecuted within a fixed period of time, but some of the more serious crimes, such as murder, manslaughter and rape, have no time limit on prosecution.

Experienced Baltimore Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith brings more than 30 years of experience to criminal defendants in Maryland, including people charged serious or violent crimes. SuperLawyers has named him one of the top 100 lawyers in Maryland and The American Lawyer Magazine has also cited him as a Top-Rated Lawyer.

Attorney Smith has been AV-rated (the highest possible) by his colleagues in the legal profession under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System for more than three decades. He has also received Martindale-Hubbell’s prized Client Distinction Award, an accolade earned by less than 4% of all attorneys nationwide. He carries a 10.0 (Superb rating) as a trial lawyer from AVVO and has also earned AVVO’s Client’s Choice Award, with an average client review of 5 stars.

A well-respected trial lawyer, Jonathan has a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of Maryland criminal law and procedure. He knows how to effectively gather and preserve evidence and will take all necessary measures to ensure that law enforcement officers did not violate your constitutional rights.

Contact a Proven Maryland Violent Crimes Defense Lawyer

At the law offices of Jonathan Scott Smith, we aggressively advocate for criminal defendants throughout the greater Baltimore area and across the state of Maryland. Contact us online or call 410-740-0101 to arrange a meeting. We handle cases throughout Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Baltimore Police Cleared in Fatal Shooting

State Attorney’s Office Finds “Probable Cause” of Serious Harm

Baltimore Police Cleared in Fatal ShootingThree Baltimore law enforcement officers, all still current members of the force, will not face prosecution for the death of a 35-year-old man on February 21, 2021. The officers were in pursuit of the victim, Benjamin Tyson, believing him to be a suspect in the shooting of a 23-year-old man earlier that night. When police approached him on the ramp of the Harbor Parking Garage, they say he pulled out a gun. They responded with gunfire, killing him almost instantaneously. Police believe that Tyson could not fire at the police officers because his gun had jammed.

The State’s Attorney’s Office conducted an extensive investigation of the case and concluded that the officers had “probable cause to believe their lives were in imminent threat of serious harm or death.”

Proven Baltimore County Criminal Lawyer

For over three decades, attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has protected the constitutional rights of criminal defendants across Baltimore and throughout the state of Maryland, including people charged with assault or other violent crimes. SuperLawyers has named him among the top 100 lawyers in Maryland and The American Lawyer Magazine has also listed him as a Top-Rated Lawyer.

Jonathan has maintained an AV-rating (the highest possible) under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System for more than 34 years. He has also received Martindale-Hubbell’s coveted Client Distinction Award, an honor earned by less than 4% of all attorneys in Maryland. He enjoys a 10.0 (Superb rating) as a trial lawyer from AVVO and has also earned AVVO’s Client’s Choice Award, with an average client review of 5 stars.

A respected trial attorney, Jonathan has a thorough understanding of Maryland criminal law and procedure, and has considerable experience successfully handling a wide range of criminal cases. He knows how to effectively gather and preserve evidence and will take all necessary measures to ensure that law enforcement officers did not violate your constitutional rights.

Aggressive Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney

At the law offices of Jonathan Scott Smith, we fight for the rights of criminal defendants throughout Baltimore County and the surrounding communities. Contact us online or call 410-740-0101 to arrange a meeting. We handle cases throughout Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Maryland Drug Possession Laws

What Constitutes Possession? When Does Possession Involve an Intent to Sell?

What Constitutes Possession? When Does Possession Involve an Intent to Sell?In recent weeks, there has been much controversy in Baltimore, as the city’s State Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, has dismissed approximately half of the narcotics cases brought to her, stating that she will no longer prosecute drug possession cases. The decision is a carryover from 2020, when the city sought to minimize the spread of the coronavirus in jails. Mosby stressed, however, that only cases of simple possession would be dismissed—a person who meets the criteria for possession with intent to distribute will still be prosecuted.

What Is Possession?

Under Maryland law, a person may be charged with possession for either having under his control, administering or attempting to obtain a controlled substance, unless the person has a prescription or order from an authorized provider. Furthermore, a person may still be charged with possession, even with a prescription/order, if there was:

  • Fraud, deception, misrepresentation or subterfuge’
  • Concealment of a material fact
  • Forgery or counterfeiting involving a prescription/written order
  • Use of a false name or identity

When Does Possession Rise to “Intent to Distribute”?

The distinction between possession and possession with intent to distribute is based on the quantity of the controlled substance. The quantity varies based on the specific controlled substance.

AV-Rated Frederick Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith brings more than 30 years of proven experience to criminal defendants across the Baltimore metropolitan area and throughout the state of Maryland. He has been AV-rated (the highest possible) by his fellow attorneys under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System every year since 1988. Attorney Smith has also been the recipient of Martindale-Hubbell’s Client Distinction Award, bestowed upon less than 4% of all attorneys listed in Martindale-Hubbell’s directory. He’s been among the top 100 lawyers in Maryland listed by Super Lawyers, and has been honored as a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer Magazine.

Attorney Smith brings considerable skill and experience to the defense of a wide range of criminal charges. He knows how to effectively gather, assess and preserve all evidence to support an acquittal. He has a comprehensive understanding of your constitutional rights and ensure that police and prosecutors followed all required procedures when gathering evidence or detaining you. He’ll carefully question all potential witnesses, so that he can prepare and present the most compelling arguments in your defense.

Smith has been included among the top 100 attorneys in Maryland by the National Trial Lawyers Association, a “by invitation only” professional organization. He has also earned a 10.0 (Superb rating) as a litigation attorney from AVVO, as well as AVVO’s Client’s Choice Award, with an average client review of 5 stars.

Ellicott City, Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney

Contact our office by e-mail or call 410-740-0101 for an appointment. We represent criminal defendants in Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Baltimore on Target to Match 2020 Homicide Toll

Tally Reaches 250 with 11 Murders in One Week

Baltimore on Target to Match 2020 Homicide TollThough it’s been the focus of continued efforts by police and politicians, the Baltimore homicide rate remains basically unchanged from last year, hitting the 250 mark earlier this month. The city reported 335 homicides during 2020, a slight drop from the 348 recorded in 2019. If the murder rate remains constant for the remaining three months of the year, the city will once again top 330.

Michael Harrison, Baltimore’s Police Commissioner, supports the city’s “Group Violence Reduction Strategy,” an approach that attempts to shift some of the responsibility for the alleviation of violence to community-based organizations, lightening the load for beleaguered police officers. The city attempted to implement the strategy in 2019, but leaders say it was ineffective because there was a lack of commitment across the board. They say it has a better chance of working now, as the mayor, prosecutors and law enforcement officers are all behind it.

Proven Baltimore County Criminal Defense Lawyer

For more than three decades, attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has fought for the rights of people in Baltimore and across the state of Maryland who are under investigation for or have been charged with a crime. Super Lawyers puts him among the top 100 lawyers in Maryland and The American Lawyer Magazine named him a Top Rated Lawyer in 2012. The National Trial Lawyers Association, a “by invitation only” organization, has also identified him as one of the top 100 attorneys in Maryland.

His colleagues in the legal profession have given him an AV-rating (the highest possible) under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System every year since 1988. He has also received Martindale-Hubbell’s Client Distinction Award, awarded to less than 4% of all attorneys listed there.

The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has listed attorney Smith as one of the “10 Best Attorneys in the State of Maryland in Client Satisfaction.” He has a 10.0 (Superb rating) as a trial lawyer from AVVO and has earned the Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars.

Attorney Smith has long been known and respected for his knowledge, skill and extensive experience when handling criminal matters. He can quickly determine whether police have violated your constitutional rights in a search, seizure or arrest. He knows how to effectively gather and preserve evidence, and has considerable experience successfully defending clients at trial.

Proven Criminal Defense Lawyer in the Greater Baltimore Area

At the law offices of Jonathan Scott Smith, we fight for the rights of criminal defendants throughout Baltimore County and the surrounding communities. Contact us online or call 410-740-0101 to arrange a meeting. We handle cases throughout Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Pleading No Contest to a Criminal Charge in Maryland

What Does It Mean? What Is the Effect of Such a Plea?

Pleading No Contest to a Criminal Charge in MarylandWhen you’re arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Maryland, there are a number of ways to respond:

  • You can challenge the charges by pleading “not guilty.”
  • You can admit your culpability by pleading “guilty.”
  • You can argue that you lacked the legal capacity to commit a crime, i.e., that you are not responsible because of insanity or mental deficiency.
  • You can file a “nolo contendere,” or “no contest,” plea.

What Is a Nolo Contendere/No Contest Plea?

Pleading no contest is neither an admission of guilt nor an allegation that you did not commit the crime; it essentially tells the court you will not challenge or contest the prosecution. Before you can plead no contest in Maryland, you must obtain approval from the court. If the court grants your request, the judge will typically conduct an examination in order to determine the sentencing.

What Is the Impact of a No Contest Plea?

With a no contest plea, there is no admission of guilt and no determination of guilt by a jury. Accordingly, with certain types of infractions, such as traffic violations, nothing will go on your permanent record, and there won’t be any impact on your insurance rating. However, if you commit the same violation again, the no contest plea can be brought to the court’s attention at the time of sentencing.

AV-Rated Baltimore Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith brings more than 30 years of hands-on experience to criminal defendants across the greater Baltimore area and throughout the state of Maryland. He has been AV-rated (the highest rating possible) by his colleagues in the legal profession under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System every year since 1988. Attorney Smith has also been the recipient of Martindale-Hubbell’s Client Distinction Award, given to less than 4% of all attorneys listed in Martindale-Hubbell’s directory. He’s been listed among the top 100 lawyers in Maryland by Super Lawyers and honored as a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine.

Attorney Smith has extensive experience, skill, and knowledge in handling criminal defense matters. He’ll gather, assess, and preserve all evidence to support your acquittal and ensure that the police and prosecutors followed all constitutional requirements when gathering evidence or detaining you. He’ll interrogate all potential witnesses in order to prepare and present the most convincing arguments in your defense.

Smith has been named as one of the top 100 attorneys in Maryland by the National Trial Lawyers Association, a by-invitation-only professional organization. He has earned a 10.0 (Superb) rating as a litigation attorney from AVVO and received the Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars.

Howard County, Maryland, Criminal Defense Attorney

Contact our office by email or call 410-740-0101 for an appointment. We represent criminal defendants in Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Baltimore Expecting 300+ Homicides for 7th Straight Year

City Officials Project More Than 1,000 Shootings in 2021

Baltimore Expecting 300+ Homicides for 7th Straight YearAs Baltimore moves into the second half of the year, city officials say little has changed with respect to the city’s murder rate—projections indicate homicides in the city will top 300 for the seventh consecutive year. As of the end of June, the city had confirmed 166 intentional killings.

City officials expressed optimism two years ago when a multi-tier plan was approved, emphasizing:

  • The reduction of illegal guns on Baltimore streets
  • A concerted effort to arrest and prosecute the city’s most violent offenders
  • Greater enforcement of domestic violence laws

Police officials say that, although crime numbers have remained the same, the number of arrests has declined dramatically—from nearly 7,500 a year ago to just under 5,700—due to a shortage of law enforcement officers.

Proven Frederick County Criminal Defense Lawyer

For more than three decades, attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has fought to protect the rights of criminal defendants in Baltimore and across the state of Maryland. Attorney Smith has been listed among the top 100 lawyers in Maryland by SuperLawyers and was named a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine in 2012. He has been AV-rated by his colleagues in the legal profession (the highest rating possible) under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System every year since 1988. He has also been honored with Martindale-Hubbell’s Client Distinction Award, given to less than 4% of all attorneys listed.

The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has called Smith one of the 10 Best Attorneys in the State of Maryland in Client Satisfaction. The National Trial Lawyers Association, a by-invitation-only professional organization, lists him as one of the top 100 attorneys in Maryland. He also has a 10.0 (Superb rating) as a litigation attorney from AVVO and has received the Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with an average client review of 5 stars.

Attorney Smith brings a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of criminal law and procedure to every case he takes. He will fully investigate your case, gathering and protecting all relevant evidence. He’ll also look at the actions of law enforcement officers, evaluating whether they violated your constitutional rights.

Proven Criminal Defense Attorney in the Baltimore Metro Area

At the law offices of Jonathan Scott Smith, we fight for the rights of criminal defendants throughout Baltimore County and the surrounding communities. Contact us online or call 410-740-0101 to arrange a meeting. We handle cases throughout Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland.

The Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated/Impaired in Maryland

Conviction for the Lesser Offense of DWI in Maryland

The Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated/Impaired in MarylandIn Maryland, you can be convicted of driving while intoxicated/impaired if it can be shown in court that your ability to drive was affected to some extent by the consumption of alcohol or controlled substances. As a general rule, you may be charged with DWI if your blood alcohol level (BAC) is .07 or higher. (A DUI charge, which carries stiffer penalties, requires a BAC of .08 or higher.) You can be charged with a DWI even though your vehicle is not on the road or in motion, provided you are in the vehicle and the ignition is engaged.

Because DWI is considered a lesser offense than driving under the influence (DUI), the penalties are less harsh. For a first conviction, the maximum jail term is two months, and the maximum fine is $500. Prior convictions for DWI or DUI, however, can lead to stiffer sentences. A second conviction can bring a jail sentence of up to a year, and a third conviction can result in five years in prison. You also can face up to $5,000 in fines for a third conviction.

An Experienced Maryland DWI Defense Attorney

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has successfully protected the constitutional rights of people across the Baltimore area and throughout Maryland for almost 40 years, including people charged with driving while intoxicated or impaired. He’s been named a Top-Rated Lawyer by American Lawyer Magazine, as well as a Maryland SuperLawyer. His fellow attorneys have consistently given him an AV-rating (the highest possible) under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System). He has a 5-star average rating (the highest possible) for all client reviews with AVVO, earning him the prestigious Client’s Choice Award. He also has a perfect 10.0 (Superb) AVVO rating as a litigator.

Attorney Smith will work hard to gather and preserve evidence in your defense, so he can present the most persuasive arguments for your acquittal. He will be at your side throughout a criminal prosecution, from investigation and arraignment to trial, if necessary. He brings extensive trial experience to every case he handles and will make every effort to protect your rights before a judge and jury.

Experienced Carroll County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Contact Maryland criminal defense attorney Jonathan Scott Smith by email or call us at 410-740-0101 to set up an appointment. We handle DUI defense in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland.

The Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Maryland

Conviction for the More Serious Offense of DUI in Maryland

The Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in MarylandUnder Maryland law, you can be charged with and convicted of DUI (driving under the influence) if there’s evidence that your blood alcohol content exceeded .08%, or that you were substantially impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance. The car doesn’t need to be in motion for you to be charged with a DUI, but the car must be running.

If convicted of DUI in Maryland, you can face jail time and fines, even for a first offense. Penalties increase if you’ve had prior DUI convictions within the last 10 years. For a first-offense conviction of driving under the influence, you can serve up to a year in jail and pay a potential fine of up to $1,000. A second conviction carries the potential for double the jail time and fine. A third conviction may cost you up to five years and as much as $5,000.

Proven Maryland DUI Defense Lawyer

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has successfully defended people in Baltimore and across Maryland on drunk driving charges for nearly 40 years. The American Lawyer Magazine named him a Top-Rated Lawyer and his colleagues in the legal profession have consistently given him an AV-rating (the highest possible) under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System. A longtime Maryland SuperLawyer, he has a 5-star average rating (the highest possible) for client reviews with AVVO, earning him the prestigious Client’s Choice Award. He also has a perfect 10.0 (Superb) AVVO rating as a litigator.

Jonathan Scott Smith aggressively defends men and women charged with a wide range of criminal matters, including DUI. He provides thorough legal counsel throughout a criminal prosecution, from investigation to arraignment to trial. He’s a highly-respected trial attorney with extensive experience obtaining positive results in court. He’ll work hard to gather and preserve evidence in your defense and present the most persuasive arguments for your acquittal.

Experienced Carroll County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Contact Maryland criminal defense attorney Jonathan Scott Smith by email or call us at 410-740-0101 to set up an appointment. We handle DUI defense in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in Maryland.

ADDRESS :

  • Jonathan Scott Smith 10490 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 200 ,Columbia, MD 21044-4960

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101