*Always present your driver's license and registration for a vehicle. However, do not make any uncertain or questionable movements in a vehicle which is likely to place any officer on a high safety alert.
Do not reach in the vehicle's glove compartment, any bags or pockets prior to obtaining permission from the police officer.
*If you are allegedly stopped under the suspicion of drunk driving, you may be asked to perform field sobriety test. (i.e., horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and one leg stand test).
Keep in mind that this is not a contest of your physical ability. Rather, it is a listening and following directions test. If the officer request that you take 8 heel-to-to steps forward and turn around heal-to-toe, do exactly that. Anything else will be considered one of the few clues any officer will need in order to arrest a motorist for DUI or DWI.
*Note you have the right to refuse to take a Breathalyzer Test; however, doing so may result in a 120-day suspension of your driving privilege and you must request a hearing with MVA within 10 days after being arrested in Maryland.
*If you decided to take the Breathalyzer Test and your blood-alcohol-content (BAC) registers a.08%, you are in violation of DWI in Maryland. Even if your BAC is .07% you can still be charged with DUI/DWI.
There is a presumption in DC that a person with a BAC of .05 or more is under the influence of alcohol. Remember a person's BAC will be affected by many factors like weight and the amount of time that elapse after alcohol consumption.
*A conviction of DUI in Maryland may cause a driver's license suspension for 45 days; $1,000.00 fine and/or one year in jail for first time offenders; $2,000.00 and/or 2 years in jail. A conviction may also lead to 12 points on a Maryland Driver's License record. This will increase one's insurance payments.
*An officer must have reasonable articularable suspicion (RAS) that a crime either is being or has been committed in the officer's presence to stop a person. This includes any traffic code violations. However, an officer should not stop a person for failing to wear a seat belt only.
*You have the right to refuse the search of a trunk. Sometimes officers will give citizens the impression that the citizen has to open the trunk just because the officers request a person to open a trunk. Don't go for the head fake, you can refuse to consent to the search of a trunk. If the officer opens the trunk anyway, nothing found may be used against a person because it violates the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine.
Keep in mind that if an officer has another means of obtaining Probably Cause (the legally required existence of facts and circumstances within one's knowledge and of which one has reasonably trustworthy information, sufficient to warrant that a person of reasonable caution to believe that a crime has been committed) the officer may search a trunk without a warrant. For instance a drug sniffing dog indicates that drugs are in the trunk of a vehicle and drugs are found.
*If demanded, always sign a ticket, because an officer may arrest a person for failing to do so.
*Never answer incriminating questions. Exercise the right to remain silent. (5th Amendment Right)
*Always request to speak with a lawyer as soon as you perceive that you are in custody and not free to leave. (Miranda Rights) (Call Me)
*If arrested, express desire to make a call (Call Me)
*Limit your answers to your name, address, license number and phone number.
*Stay calm and never, argue, fight, or run.
*Remember, anything you do or say will be used against you in a Court of law!
*Last, the facts may be already stacked against you at the point of arrest. While there is a notion at law that all people are innocent until proving guilty, the way things seem to play out is, an arrested person is guilty unless or until they can prove themselves innocent in a Court of law.
A. Divorce -absolutely being legally removed from the impediment of marriage.
*Can be bought from the plaintiff's state of residence or the state where a plaintiff was married.
a. Limited Divorce or Legal Separation -Directed at conduct calculated to seriously impair the health or permanently destroy the happiness of the other spouse.
b. Absolute Divorce -Directed at conduct where there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
2. Fault Grounds:
a. Cruelty of Treatment
*Typically a single act of cruelty is not sufficient, but in a limited divorce a single act of cruelty toward a child is sufficient.
*Must be conduct that is likely to endanger life or health.
*Violent and outrageous conduct making it impossible to discharge the duties of married life.
b. Excessive Vicious Conduct
*There is no specific period of time.
*Deliberately abandoning spouse with the intent to end the marriage.
*Permanently refusal to have sexual intercourse for reasons not associated with health.
*Behavior so unbearable that it causes spouse to leave (constructive).
*Must prove disposition/motive and opportunity.
e. Conviction of a Crime
*Defendant spouse must have been convicted of a crime and sentence to serve 3 or more years and has already served 12 months.
f. Insanity or Serious Mental Disorder
*Defendant spouse has been confined to a mental institution for at least 3 years and two psychiatrist testify that the insanity is incurable.
*** If a plaintiff has fault grounds, there is no specific or minimum about of time that a plaintiff must wait prior to filing for a divorce in Maryland.
No Fault Grounds:
- One party Decision to Separate
- No Hope of Reconciliation -
Live Separate and Apart Without Cohabitation for 1 year.
B. Property Division - Maryland is an equitable distribution state. Simply stated, the court takes all martial property (real or personal) income (including pensions) acquired during the course of marriage and divides it equally.
*Lottery winnings, pensions, personal injury claims and any other form of commingled income can be divided.
*Social Security benefits, professional licenses and military disability are not divided.
*Maryland is a title state when it comes equitable distribution. In other words, if a party to a marriage owned the property (thing of value) prior to the marriage, then the property is not marital property.
C. Alimony - is maintenance money paid to one spouse as part of the judicial decree of limited or absolute divorce.
*Limited based on the time it reasonable should take for the party granted such payment to develop income earning skills and qualifications.
II. Pendent Lite
*Granted during the pendency of litigation
III. Permanent or Indefinite.
Termination of Alimony
I. Upon the death of either party
II. Remarriage of the recipient
III. To avoid harsh or inequitable result
D. Child Support - amount of money paid for the maintenance and support of one's natural or adopted child.
* While the Court has very limited authority to force couples to remain together, the Courts have plenary authority to force parents to contribute to a natural or adopted child's support and maintenance.
* All decisions the Court makes are in the best interest of the child.
A. Physical - having actual possession and control of child
B. Legal - having the right to make major decisions affecting the child's life.
2. Visitation - when sole custody is granted to one parent, strong pubic policy suggests that it is in the best interest of a child to maintain a healthy relationship with both competent parents.
District of Columbia
*DC has two forms of divorce as well: Absolute and legal separation
*Unlike Maryland, if parties to a marriage mutual and voluntary decided to live separate and apart without any cohabitation they may be granted an absolute divorce after 6 months.
*If separation has been entered into non-voluntarily, then the party petitioning the Court for divorce must wait for 1 year.
*Unlike Maryland, when the DC Code states that parties must live "separate and apart" the Code does not require that parties live in separate residences. The parties seeking a divorce may live in the same residence as long as there is no cohabitation. The parties must carry on their lives separate. For example the parties should not share meals, bedroom, mutually make groceries and the like.
*As DC recognizes common law marriages, while it might not be necessary to have a formal wedding ceremony to get married, divorcing parties will have to have a formal divorce proceeding.
*DC divorce is not base on fault-grounds.
*DC has a tendency to adhere to equity principles when it comes to the distribution of marital assets. This is important to know because nontraditional marital property can become marital property if martial assets are used to pay for the non-traditional martial property. Hence the nontraditional marital property may be deemed commingled with marital assets.
*There are many similarities between Maryland and DC when it comes to alimony and child support.
*Keep in mind that while there are many types of crimes that any one person may be charged with, depending upon the facts and laws of any particular jurisdiction, all it takes for a person alleged to have committed such an offense to disprove only one element required for any offense in order for a person to be exonerated from such a charge.
*All crimes must be proven by the State beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, if there is reasonable doubt that a particular person committed a particular crime then that person should be found NO GUILTY!
*Intent coupled with the totality of facts and circumstances will determine if a particular person should be charged with a particular offense.
*Statutory offenses (legislated) don't always require intent.
Maryland Offenses: Maryland Commission's Manual
Title 22. Criminal Offenses and Penalties: Under Title 22 You WIll See Laws Pertaining To Disctric of Columbia's Criminal Offenses.