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Estate Planning in Uncertain Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a reminder of the uncertainty around every corner in life. Since we really can’t predict what the future holds, a great way to achieve peace of mind for yourself and your family moving forward is to review your estate planning in 2021. Even if you’ve already “completed” your estate planning, you should keep in mind that the value of assets can change over time, tax laws change, and even your final wishes can change. During this continued time of relative uncertainty, here are a few items you should check on pertaining to your estate.

Reviewing Your Will and Power of Attorney

The will and power of attorney are living documents, which means they can and should be updated as your life changes to reflect your current lifestyle, needs and preferences. Many people view the work of an estate planning attorney as a one-time task, but it should be updated annually. Failing to update your will or power of attorney could leave you in a situation where your current wishes are not executed, and you are unable to properly articulate your preferences. Relationships change, assets change, your location changes and tax laws change. Are your will and power of attorney changing to reflect that?

Reviewing Your Power of Attorney

The power of attorney designation gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf in a variety of circumstances, whether it is medically when you are incapacitated or financially. You should always review who your power of attorney is annually and in the event of illness. If you’re married, divorced or simply changed your mind about who you want to act on your behalf, now is the perfect time to revise your power of attorney document.

Reviewing Your Will

Reviewing your will annually is another important task. How can you quickly review your will? Grab a copy and, before you sit down with your attorney at Mobley and Brown, LLP, simply consider the following questions:

  • Is anyone missing who should be listed on the document?
  • Are there people listed in the document that should not be?
  • Have the circumstances of any individuals listed changed since it was drafted? Are they no longer of sound mind to receive a certain gift or serve as executor?
  • How are you feeling about the division of your assets?

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help for Families Who Need Estate Planning

If you are searching for an estate planning and family law attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Is There More Than One Way that Police Can Charge a Person After Driving Under the Influence?

In the state of Maryland, there are multiple charges associated with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many people assume DWIs and DUIs are the same thing, and while they are similar, there are a few key distinctions you should be aware of if you have been charged with either crime.

What is a DWI?

DWI, or driving while impaired, is the less serious of Maryland’s two drinking and driving offenses. DWI charges are given to those who drive with a blood alcohol concentration level detected between .07% and .08%. However, an individual could still be charged with DWI despite testing just below the legal limit assuming they exhibited unsafe and unpredictable driving.

Maryland DWI Consequences

DWI punishments aren’t as serious as DUI punishments, but it is still a misdemeanor crime that should be avoided or reduced with the help of an attorney. At maximum, DWI offenders can expect a fine of $500, 60 days of jail time, and 8 penalty points added to their driving record.

What is a DUI?

A DUI, stands for driving under the influence. This could mean driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The drugs could be over-the-counter, prescription or illegal. Naturally, DUI charges are the more serious drinking and driving charge in Maryland. The key distinction between DUI and DWI charges is that DUIs are given to drivers who test above a blood alcohol concentration level of .08%. Because it is the more serious offense, it typically involves more serious consequences.

Maryland DUI Consequences

First time DUI offenders can be subject to steep punishment, and the consequences only ramp up for second- and third-time offenders. First time offenders may be required to pay a fine not exceeding $1,000 and may be subject to a year of jail time depending on the specifics of the case. That fine increases to $2,000 and $3,000 for second- and third-time offenders respectively, with a potential additional year of jail time for each additional offense. A DUI in the state of Maryland will also come with 12 penalty points administered to the driver’s record.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help Fighting Your Driving Under the Influence Case

If you are searching for the right DUI or DWI defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. We are committed to using our experience along with facts from your specific case in order to achieve the result you deserve.   Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

What Does Personal Injury Mean as a Legal Term?

Personal injury law is a major field, but if you haven’t been involved in a personal injury case yourself, it wouldn’t be surprising if you don’t know the nuances just yet. To determine whether you should pursue a personal injury case, let’s explore what personal injury really means as a legal term.

Personal Injury Law

“Personal injury” typically refers to the law that governs victims of preventable accidents or injuries caused by another party. Personal injury cases are those where one of those victims seeks legal remedy from the party that they believe is at fault for the preventable accident or injury. Personal injury cases occur as a result of negligence, carelessness, or disregard of the safety of others rather than an active attempt of malice.

Personal injury cases can include a variety of situations that directly led to an injury. Common situations include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Plane accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect
  • Dog attacks
  • Workplace injuries
  • Product liability
  • Premises liability

Because the definition of personal injury law is so broad, it’s important to seek an experienced lawyer.

What Does Personal Injury Mean in Terms of Damages?

Since personal injury cases are civil claims, they can be resolved through awarding compensation to the victim instead of penalties, jail time or sanctions that might be awarded in a criminal case. Instead, personal injury awards are monetary and can be equivalent in the opinion of the court to:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Lost future wages or decreased earning potential
  • Physical suffering and pain
  • Mental pain
  • Lost quality of life
  • Psychological injury
  • Losses for permanent scarring and/or disfigurement
  • Transportation costs

Because every accident is different and every victim is different, the amount awarded from case to case can dramatically vary. One car accident might only have a small monetary award, while another could be tremendous. The impact of pain and suffering is not quantifiable with a specific algorithm, meaning it is the job of attorneys to help clients arrive at a figure that is just and meets their needs throughout the recovery process.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help in the Aftermath of Your Accident or Injury

If you are seeking assistance in Maryland in the aftermath of your accident or injury, looking to seek compensation through a personal injury case and unsure of how to proceed, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

What to Do if You Are Charged with Resisting Arrest in Maryland

Regardless of whether you actually committed a crime, resisting arrest by using force is a sure way to end up with a criminal charge. However, that doesn’t mean that every resisting arrest charge is lawful. Do you think you may have been wrongfully charged with resisting arrest? Let’s take a look at some of the nuances of Maryland law to gain a better understanding of your situation and how Mobley and Brown may be able to help.

How are Resisting Arrest Charges Triggered?

Resisting arrest charges are primarily centered around the use of force. In order to be charged with resisting arrest, an individual must be either physically or verbally trying to avoid standard arrest procedures when interacting with law enforcement. It is also worth considering that individuals who impede the arrest of another person may also be subject to charges.

When suspects flee law enforcement, they are not subject to resisting arrest charges since no force was used.

Defending Against the Charges

When you work with a defense attorney, we will thoroughly walk through the situation that led to your charges to come up with the best defense possible. In order to be convicted, the prosecution must be able to offer a seamless argument that the following three things happened:

  • An arrest took place
  • The arrest was 100% lawful
  • Use of force was implemented in an effort to prevent the arrest

Safe Advice for Police Interactions That Go South

We have a few pointers you can implement in order to keep yourself as safe as possible during interactions with law enforcement. Above all, your safety is the most important thing during any law enforcement interaction. If an officer is trying to arrest you, regardless of whether you have committed a crime, the safest thing to do is to meet the arrest with no resistance. If you are innocent, that can be proven in due time, but there is no reason to try to prove your innocence on the spot and resort to the use of force. Thus, we recommend staying calm and compliant to keep any additional charges from racking up.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP if You Are Charged with Resisting Arrest in Maryland

If you are searching for a criminal defense or disorderly conduct defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Is a Will Enough for Your Estate Planning?

At some point, we won’t be around anymore to take care of our loved ones. That’s why most individuals start creating an estate plan that ensures their wishes are met when the inevitable takes place down the road. Is a will always enough to ensure your needs are met? Here are some scenarios in which you may benefit from more than a will as you begin your estate planning.

Powers of Attorney

Powers of attorney are simply documents that allow lawyers or other trusted agents to act on your behalf. You may choose to pursue this avenue for a variety of reasons. Most often, individuals do so to ease the burden of tasks like selling real estate, filing taxes, paying bills and providing clear healthcare treatment preferences.

Living Will

A living will, or advanced directive, allows individuals to make choices about their final days well in advance. Without a living will in place, there may be several unanswered questions regarding how to handle major life decisions, including Do Not Resuscitate orders, organ donations and palliative care preferences. Instead, your loved ones would be left with, and potentially emotionally burdened by these decisions.

Trust

A will is a great foundation for a solid estate plan, but a trust may be worth heavily considering as an add on for many people entering the estate planning process. A crucial thing to remember is that wills only take effect after an individual has passed. Until then, if they were to become incapacitated, they would be unable to provide critical information regarding the handling of their finances. Trusts, on the other hand, go into effect the moment they are signed.  Other advantages of trusts include the fact that they allow assets to bypass probate, distribute assets faster than a will, are more private than a will and allow you to set age requirements for asset inheritance.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help for Families Who Need Estate Planning

If you are searching for an estate planning and family law attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

What to Look for in a DUI Lawyer in Maryland

Last month, we explored the potential penalties associated with a DUI conviction in the state of Maryland. The conviction ultimately results in a misdemeanor crime, but additional penalties such as fines, license restrictions, probation and jail time vary depending on the specifics of the case. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of Maryland DUI law represent you. Here are a few tips you can use to select the right DUI lawyer.

Look for Experience and Past Successes

Experience is a valuable trait for a DUI lawyer, but its only part of the picture. Be sure to get a clear idea of how your prospective attorney has been representing their clients over the years. If you discover that they have a positive reputation, you should favor them over lawyers with spotty track records.

Great Communicators Make Great DUI Lawyers

Many attorneys offer free consultations before you enlist their services, and it’s an offer we recommend taking them up on. Before you commit to an attorney, you’ll want to confirm that they are an effective communicator. A precise understanding of DUI law is critical, but it shouldn’t overshadow the importance of first-rate communication skills when arguing in your favor. A confident communicator can offer a great deal of peace of mind to those trying to navigate through the DUI process alone.  This also includes making certain you understand the nuances of the Maryland DUI laws in its simplest form.

Stick to Your Area During Your Searching Process

You may come across attorneys from other towns, or even states, that catch your eye. Our best advice? Stick with an attorney who is local to the area the DUI initially took place in. Local attorneys are likely to have a firm grasp of local DUI law, and they will also bring their established relationships with district attorneys and judges to the table.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help Fighting Your DUI Charge

If you are searching for the right DUI or DWI defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. We are committed to using our experience along with facts from your specific case in order to achieve the result you deserve.   Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Do You Need an Attorney for Traffic Court?

Most of the time, drivers who receive traffic tickets choose to personally represent themselves in court. It makes sense! Traffic court generally only results in fines and added points to ones driving record. Even still, there are a few situations in which hiring an attorney is definitely the right move. Here is how we can help you out if you decide to do so!

When Should You Be Sure to Hire an Attorney?

While it is never a bad idea to have professional representation, here are a few instances in which we believe hiring a traffic attorney is absolutely necessary:

You Already Have Several Tickets

If you already have a blemished driving record, its likely worth hiring an attorney to represent you in traffic court. As tickets continue to pile up, the stakes only get higher with the looming threat of steeper fines or even license suspensions. Hiring an attorney could genuinely be the difference that allows you to steer clear of these punishments.

You Are a Commercial Driver

When your livelihood revolves around driving, it only makes sense that harsher punishment and judgement could be used when assessing your traffic court case. To protect your livelihood, it will likely be in your best interest to come prepared with an attorney as your ally.

How Can a Traffic Attorney Help You?

 

Cost Effective

Since traffic cases are generally quite minor, you won’t have to worry about steep legal fees if you choose to hire an attorney. On the other hand, if you do not have an attorney and your case goes south, you will likely be subject to steep insurance premium hikes.

Firm Grasp of Maryland Traffic Law

When you choose an experienced traffic attorney, they have likely experienced many cases very similar to your own. This experience, combined with a firm grasp on Maryland law, allows us to add a lot of value by preparing a defense that improves your odds of minimizing or avoiding punishment. Sometimes, even the presence of an attorney can cause a judge to look upon a defendant more favorably.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Traffic Court Cases in Maryland

If you are searching for a criminal defense or disorderly conduct defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

The Potential Penalties of a DUI Conviction in Maryland

Criminal convictions of any kind should be avoided if at all possible. A first time DUI charge is a misdemeanor in the state of Maryland. While the punishment is certainly less severe than the penalties associated with more serious felony charges, there are still long-lasting consequences involved with DUI convictions. What are the potential penalties of a DUI conviction in Maryland?

Maryland DUI Conviction Penalties

DUI convictions are considered a misdemeanor crime in the state of Maryland, as previously stated. In addition, first-time DUI offenders may face a fine of up to $1,000 and a sentence of up to one year in prison. First-time offenders also face a 12-point penalty on their driving record. This penalty alone is enough for license revocation, meaning you may end up having to reapply for your driver’s license down the road.  At the minimum, you can likely expect a six-month license suspension.

For second time violators, the penalties are increased even more. The fine can be increased to $2,000, and offenders could face up to a year jail sentence. The 12-point penalty is still in effect, and the offender’s license might be revoked for a full year rather than a mere six months. First- and second-time offenders may be required to attend an alcohol abuse treatment program as well.

Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program are imposed on any drivers who are charged with two DUI offenses within five years. DUI convictions can lead to a slew of further related issues. These aren’t penalties, per se, but they are complications that occur as a direct result of the charge:

  • Difficulty finding employment opportunities
  • Higher auto insurance rates
  • Higher life insurance rates
  • Loss of security clearance or professional licenses
  • Damaged reputation
  • Payments for alternative transportation

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help Fighting Your DUI Charge

If you are searching for the right DUI or DWI defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. We are committed to using our experience along with facts from your specific case in order to achieve the result you deserve.   Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

What Happens If You Fail a Breathalyzer Test in Maryland?

In the state of Maryland, a breathalyzer test is one of the ways that law enforcement officers will determine whether or not you are intoxicated while driving. During a DUI or DWI stop, the officer will typically ask you to complete a breathalyzer test. There are consequences for refusing the test or if you fail a breathalyzer test.

What Does Implied Consent Mean?

Maryland has an implied consent law, which means that anyone who is driving a vehicle is consenting to take a breathalyzer or blood test if they are pulled over under suspicion of DWI or DUI. However, implied consent only matters if you were legally detained under suspicion of intoxicated driving.

What Happens if I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

Refusing to take a breathalyzer test will have severe consequences separate and apart from a possible DUI conviction in court.  The officer will take your license and issue a temporary license (Order of Suspension) before forwarding the refusal information to the MVA.  You have an absolute right to contest the suspension by timely requesting a hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings, to prove why your license should not be suspended.  It’s important to note you must request this hearing or you run the risk of having your license suspended on the 46th day after your license was confiscated.  A hearing must be requested within 10 days to avoid your license being suspended while you await your hearing date.  You have 30 days from the Order of Suspension to request an administrative hearing.  For a first offense the suspension is 270 days. A second suspension results in a 2 year suspension.

What Happens if I Fail a Breathalyzer Test?

If you blow a positive result on your test, a .08 or greater, there are many different things that could happen. A street breath test, or Preliminary Breath Test (PBT), will determine your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at the time you are tested.  However, a PBT is not reliable for court purposes, but can be used to give probable cause for an arrest.  In many cases, you will then go to the police station to take another breathalyzer test that can be used against you. If you fail a breathalyzer test in this manner, you could be charged accordingly. It’s a good idea to contact your representation at Mobley & Brown, LLP immediately to determine your best legal options and protect you from the serious consequences of a DWI or DUI conviction.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP if You Fail a Breathalyzer Test

Whether you have been pulled over by police and you are concerned about what could happen after you fail a breathalyzer test or you need help considering what the best path forward is for you, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

How Mediation Works in a Car Accident Case in Maryland

After a collision where you are dealing with injuries or damage to your vehicle, there are several different paths forward to get the restitution that you deserve. An experienced lawyer like Mobley & Brown, LLP can help determine the best path for your car accident case. In Maryland, one of the options is known as mediation. What exactly is mediation, and how does it work in a car accident case?

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is an alternative to taking things to court. During mediation, the involved parties will sit down and try to reach a settlement that works for both parties. A mediator, or unbiased third party, will help to guide both parties to a conclusion and agreement that works. In Maryland, there is a pretrial conference that can also serve as a mediation meeting with both sides. The pretrial conference is typically held with a judge, and it is one way to prevent cases from reaching the courtroom and taking more money and time to conclude.

What Happens During Car Accident Case Mediation?

Typically, the mediator will meet with the parties to introduce themselves. Next, each party will go to a separate room to negotiate. The mediator will go back and forth between the two parties to discuss offers, requests and demands. Many people think of mediation as a contentious process between the two parties, but in reality, it is designed to be as seamless and peaceful as possible. If you are concerned about extensive interaction with the other party in your car accident case, you don’t need to be!

Are Arbitration and Mediation the Same Thing?

No! While both of them can involve a lawyer or judge to help orchestrate the mediation process, they are quite different. During mediation, you cannot be forced to participate. If you do not want to negotiate during your car accident case and would prefer to let the court or a jury decide, that is your right. You can walk out the door at any time.

In arbitration, you can think of it like a less formal trial. While you are not in a courtroom, the decision of the arbitrator will be final and you will be forced to live with it. Unlike mediation, you cannot simply choose to not participate in most cases.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with a Car Accident Case in Maryland

Whether you have been the subject of a car accident case in Maryland or you need help considering what the best path forward for you is, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.