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The Hazards of DIY-ing Your Estate Planning During COVID-19

With the popularity of YouTube and the accessibility of information on the internet, do-it-yourself culture has never been more prevalent than it is today. While COVID-19 might be keeping you socially distanced from your attorney, you should never attempt to do estate planning on your own.

Legal Terms

First, legal terminology can be very dense and confusing. Attorneys at Mobley and Brown, LLP specialize in breaking down complex terms, and understand exactly what each piece of your estate planning puzzle means. Unfortunately, people who misunderstand legal terms can create estate plans that are virtually useless or not legally valid.

Missing Pieces

A very common mistake when you choose to DIY your estate planning is missing pieces, signatures or attachments. If you do not thoroughly understand the process of estate planning and all of the moving parts involved, you could void the document thanks to a single missing signature. Estate planning attorneys know how to complete everything right the first time.

Lost Will

One of the most tragic problems with DIY estate planning is that, if you complete it by yourself and do not inform others, the court may assume that a will does not exist and it may die with you. Lawyers can serve as custodians of your will and estate plan, which prevents it from being lost or revoked in court after your passing. One recent example of this occurred with Aretha Franklin. It was initially believed that there was no will left behind, but later three separate handwritten wills were discovered. This has now led to tremendous confusion and a long legal battle, when a single professionally-drafted will could have already dispensed her assets to the rightful beneficiaries.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Finally, when you complete your estate planning, you should remember that one size does not fit all. The fill-in-the-blank documents available online are not customized to your unique family and life situations. Why would you risk your intentions not being followed through and leave everything in the hands of a free printable form you found online? Mobley and Brown, LLP is here to help ensure your wishes are carried out.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Your Estate Planning

If you are searching for the right estate planning/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.

4 Reasons You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney After a Car Accident

If you are injured during a car accident, it can be stressful to need medical treatment and face steep bills to help you recover. A personal injury attorney can fight for what you deserve and ensure that you do everything right in the aftermath of your accident. Why should you hire an attorney in the immediate aftermath instead of trying to manage things on your own?

4 Reasons You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney After a Car Accident

  1. You Need to Focus on Recovery

When you are injured, you need to focus your energy on healing and recovery. A personal injury attorney works on your behalf tirelessly, so that you can have peace of mind and time to rest. Let us guide you through the legal side of things and take the stress of insurance companies and court cases off of your plate.

  1. We Are Experienced

When you are trying to work with insurance companies and attorneys who aren’t on your side, a paperwork error, statement, technicality or loophole can lead to you not receiving the compensation that you deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney can ensure that you don’t make any missteps and create an effective, customized legal strategy to help you in your specific situation.

  1. Correct Damage Evaluation

One of the most complex parts of a personal injury case can be assessing the damage that occurred. A personal injury attorney knows how to survey and quantify damages in an appropriate fashion. We can also help establish proof that you were not at fault for the accident and demonstrate liability. Many people minimize their damages in the aftermath of an accident and regret doing so when costly medical bills continue, but we will always fight for what you deserve.

  1. You Need to Get It Right the First Time

If your car accident personal injury case does end up in the courtroom, you get one opportunity to get it right while avoiding the case dragging on for years in appeals courts. Lawyers know how the legal system works and how to make a great case the first time. Because the court lacks the context of the case and only knows what your attorney presents to them at a hearing, you can’t afford to get things wrong. At Mobley & Brown, LLP, we are here to help.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP, a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney in Maryland

If you are searching for the right personal injury 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.

3 Myths About Trespassing Charges in Maryland

While you probably drive by “NO TRESPASSING” signs every day, do you really know what they mean or what the penalty for violating them would be? Trespassing charges in Maryland vary in severity, but a single conviction could result in a fine or jail time. Knowing the truth behind the myths about trespassing is critical to protect yourself.

Myths About Trespassing Charges in Maryland

  1. Every “No Trespassing” Sign Is Legally Valid

You can be convicted of trespassing if you ignore “no trespassing” signs, but every sign is not created equal. Maryland law requires the signs to be clearly visible on the property that should not be entered. The signs also need to be placed at possible points of entry, like roads, adjoining land and adjoining waterways. If the signs are not visible or hard to read, or there is only one sign posted far away from the entire area that should not be entered, they may not hold up in court. If there are clear signs posted throughout the area, the person who deliberately ignores them could be charged with criminal trespassing charges in Maryland.

  1. Trespassing Charges Aren’t a Big Deal

While trespassing charges in Maryland are not as serious as other types of charges, they are considered a misdemeanor and carry a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine for the first offense. For subsequent offenses, you could receive sentences up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000 if the crime was committed within 2 years of the first offense.

  1. You Can Defend Trespassing Charges on Your Own

Any crime that is considered a misdemeanor should be taken seriously, and you should never start defending yourself against trespassing charges in Maryland without the help of a skilled lawyer. Mobley & Brown, LLP has a wealth of experience defending clients against trespassing charges and keeping a misdemeanor and jail time off of their records. Many property owners and businesses try to use trespass laws to prevent people from returning to their property, so a lack of defense could impact your future ability to visit the locations you were accused of trespassing on in the future. We are here to help.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Trespassing Charges in Maryland

If you are searching for the right 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 Is First-Degree Assault in Maryland?

Assault in Maryland is a complex charge, as depending on the situation the accused could end up with a misdemeanor or a felony. The most serious conviction that you can receive for assault is assault in the first degree. What is considered first-degree assault in Maryland?

What Defines First-Degree Assault in Maryland?

The law defines first-degree assault as intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious physical harm to someone else. If you commit assault with a firearm (handguns, rifles, shotguns, antique guns, machine guns, etc.), it is automatically considered a first-degree assault. Anyone who is convicted of first-degree assault in Maryland is considered a felon and can be sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Maryland views people who try and fail to commit assault with the same level of culpability as if they had successfully committed the assault. As a result, people who have attempted first-degree assault in Maryland can be eligible for the same sentence or penalty as those who committed first-degree assault. It’s also important to note that there does not need to be serious bodily harm done in cases of first-degree assault. Pointing a gun during a robbery, for example, could be a first-degree assault conviction.

The Intent to Assault in Maryland

The critical distinction between first-degree and second-degree assault is intent. It is not enough to show that harm was committed. Instead, you must also show that someone intended to commit the harm that they did. The court does not need to see that there was malice towards the victim, but only that the defendant intentionally acted as they did.

The Penalties for First-Degree Assault

The mandatory minimum sentence for first-degree assault in Maryland is 10 years of prison time for a second offense and 25 years of prison time for a third offense. If someone is convicted four times, they must be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Because of the severity of the crime, judges cannot elect to lessen or not impose those mandatory minimum sentences.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with First-Degree Assault Charges in Maryland

If you are searching for the right 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.

4 Common Causes of Non-Compete Agreement Violations

In a competitive business world, non-compete agreements are common to protect businesses from employees leaving and taking clients with them. Whenever an employee signs a non-compete, they are promising to not compete with their employer for a set amount of time within a certain geographic radius and industry. Unfortunately, sometimes employees make non-compete agreement violations that require legal intervention.

Is Your Non-Compete Agreement Enforceable?

Before you worry about potential non-compete agreement violations, you must ensure that your agreement is legally sound. If your non-compete agreement is overly restrictive, it might not hold up in court. The agreement can be enforced if a court determines that:

  • There was adequate consideration put into the contract
  • The agreement made sense when considered with the nature of the employment
  • It was limited in duration and geographic radius
  • It would not impose undue hardship on the employee
  • It is not in violation of public policy

In the state of Maryland, a non-compete could be enforced even if one of the above things is not true. That means that the court will instead strike out any unenforceable portions and focus only on what can be enforced.

4 Common Non-Compete Agreement Violations

  1. A former employee gave trade secrets from your business to a competitor, even if they are not working for the competitor in a full-time capacity
  2. A former employee was hired by a competitor within the geographic boundary and time period that you specified in your agreement
  3. A former employee solicited clients or customers from your business after leaving
  4. A former employee gave confidential information about your workplace to a competitor

Non-compete agreement violations are very serious because they could do catastrophic damage to your bottom line and the financial future of your business. Always consult with an experienced business attorney like Mobley & Brown, LLP when creating your non-compete agreement to ensure that it will be enforceable. A comprehensive agreement will protect you against financial damage in the aftermath of critical employees leaving now and in the future.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Creating Non-Compete Agreements in Maryland

If you are searching for the right 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.

Estate Planning When a Loved One Is Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

Estate planning is never an easy task, but it can be more complicated when you are helping a loved one with Alzheimer’s complete the task. There are unique considerations that you should keep in mind when estate planning, as the condition can have many legal and financial ramifications. As the disease progresses, it can become more difficult to complete the planning process.

What Estate Planning Documents Do You Need?

You should always start the planning process with an experienced lawyer and work together to iron out the various legal, financial and healthcare planning documents that you will need. Some of the most critical documents that loved ones who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s need include:

  • Living Will: This contains the wishes of the adult regarding healthcare treatment near the end of life or if they become unable to make decisions themselves.
  • Living Trust: A living trust gives a trustee instructions regarding the senior’s estate and establishes their right to hold the property and funds if necessary. The trustee can follow all of the instructions given once the adult affected by Alzheimer’s can no longer make their own sound decisions.
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare: This document designates a proxy who can make healthcare decisions on their behalf if the adult with Alzheimer’s cannot do so any longer.
  • Will: A will details the ways that a person’s assets and estate will be divided up upon their passing. In a will, you can also specify things like gifts, trusts that will manage the estate, burial arrangements and arrangements for the care of any minor children that are involved.
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Finances: Just like with healthcare, the financial POA allows someone else to make financial decisions on behalf of the incapacitated individual.

When your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is critical that you move as quickly as possible to legally document their wishes and secure the estate. Elder law attorneys, like Mobley and Brown, LLP, can assist you with each step of the estate planning process and ensure that your loved one is able to age as healthily and peacefully as possible. Ironing out legal and financial matters now can eliminate concerns in the future. 

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Estate Planning in Maryland

If you are searching for the right 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 Basics of Slip and Fall Claims in Maryland

If you fall down and slip in a private business or on a property, what recourse do you have? Slip and fall claims in Maryland are common, and the law is based on a fault system. If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident, here is what you need to know about making slip and fall claims in Maryland.

Understanding Slip and Fall Claims in Maryland

In Maryland, business and property owners are not necessarily liable if you slip and fall somewhere on their property. When making a slip and fall claim, you must be able to demonstrate that the property owner knew about or should have known about the hazard and failed to properly notify you. Falling can occur inside or outside of a business for a variety of reasons, including torn carpeting, steps with varying heights, wet floors, a slippery substance on the floor or obstructions like extension cords.

Liability

Liability is the process used to determine who caused an accident. For example, if you slipped and fell on a glass of water that you spilled in your own home, you would be liable. On property that does not belong to you, the property owner is not automatically liable for all slip and fall claims in Maryland. The law says that owners must take “reasonable steps” to make sure their properties are safe. Things that could constitute a strong argument include poor lighting, abrupt changes in the height of steps or floor or flooring with large holes. Conditions that have clearly persisted for long enough to fix them or label them with a warning sign can be strong for slip and fall claims in Maryland.

What Can Complicate a Slip and Fall Claim?

The property owner should have an insurance company, and they will likely be the ones trying to show that the property owner did nothing wrong. What types of arguments could you expect to hear?

  • Contributory Negligence: In Maryland, if you did anything that contributed to your slip and fall, you cannot make a claim against the property owner. Due to the harsh laws in Maryland, if you contributed to even 1% of what occurred, you cannot make a claim.
  • Assumption of Risk: Maryland also holds that you can assume risk, which means that you should have understood the risk you were taking and cannot make a claim as a result. For example, if you walk on a surface with visible ice and snow, in most cases the law will see you as assuming risk.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Slip and Fall Claims in Maryland

If you are searching for the right 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 Makes a Legally Binding Contract in Maryland?

Contracts are an essential part of business transactions in Maryland, but they are a particularly complex part of the law. Because contracts can take a variety of forms, like written or oral, and include clauses that have serious ramifications, it is critical that you understand what constitutes a legally binding contract in Maryland.

What Is a Contract?

A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties. Contracts can be oral or written, but certain contracts must be written to be legally binding. All contracts must be entered into voluntarily by people who are deemed competent to do so.

What Makes a Legally Binding Contract in Maryland?

There are five critical parts of a contract to make it a legally binding contract in Maryland:

  1. Offer: The contract must include a proposal to pay something, do something or have some exchange of things of value.
  2. Competent Parties: Minors, those who are deemed to be mentally incapacitated and others who are not competent to enter into a contract cannot do so.
  3. Acceptance: All parties must agree upon the contents of a contract.
  4. Consideration: All parties must get something through the contract, even if the “something” in question is relatively small.
  5. Performance: There is something that must be fulfilled through the contract. In some cases, once that obligation is met, the contract is automatically terminated. In others, it could be ongoing until both parties mutually agree to terminate it.

What Can Complicate Contracts?

There are a variety of factors that can invalidate a contract during the process or after it is signed:

  • Fraud: If one party intentionally misrepresented something or lied when creating the contract, the contract could be invalidated.
  • Breach of Contract: This can happen if one of the parties does not fulfill their obligation for part of the contract. This could be outright refusing to perform, failure to perform or making it impossible for the other party to fulfill their obligation.
  • Cooling Off Period: Every legally binding contract in Maryland does not necessarily come with a three-day cooling off period, although there is one for door-to-door sales and other specific transactions (health clubs, weight loss centers, etc.).

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Contract Law in Maryland

If you are searching for the right 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.

Understanding Marijuana Law in Maryland

In the United States, it seems like every time there is an election, there is a change to medical and recreational marijuana laws in certain states. Maryland is no different, and marijuana law in Maryland has undergone major changes recently.

Medical Marijuana Law in Maryland

Medical marijuana law in Maryland was first put into place in 2014 in the form of House Bill 881. It required patients to get written certification from a licensed doctor and register with the Maryland state program. Patients with a valid medical marijuana prescription can possess up to 120 grams of marijuana at a time without an exception from a doctor. Medical cannabis can legally be vaporized or used in tinctures, lotions, extracts or ointments.

What conditions are eligible to receive a medical marijuana prescription?

  • Anorexia
  • Wasting Syndrome
  • Glaucoma
  • PTSD
  • Seizures
  • Severe or Chronic Pain
  • Severe Nausea
  • Severe Loss of Appetite
  • Severe Muscle Spasms
  • Any severe condition where other medical treatments have not been effective

Recreational Marijuana in Maryland

While marijuana law in Maryland states that marijuana is still illegal, the state has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Senate Bill 364, passed in 2014, made possessing under 10 grams of recreational marijuana for personal use a civil offense that has a maximum fine of $100 and no jail time. If you possess more than that, you could face a misdemeanor or a felony (over 50 lbs.) depending on how much marijuana is on your person.

What About CBD Products?

In the United States, hemp-derived CBD products like creams, lotions and gummies are all legal under federal law. In most cases, CBD products do not contain THC, which is the ingredient in marijuana that makes you feel “high.” As a result, you can feel safe purchasing and consuming the currently popular CBD products for sale in the state. 

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Marijuana Law in Maryland

If you are concerned about a past marijuana conviction or uncertain whether or not you will face a penalty for possession of marijuana, you need an experienced lawyer. A serious marijuana conviction can lead to steep fines and even jail time, which is why we fight so hard on behalf of all of our clients.

If you are searching for the right 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.

Second DUI in Maryland

What Happens If You Get a Second DUI in Maryland?

It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in every state, and Maryland is no different. There are serious penalties if you get one DUI charge, but if you get a second DUI in Maryland, the penalties can increase significantly. What happens if you get a second DUI in Maryland, and how can you enlist experienced legal help?

The Look-Back Period

First, you should know that Maryland has a “look-back period” that it uses when determining penalties for a DUI. The look-back period is the time between your first and second DUI in Maryland, and it will be used to increase or decrease the penalty that you receive. If you have another DUI within five years of your first, the penalties will increase. If you took probation before judgment (PBJ), you can only have one every ten years, so you could also be ineligible from that avenue of dealing with your DUI.

What Happens After Your Second DUI in Maryland?

When you get a second DUI in Maryland, the state can use subsequent offender penalties to increase the consequences you will face. The maximum penalty you can receive for a second DUI is a $2,000 fine, up to two years in jail and a one-year suspension of your license. With the help of a lawyer, you can present the best case possible and reduce the likelihood that you will have the maximum penalties.

If you have a conviction for DUI, there will be points on your driver’s license and the conviction on your record. If your license is suspended, you will not be able to receive a work permit in Maryland for five years, as the state does not give permits to those with prior alcohol convictions or license suspensions within the past five years.

Why You Need a DUI Attorney in Maryland

After your second DUI in Maryland, you are at a dramatically increased risk of experiencing serious penalties. Prosecutors will have increased interest in your case, which is sometimes not the case with first-time offenders. We encourage you to reach out to an experienced DUI attorney, like the team at Mobley and Brown, LLP, to prepare the strongest case possible.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Be Your DUI Attorney in Maryland

If you are searching for the right DUI 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.