Ocean City, Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney
When facing a complicated legal matter, you need a high caliber attorney on your side who will take swift action to protect your rights and be committed to achieving a favorable outcome on your behalf. Whether you’ve been accused of committing a crime, are seeking a reduction in sentencing for a drug crime under the Justice Reinvestment Act, or want to begin the process of estate planning, you’ve come to the right place. Attorney Richard Brueckner has spent over a decade providing trustworthy and results-oriented representation for clients in Ocean City and throughout Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
“For the average person, dealing with any legal issue can be stressful and overwhelming. My job as your lawyer is to advise you about the best way to proceed based on my knowledge and experience. I will listen to your concerns and fears and work with you to find a customized solution that fits your needs. You can expect to be treated with the utmost dignity, professionalism, and respect and be kept informed about the status of your case as it unfolds.”
CRIMINAL DEFENSE: Being accused of a crime can change your life in an instant. The criminal justice system imposes harsh punishments for breaking the law, and depending on what charges you’re facing, your freedom, reputation, and future could all be in jeopardy. Attorney Richard Brueckner is prepared to immediately step in and fiercely defend and advocate on your behalf at every stage of the criminal process. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Brueckner has amassed a successful track record, winning more than 80 jury trials and delivering successful outcomes in thousands of other cases ranging from drug charges, drunk driving offenses, weapons charges and more. He is well-versed in every aspect of defense work and leverages his extensive resources, knowledge, and familiarity with local prosecutors, judges, and courthouse personnel to pursue a dismissal of charges or reduction in sentence.
JUSTICE REINVESTMENT ACT: In April 2016, both houses of the Maryland General Assembly passed the Justice Reinvestment Act, a piece of legislation aimed at reducing long-term incarceration for drug-related crimes and reinvesting those savings in treatment alternatives. Reforms include eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for most drug offenses, lowering penalties for drug possession, and allowing existing offenders to apply for re-sentencing.
ESTATE PLANNING: It’s never too soon to put plans in place to deal with your eventual death or potentia incapacity. As difficult as it may be to address these topics, there’s nothing more important than planning for your financial future and health care, as well as the financial security of your loved ones after you’re gone. Attorney Brueckner handles these matters with great sensitivity and will help you create an estate plan that protects your legacy and builds and preserves your wealth for you and your heirs. We are prolific in preparing all of the necessary estate planning documents, some of which may include a will, trust, power of attorney, advance health care directives.
AGGRESSIVE CRIMINAL DEFENSE IN OCEAN CITY
If you or someone you love is being investigated for involvement in criminal activity, or have already been arrested and/or charged in Ocean City or anywhere else on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, call the Law Office of Richard J. Brueckner today to schedule a free initial consultation. Time is not on your side. Right now, law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office are gathering evidence to incriminate you. You need a tough, aggressive criminal defense attorney who can immediately begin the process of building an effective defense.
When you retain Mr. Brueckner, you can expect him to deliver on the following:
- Making sure the police respect your rights as they gather evidence, make an arrest, and question you.
- Reviewing the police report and investigating the timeline of events leading up to your arrest, paying close attention to whether law enforcement breached protocol or violated your constitutional rights in any way.
- Identifying faults or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case which can be exploited to create reasonable doubt and used as leverage to dismiss your case or negotiate a plea deal.
- Minimizing adverse consequences by suggesting alternative sentencing in lieu of incarceration and other harsh punishment
The Law Office of Richard Brueckner defends against a variety of misdemeanor and felony crimes in both state and federal courts. Criminal offenses are listed in the Maryland Criminal Code and divided into the following categories:
Title 2: Homicide
Title 3: Other Crimes Against People
- Sexual crimes (indecent liberties with a child, rape and sexual abuse)
- Stalking and harassment
Title 4: Weapon Offenses
- Carrying an unlicensed or concealed handgun,
- Felon in possession of a firearm
- Illegal discharge of a firearm and armed assault
Title 5: Drug Crimes
- Possession of illegal drugs or unauthorized prescription drugs
- Possessing illegal drugs, narcotics or controlled substances with the intention of selling or distributing them
- Drug manufacturing, cultivation of marijuana
- Drug trafficking
Title 6: Crimes Against Property
Title 7: Theft
Title 8: Fraud
Title 11: Obscenity or Indecency
- Adult sexual displays
Title 21: Vehicle Crimes
- Driving While under the Influence of Alcohol, Driving While under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se, Driving While Impaired
PENALTIES FOR MARYLAND CRIMES
A criminal conviction can have a life-altering effect on every aspect of your life. Here are just a few of the potential consequences you may face:
- Jail or prison sentence
- Home Detention
- Pay fines and court costs
- Probation or parole
- Participation in programs established by the State Department of Corrections
- Required counseling for alcohol, drugs, and anger management
- A restraining order or order of protection
- Suspension or revocation of driver’s license
- A criminal record, which can impact employment, student loan opportunities, and eligibility for federal benefits.
AGGRAVATING FACTORS THAT CAN ENHANCE PUNISHMENT
There are certain factors that can elevate a misdemeanor to a felony or justify a stiffer punishment, some of which may include:
- an existing criminal record
- the use or possession of a weapon
- the use of physical contact or violence
- the commission of a crime against (or in the presence of) a child
KNOW YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
- You have the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty
- You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to say anything to law enforcement officers at any time during your arrest or subsequent questioning.
- You have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion and probable cause to believe a crime was committed before they search you, your vehicle, or your home.
- You have the right to reasonable bail. No judge can set a bail that does not fit the crime for which you have been arrested.
- You have the right to due process or a fair and impartial trial by jury.
MISDEMEANORS IN DISTRICT COURT
Crimes in Maryland are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. A misdemeanor is a minor criminal offense punishable by up to 18 months in county jail, although there are some misdemeanors that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Examples of misdemeanors include:
- Theft under $100
- Minor drug charges
- Second-degree assault
- Destruction of private or public property
If you are charged with a misdemeanor your case will be heard at the District Court building located on 65th Street in Ocean City. There is no right to a jury trial in the District Courts; all trials are heard by a judge.
FELONIES IN CIRCUIT COURT
The most serious felony cases are heard by the Circuit Court located in Snow Hill, the county seat for Worcester County. Felonies carry harsh penalties including prison time, fines, and the loss of several civil rights such as the right to vote, join the armed forces, or hold public office.
Examples of felonies include:
- Robbery, armed robbery, and carjacking
- Sexual assault
- Drug possession with intent to sell
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER AN ARREST IN OCEAN CITY?
- Ocean City Arrest: If Ocean City law enforcement has reasonable suspicion to believe you committed acrime, they can either issue a criminal citation ordering you to appear at a preliminary inquiry or pre-trial hearing at a future date or physically arrest you and take you into custody. If arrested, you will be transported to the Ocean City police department located in the Public Safety Building on 65th Street. There, you will be booked and processed, have your picture taken and be fingerprinted. The police may ask you questions about the alleged crime. It is important to invoke your right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you. Politely tell the officer that you do not wish to answer any questions until you have a lawyer present.
- Ocean City Criminal Booking Process: Once the booking process is completed, the police will bring you before a district court commissioner who will determine if probable cause exists to charge you. The commissioner will also decide whether you should be released on your own recognizance or need to post bail. If the commissioner sets a bail/bond, then you have the option of posting that bail/bond at that time. If you cannot afford bail, you will be transported to the local detention center to await a bail review hearing. Bail review hearings usually take place the day after an arrest, unless you were arrested on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday in which case the hearing will occur the following Monday.
- Bail Hearing: Criminal defense attorney Richard Brueckner can represent you at this bail hearing and can argue why bail should be lowered or eliminated. The judge will consider a variety of factors before making a decision including the seriousness of the alleged crime, your ties with the community, any prior criminal history, and whether you are considered a threat or flight risk.
- Criminal Charges: If you are charged with a felony, you have the right to request a preliminary hearing within 10 days of your first hearing with the commissioner. This hearing will be held in the District Court to determine if probable cause exists to charge you with the crime you’ve been accused of and move your case forward to the Circuit Court. At the preliminary hearing, the State will present the evidence against you as well as any witnesses. Attorney Brueckner will have the opportunity during this hearing to cross-examine the evidence and witnesses.
The Maryland DUI & DWI Attorney
FACING DRUNK DRIVING CHARGES?
Drunk driving is one of the most common crimes committed on the Maryland Eastern Shore. The party atmosphere in Ocean City, especially during the summer months contributes to the high incidence of these DUI/DWI arrests. Whether you are a local or a tourist, it’s important to have an Ocean City criminal defense lawyer represent you when fighting drunk driving charges.
If you reside outside of Maryland and failed to appear in court, chances are there is an active warrant out for your arrest in the state where you currently live. Your local law enforcement has the authority to arrest you and hold you on bail or extradite you back to Ocean City. Attorney Richard J. Brueckner will make an effort to have the warrant against you re-called and get your case set for trial. If, however, a judge will not recall the warrant, Mr. Brueckner can make arrangements for you to get in touch with an Ocean City bail bondsman so that you can come back, turn yourself in, and post bail.
A DUI/DWI case in Maryland will trigger two separate proceedings — a criminal proceeding before the court where you will face possible jail time, probation, and fines, and an administrative hearing before the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) where you will face the potential suspension of your driver’s license, and the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DUI AND DWI IN MARYLAND
If you were drunk driving in Maryland, you will either be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI). The distinction between the two is really a matter of degree. A DUI is more serious than a DWI and is charged when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at a level of 0.08% or higher. A DWI is charged when you BAC is between 0.07 and 0.08 percent.
In order to prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol, the state would have to show that alcohol had substantially impaired your normal coordination. They will attempt to do this by referencing your BAC results, performance on field sobriety tests, and your appearance (red eyes) and/or behavior (slurred speech) at the time of arrest.
Your criminal hearing for DUI will most likely occur at One West Market Street, Snow Hill, Maryland 21863.
- up to one year in jail
- 120 day license suspension
- $1000 fine
- 12 points on your Maryland license
- up to 60 days in jail
- $500 fine
- 8 points on Maryland license
FIGHTING A DUI/DWI CHARGE
Even if you blew above the legal limit and feel as if the evidence against you is overwhelming, all may not be lost. Attorney Brueckner has many ways to attack DUI/DWI charges against you, one of which may prove to be a winning defense strategy in your case.
- No Probable Cause to Arrest: A police officer can only arrest you if there is reasonable suspicion to believe that a traffic violation has occurred or a crime has been committed. Attorney Brueckner will review the police report to make sure the officer had a valid reason to stop your vehicle.
- Illegal Search: The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police officer asks if they can conduct a search you have the right to refuse. The only way they can proceed with a search is if they have a search warrant or probable cause to believe a crime was committed. If your constitutional rights were violated, any evidence found would be inadmissible in court.
- Field Sobriety Test Improperly Administered: Field sobriety tests are designed to make you fail and are notoriously known for being scientifically unreliable. Some people can’t even stand on one leg sober! There are a variety of factors that can adversely impact your performance on these tests — a medical condition or injury, weather conditions, cracked pavement, etc. It’s also possible that the police officer did not properly administer these tests. Any deviation in the protocol can render the results inadmissible in court. We will review the police dash cam video if available to see if the officer acted in accordance with the rules set forth by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- Observation Period Performed Incorrectly: Maryland requires cops to observe a driver for 20 minutes before administering a breath test. This is to make sure that any mouth alcohol has time to dissipate. Alcohol can get trapped in the mouth if you recently ate, have dentures, cavities, retainers, or were chewing gum or tobacco. If a police officer makes you blow into a machine without waiting 20 minutes and you have burped, hiccuped or vomited, we may be able to argue that mouth alcohol residue was still in your mouth and as a result, contaminated the breath sample.
- Breathalyzer Improperly Administered: Breath test machines have very specific protocols which must be followed as a result to be valid. If an officer improperly administers or calibrated the machine, your BAC reading was more than likely affected.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY DRIVER’S LICENSE?
At the time of your DUI/DWI arrest, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended and the arresting officer will issue you a temporary license, called a DR-15A. This temporary license is only good for 45 days. To contest the suspension, you must request an administrative hearing with the Motor Vehicle Administration within 15 days of your arrest. Attorney Richard Brueckner can represent you at the MVA Hearing, which will take place at 65th Street and Coastal Highway Ocean City, Maryland 21842.
When your future is on the line, you owe it to yourself to get the best defense possible of your case. You owe it to yourself to call criminal defense lawyer Richard Brueckner today!!