Frank Benvenuto   -    Criminal Defense Attorney

Experience - It makes all the difference

Defense Law

Common Offenses – Ocean City & Salisbury, Md.

Ocean City, MD – Common Offenses

We see many of the same charges levied against clients over and over again. Drug charges are discussed in a separate section, but in the Ocean City and Salisbury areas we often see these common offenses charged:

Affray

The crime of Affray is a holdover from the English Common Law system, (originally adopted in Maryland’s early colonial days) which has never been revised, amended or repealed and is therefore still valid Md. law. The crime of Affray is essentially the fighting of two or more persons in some public place to the disturbance of others (the Public). It is possible that if you find yourself at a bar, house party, or just on a street corner and a fight breaks out that you get caught up or involved in, you could be charged with the crime of Affray. Since Affray is a common law crime without any statutory limitations, the maximum possible penalty for affray is any sentence that is not cruel nor unusual.

young woman arrest

Assault

Any willful attempt or threat to inflict injury upon the person of another, when coupled with an apparent present ability so to do, and any intentional display of force such as would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm, constitutes an assault. Assault may be committed without actually touching , striking or doing any actual bodily harm. Essentially, assault is an intentional offensive contact, attempt to contact or threat of contact that places that person in fear of immediate bodily harm.

First Degree Assault

A first degree assault is intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious physical injury to another or the use of a firearm in an assault. “Serious physical injury” means injury that the assault creates a substantial risk of death or causes permanent or protracted, serious disfigurement, loss of the function of any bodily member or organ, or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

A person who violates this section is guilty of the felony of assault in the first degree and upon conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 20 years.

Second Degree Assault

Second degree assault is not as serious as first degree assault and is intentionally causing or attempting to cause (such as a swing and a miss) physical injury. “Physical injury” in this case means any impairment of physical condition, excluding minor injuries.

In Maryland, a person who commits second degree assault is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be subject to imprisonment not to exceed 10 years, or a fine not to exceed $2500 or both.

However – additionally a person convicted of second degree assault on a police officer in the performance of his/her official duties is guilty of a felony and subject to imprisonment for up to 10 years, or a fine of up to $5000, or both.

You should also know – In most jurisdictions the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the length of possible incarceration. Usually if you could receive a sentence of less than one year incarceration, then the crime is considered a misdemeanor; if you could receive a maximum sentence greater than one year, the crime is considered a felony. Not so in Maryland. In Md. you can receive up to 10 years for a second degree assault conviction yet it is still considered a misdemeanor, unless the assault was committed upon a law enforcement officer, in which case it is automatically considered a felony.

Breaking and Entering & Burglary

In Maryland Breaking and entering is the crime of entering a residence or other enclosed property without authorization and some element of force. If there is intent to commit a crime, this is burglary. Without intent to commit a crime, breaking and entering by itself usually carries a charge of 4th degree burglary, which is essentially criminal trespassing. There are cases of minors committing breaking and entering in recreational pursuits, unaware of the legal consequences of their offense. In many states, a minor can be charged and subject to serious penalties, including institutionalization, under a state’s juvenile offender laws covering offenses such as breaking and entering. This charge may also have a lasting effect on employment and other opportunities in adulthood.

Burglary

Burglary is the criminal offense of breaking and entering any dwelling or building illegally with the intent to commit a felony or crime. In order to constitute the offense the illegal entry should be into the dwelling of another at night. Burglary laws vary by state. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, it can be classified into different degrees. Degrees of burglary are defined by each state’s laws. In Maryland, Fourth degree burglary requires no intent. It is essentially criminal trespassing, without permission.

Burglary in the First degree is governed by Section 6-202 of the Criminal Law Articles of the Annotated Codes of Maryland. 1st degree Burglary - A person may not break and enter a dwelling of another with the intent to commit theft or a crime of violence.

Penalty- A person who violates this section is guilty of the felony of burglary in the first degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 20 years.

In order to be convicted of First degree Burglary, the State must prove:

  • That there was a breaking;
  • That there was an entering;
  • That the breaking and entry was into someone else’s dwelling;
  • That it was done with the intent to commit (insert “theft” and/or the particular “crime of violence”) therein; and
  • That the defendant was the person who committed the act.

Burglary in the Second degree is governed by Section 6-203 of the Criminal Law Articles of the Annotated Codes of Maryland. 2nd degree burglary- breaking and entering with intent to commit theft, violence, or arson.

A person may not break and enter the storehouse of another with the intent to commit theft, a crime of violence, or arson in the second degree.

Breaking and entering with the intent to steal firearm. A person may not break and enter the storehouse with the intent to steal, take, or carry away a firearm.

Penalty- a person who violates this section is guilty of the felony of burglary in the second degree and on conviction is subject to: For a violation of subsection a. of this section, imprisonment not to exceed 15 years, and for violation of subsection b. of this section, imprisonment not exceeding 20 years or a fine not exceeding $10,000 or both.

In order to be convicted of Second degree Burglary, the State must prove:

  • That there was a breaking;
  • That there was an entering;
  • That the breaking and entry was into someone else’s building;
  • That it was done with the intent to commit (insert “theft” and/or the particular “crime of violence” and/or arson in the second degree”); and
  • That the defendant was the person who committed the act.

Burglary in the Third degree is governed by Section 6-204 of the Criminal Law Articles of the Annotated Codes of Maryland. 3rd degree burglary- A person may not break or enter the dwelling of another with intent to commit a crime.

Penalty- a person who violates this section is guilty of the felon of burglary in the third degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.

In order to be convicted of Third degree Burglary, the State must prove:

  • That there was a breaking
  • That there was an entering
  • That the breaking and entry was into someone else’s dwelling
  • That it was done with the intent to commit a crime inside; and
  • That the defendant was the person who committed the act.

Burglary in the Fourth degree is governed by Section 6-205 of the Criminal Law Articles of the Annotated Codes of Maryland. 4th degree burglary-

(Breaking and entering of a dwelling)- A person may not break and enter the dwelling of another.

(Breaking and entering storehouse)- A person may not break and enter the storehouse of another.

(Being in or on dwelling, storehouse, or environs)- A person, with the intent to commit theft, may not be in or on the dwelling or storehouse of another; or a yard, garden, or are belonging to the dwelling or storehouse of another.

Penalty- A person who violates this section is guilty of the misdemeanor of burglary in the fourth degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years.

In order to be convicted of Fourth degree Burglary, the State must prove:

  • That there was a breaking;
  • That there was an entering;
  • That the breaking and entry was into someone else’s dwelling;
  • That the defendant was the person who committed the act; and
  • That the defendant did not honestly and reasonably believe that he/she had the right or invitation to enter the premise.

Rogue and Vagabond – (Possession of burglary tool) – A person may not possess a burglar’s tool with the intent to use or allow the use of the burglar’s tool in the commission of a violation of this subtitle. Rogue and Vagabond is governed by section 6-205 (d) and section 6-206 (a) of the Criminal Law Articles of the Annotated codes of Maryland.

Reckless Endangerment

Defined as engaging in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another; or discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle in a manner that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another.

Penalty.- A person who violates this section is guilty of the misdemeanor of reckless endangerment and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.

Disorderly Conduct

In Maryland the crime of disorderly conduct is governed by Sect 10-201 of the Annotated Codes of Maryland. What you should be aware of is that in Maryland there are essentially six prongs by which you can be found guilty of the crime of Disorderly Conduct which carries the possibility of up to a 60 day jail term and a fine of $500 or both.

  • First prong: A person may not willfully and without lawful purpose obstruct or hinder the free passage of another in a public place on a public conveyance.
  • Second prong: A person may not willfully act in a disorderly manner that disturbs the public peace.
  • Third prong: A person my not willfully fail to obey a reasonable and lawful order that a law enforcement officer makes to prevent a disturbance of the public peace.
  • Fourth prong: A person who enters the land or premises of another, whether an owner or lessee, on a beach adjacent to the residential riparian property may not willfully:
    • Disturb the peace of persons on the land, premises, or beach by making an unreasonable loud noise; or
    • Act in a disorderly manner
  • Fifth prong: a person from any location may not, by making an unreasonably loud noise, willfully disturb the peace of another:
    • On the other’s land or premises
    • In a public place; or
    • On a public conveyance
  • Sixth Prong: (local to Worcester County) A person may not build a bonfire or allow a bonfire to burn on a beach on others property between 1 am and 5am.

The gist of the crime of disorderly conduct, as it was in the cases of common law predecessor crimes, is the doing or saying, or both, of that which offends, disturbs, incites, or tends to incite, a number of people gathered in the same area. In other words, it is conduct of such a nature as to affect the peace and quiet of a person actually present who may witness the conduct or hear the language and who may be disturbed or provoked to resentment thereby. Nevertheless, the statute, in either its “doing” or “saying” prescriptions, may not punish acts or spoken words, although vulgar and offensive, which are protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Implicit [from the words of the statute] is the prohibition against a person willfully acting in a disorderly manner by making loud and unseemly noises or by profanely cursing, swearing or using obscene language. (Citations omitted). Reese v. State, 17 Md App. 73, 80 (1973). Dziekonski v. State, 127 Md, App. 191, 200-201 (1999). Matter of Nawrocki, 15 Md App. 252,257-58 (1972).

Many young adults run afoul of the Disorderly Conduct Statute because it encompasses many forms of behavior. This is a criminal charge and it should be taken seriously. No one wants a criminal record especially an employer.

Cigarette Trafficking

In the state of Maryland it is illegal to transport untaxed cigarettes through the state of Maryland. Even though you purchased the cigarettes in Virginia (for example), and the cigarette packaging bears a state of Virginia stamp, Maryland does not recognize the Virginia stamp.

Section 12-305 Tax Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland states:

  • Possession or sale of unstamped cigarettes. — Unless otherwise authorized under this title, a person may not possess, sell, or attempt to sell unstamped cigarettes in the State.
  • False tax stamps. — A person may not make, cause to be made, or procure an altered or counterfeited tax stamp.
  • Use or possession of false tax stamps. — A person may not knowingly or willfully use, transfer, or possess an altered or counterfeited tax stamp.

Section 13-1014 Willful possession, sale, or offer to sell unstamped or improperly stamped cigarettes Offense; penalties — In general. —

  • A person who willfully possesses, sells, or attempts to sell unstamped or improperly stamped cigarettes in the State in violation of Title 12 of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor.
  • If the number of unstamped or improperly stamped cigarettes that a person possesses, sells, or attempts to sell is 30 cartons or less, the person on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $ 500 or imprisonment not exceeding 3 months or both.
  • If the number of unstamped or improperly stamped cigarettes that a person possesses, sells, or attempts to sell is more than 30 cartons, the person on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or both.

Other tobacco products. — A person who willfully possesses, sells, or attempts to sell other tobacco products on which the tobacco tax has not been paid in the State in violation of Title 12 of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $ 500 or imprisonment not exceeding 3 months or both.

Separate offenses. — Each day that a violation under this section continues constitutes a separate offense.

I am a local Ocean City attorney with over 22 years of criminal trial experience. Let me help you so that you don’t end up with a record for the crime of Affray, Assault, B&E, Burglary, Reckless Endangerment, Disorderly Conduct or Cigarette Trafficking

Contact Frank Benvenuto, Criminal Defense Attorney for help defending yourself from these Common Offense charges. Call NOW 410-641-2999

Read what my former clients have to say about me

Can I help with your Problem?

Call Now! Let's talk about it.
410 641-2999

...or submit an email form using the button below.

Contact Us

see what former clients say about me

Testimonials
Contact Information
  • Frank Benvenuto, P.A. Attorney at Law
  • 10031 Old Ocean City Boulevard
  • Suite 108
  • Berlin, MD 21811
  • Phone: 410-641-2999
  • After Hours Emergency: 443-783-2451
  • Fax: 410-641-0853

Serving Maryland's Lower Shore

Berlin Office
Berlin Map
  • Atlantic Business Center
  • 10031 Old Ocean City Boulevard
  • Suite 108
  • Berlin, MD 21811
  • Phone: 410-641-2999
Salisbury Office
Salisbury Map
  • 109 Camden Street
  • Salisbury, MD 21804/li>
  • Phone: 443-783-2451
Ocean City Office
Ocean City Map
  • 12930 Center Drive
  • West Ocean City, MD 21842
  • Phone: 443-783-2451

Frank Benvenuto, P.A. Attorney at Law in Ocean City, Maryland, defends individual rights in Salisbury, Snow Hill and West Ocean City as well as other cities within Worcester County, Wicomico County, Somerset County, Dorchester County and Talbot County and other Eastern Shore communities.
Well versed in helping absentee clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and other areas.

© 2012-2017 Frank Benvenuto P.A.       All rights reserved