Criminal Law

Criminal Law

Drug-Related Driving Deaths Higher than Drunk Driving Deaths

- Lotze Mosley

When we hear about DUI charges – Driving Under the Influence – our minds often immediately go to the influence of alcohol. We might assume all DUI crimes involve alcohol, but the truth is that drugs can also cause a driver to be “under the influence.”

Higher Death Toll for Drugged Driving

The Governors Highway Safety Association recently conducted a study showing that drugs were more prevalent than alcohol found in the systems of drivers who were killed in motor vehicle accidents. Out of the drivers killed in car crashes, 44 percent were found to have had legal or illegal drugs in their systems. On the other hand, 37 percent of these drivers had consumed alcohol above the legal limit.

The drug most commonly found in these drivers’ systems was marijuana, but opioids were also frequently found.

A Dangerous Combination

The Governors Highway Safety Association is unsurprisingly concerned with this rise of driving under the influence of drugs. “The fact that we are finding drugs in these systems more than alcohol is really raising some alarm bells,” said spokesperson Kara Macek.

The Association seeks to spread the message that driving after drug use is dangerous.

DWI enforcement squads around the Washington D.C. area frequently pull over drivers who are later determined to be impaired due to drug use.

The Importance of Expert Advice

It is never a good idea to get behind a wheel if you are intoxicated from alcohol or drugs – whether legal or illegal. However, mistakes happen in life and people find themselves in unfortunate circumstances all the time. If you have been charged with a DUI in the Washington, D.C. area, it is important to contact an experienced local lawyer to represent you in your case as soon as possible.

It is vital to make this appointment as quickly as possible so your attorney can review your case, gather facts, and interview potential witnesses before memories of the incident might have lapsed. Your lawyer can also help you contest any DMV infractions you may be facing.

Our expert criminal defense team at Lotze Mosley, LLP have the skills and experience you need to help you fight for justice on your DUI charge. We will help you to understand your case, and work as a team to figure out the best plan of action. We invite you to call us today to schedule a free consultation to evaluate your case and start to build a strong defense. Contact Lotze Mosley, LLP at (202) 393-0535.

Corrupt Crime Lab Chemist Causes Erasing of Thousands of Convictions

- Lotze Mosley

A recent ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court has disavowed thousands of drug convictions dating back to 2003. This follows Annie Dookhan, a former Massachusetts lab chemist, admitting to falsifying drug test results and tampering with samples – corruption that sent tens of thousands of people to jail.

Her confession took place five years ago, but just last month Massachusetts prosecutors finally overturned a list of 21,587 tainted cases that were touched by Dookhan during this scandal. These prosecutors have agreed to overturn the flawed convictions but the highest court of the state still must formally dismiss them.

Illegitimate Convictions

Consequences for drug convictions range wider than simply prison time or legal fees – there are many collateral consequences that result from a drug conviction as well. These can include a loss of access to public housing and other government benefits, removal of driver’s licenses, loss of federal financial aid for college, and an increased risk of deportation.

Additionally, potential employers often deny a job applicant employment because of a drug conviction on their record.

Since Dookhan’s tainted cases date back to 2003, many people have been living with the collateral consequences of their flawed drug convictions for almost 15 years. Hopefully these thousands of people whose lives have been negatively impacted by corruption and incompetence can soon begin to receive the justice they were owed long ago.

Fighting for Justice

If you have been charged with a drug crime, you need an experienced legal team to fight for you. The type of gross misconduct exhibited by the lab technician in Massachusetts is somewhat rare, but it is not unheard of by any means for police and prosecutors to violate the rights of defendants.

Obviously, a tainted drug test cannot be used against you in a court of law, and your lawyer should be someone who is trained to spot police and prosecutor misconduct as they build your defense. It may not be something as flagrant as a lab technician making up fake test results, but, for example, if the police fail to follow the proper chain of custody for evidence, drug evidence can be thrown out.

In order to represent in you in court and to help fight for your rights, it is crucial for you to have skilled attorneys on your side. We welcome your call today at Lotze Mosley LLP at (202) 393-0535 for your free consultation in which we will help you evaluate your criminal case and make a strong plan together.

Security Guard Charged with Sexual Abuse

- Lotze Mosley

A security guard employed at a Maryland high school was arrested earlier this month on sexual abuse charges after he allegedly entered into a sexual relationship with a student.

The accused, who has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, allegedly gave the student gifts that included a cell phone, which he used to communicate with her during and after school.

The victim, after allegedly being taken to a hotel by the accused, reported the incident to police.

Sex Crimes Defense

When someone is charged with a crime of a sexual nature, that can refer to misdemeanor or first-degree misconduct, including actions involving a deadly weapon. Such crimes have been known to include:

  • Pandering or pimping
  • Prostitution
  • Statutory Rape
  • Child pornography
  • Indecent exposure

Depending on where you are charged, the penalties for these crimes can be severe. The District of Columbia is one such jurisdiction. In cases where there are no aggravating circumstances, those charged and convicted of sex crimes in the first degree face a maximum penalty of no more than 30 years in prison. Unarmed second-degree abuse carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and those convicted of third and fourth degree charges face maximum sentences of 10 and five years, respectively.

There are also maximum sentences for misdemeanor sexual abuse in Washington, D.C. Depending on the severity of the charges, a maximum penalty of 180 days imprisonment may be ordered.

Those convicted of sex crimes are also required to register as sex offenders. The length of registration depends on the nature of the crime – though some may only be ordered to register for a few years, others may be required to register for life.

Because many cases involving these types of offenses often boil down to one party’s word against the other’s, it is important to retain legal representation that can thoroughly investigate your case and develop a strong legal defense.

Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal defense charges, the legal team at Lotze Mosley, LLP can provide the help you need. Our team of compassionate, dedicated attorneys specializes in defending against criminal charges, including those involving crimes of a sexual nature. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience in this legal arena and can work with you, regardless of the situation, to devise a legal strategy that yields the best possible results.

At Lotze Mosely we provide the legal wisdom and moral support that you are looking for during this difficult time. To get started, we invite you to call our law office today at (202) 393-0535 to schedule a free initial consultation to assess your case.

DC Police Pursuing Gun Crime Leads

- Lotze Mosley

With gun crimes reportedly on the rise in Washington and Baltimore, D.C.., the Metropolitan Police Department has stepped up their efforts to seize illegal guns and get them off the streets. Just recently, police said that they have recovered 17 illegal firearms, mostly handguns, in the District of Columbia.

The handguns were recovered through the concerted effort of the police department’s Gun Recovery Unit, Criminal Interdiction Unit, and Crime Suppression Teams. In its website, the police department said that they welcome any information regarding illegal firearms, including anonymous tips that may be submitted through the department’s test messaging line.

Gun Crime Laws in D.C.

D.C. has some of the strictest gun laws in the U.S. Under DC laws, one must possess all the qualifications to possess a firearm and must register their firearm with the police department. The police department has determined the types of firearms that may be registered. DC Official Code §7-2502.08 further requires a registered owner to carry a copy of their gun registration with them and to present them upon demand by a law enforcer.

When transporting a registered firearm, the law also requires the owner to ensure that the gun is unloaded and kept inside a locked container.

Charged with Gun Crime in D.C.

The D.C. police department currently offers a monetary reward for information leading to the arrest of gun law violators. Apprehensions for alleged gun crime violations ordinarily result from searches, with or without a warrant. If you are caught in possession of an unregistered firearm, you can be arrested and charged with gun crime law violations that are punishable by jail time and hefty fines.

Considering the D.C. police’s aggressive pursuit of illegal firearms, it’s important to consult an experienced D.C. gun lawyer immediately to begin building your gun crime defense.

D.C. gun crime laws are circuitous and complicated. In D.C., a defendant may be eligible for a diversion of the gun charges which may be disposed without conviction. Another option is to negotiate for the reduction of a felony charge to a misdemeanor which can pave the way for a probationary sentence.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you through the complex legal process and obtain either a dismissal or a reduction of the gun charge against you.

At Lotze Mosley, LLP, our Maryland and Washington criminal trial lawyers will fight for your right to possess a firearm and defend you from gun charges. We invite you to call us today for advice with your gun crime charge at (202) 393-0535.

Importance of Criminal Defense for Immigrants in D.C.

- Lotze Mosley

U.S. immigrants face tougher regulations this year as the latest immigration regulations instruct immigration and customs agents to prioritize the deportation of illegal immigrants with criminal records or those accused of criminal offenses. The rules do not distinguish between a misdemeanor or felony conviction, making it possible for immigration officers to deport anyone convicted of minor infractions such as driving without a valid driver’s license.

Enforcement of Immigration Laws 2017

The Homeland Security memo entitled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest” was issued on February 20, 2017. It contains specific instructions to deport illegal aliens who:

  • Have been charged with any criminal offense
  • Have been convicted of any criminal offense
  • Have engaged in fraud or wilful misrepresentation before a government agency
  • Have committed any act that may be charged as a criminal offense

Reported ICE Arrests

Following the issuance of the new immigration regulations, hundreds of people allegedly criminal undocumented immigrants were arrested in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids throughout the country, including D.C. Thousands of arrests are expected to take place in the succeeding weeks as the government has already announced its plans to recruit and deploy thousands of agents who will aggressively implement the new immigration regulations.

What to Do If Arrested

If you are an immigrant under investigation for any offense in Washington, D.C., it’s important to know your rights as an accused and to get the best criminal defense for your case.

Pleading guilty even for a minor offense may not always be your best option in light of the new immigration regulations. Anyone accused of committing a crime is entitled to raise criminal defenses in their favor.

Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately and discuss all your legal options before entering a plea and signing any document in connection with your charge. Your lawyer can examine all the angles of your situation and fight for your rights before the prosecutor and if necessary, in court.

In Washington, D.C., the criminal defense attorneys at Lotze Mosley, LLP have been defending clients against criminal charges since 1993. We understand the life-changing consequences of a criminal charge and are prepared to provide competent aggressive legal representation to defeat a charge at the earliest possible time. We have helped clients who were suspected or facing charges for gun crimes, violent crimes, drug crimes, fraud, and traffic offenses. Call us today at (202) 393-0535 and let us help you.

Spike in Drug Arrests Points to Unlawful Searches

- Lotze Mosley

Over the last year, there has been a 12% spike in roadside drug arrests, with Virginia seeing a 6% increase. Many defense attorneys question why the numbers have increased. For instance, were more drugs being trafficked in this area or was something different occurring? In particular, were the police perhaps using illegal methods to stop vehicles and conduct drug searches?

According to law enforcement officials, there is a pattern to the movement of drugs throughout the Northeast, and police are relying upon this in searching for potential drug violations. Using K-9s, the officers are able to find small bags of drugs that would be undetectable to a human. Together, these practices are allowing the police to more efficiently locate drugs.

Officers Need a Legitimate Reason to Stop You

One of the interesting things about these stops is that officers are relying on information that was gathered from patterns of drug movements. The officers readily admit in news stories that they have identified patterns and they follow these patterns to make their drug enforcement more successful. This is interesting because an officer must have probable cause to stop any particular vehicle. If the officer only stopped the vehicle on a hunch or previous pattern, that stop will be found to be illegal.

Why Is This Important?

Because evidence found during an illegal search cannot be used against you in court. Only evidence from legal searches can be used against you. For example, if an officer wanted to search a vehicle, based on a hunch, but that person had not committed a crime, then the stop would be illegal. But if the officer stopped a person because he had committed a crime, such as speeding, then the stop would be lawful.

After determining whether the stop was lawful, the next question would be whether the person was detained unlawfully. If the stop turned into an arrest without probable cause, then the search could be found unlawful for this second reason.

As you can see, there are many areas where a drug defense can present itself when an officer stops a vehicle.

In the Washington DC area, police have admitted to using patterns of practice to stop vehicles. This is the first key in establishing a pretextual stop. The second would be the facts of the particular case. If your case indicates that the police did not have a valid reason to stop you, in particular, then you may have been the victim of a pretextual stop.

In order to identify whether you were the victim of a pretextual stop, you should call us at (202) 393-0535 so that we can talk to you about your case and whether you have a strong legal argument to use as a defense to a drug crime.

In Seafood Fraud Cases, It May Be the DA Who Is Committing the Crime

- Lotze Mosley

In the last few weeks, an agency of the federal government finalized a rule that would require fisheries to establish filing and record keeping procedures regarding fish importation and fish products to protect against fraud. The goal of this law is to ensure that fish that are sold in the United States were lawfully acquired. The rule additionally hopes to clarify the types of fish being sold by documenting information regarding fish species and the locations where they were harvested. The focus of the program is to prevent fraud by sellers who are mislabeling their fish or who substitute one type of fish for another.

Fish Industry Files Suit Over Rule Change

In response to the federal government’s rule change, the fish industry has filed a lawsuit stating that the rule makes it too costly for companies who are already doing the right thing to comply with the regulation. According to the lawsuit, the rule would change the way that seafood is caught around the world, forcing fishermen, who are subsistence workers in third-world countries, to keep track of each fish that they catch as well as the collection point. This rule would force the subsistence fishermen out of their jobs and make it impossible for seafood companies to comply with the regulation.

This rule and the response to it highlight the difficulties with investigating and defending fraud cases. It is common, in these types of cases, for prosecutors to speculate about the intent of the people who are accused of committing fraud. For instance, a prosecutor, in a seafood fraud case may state that the defendant intended to sell a substituted fish and use the evidence of a substituted fish as his proof. Though this is circumstantial evidence, it is hardly the type of evidence that establishes the company’s state of mind.

The DA Will Attempt to Bend Evidence in His Favor

What prosecutors may attempt to do in these types of cases is to misstate the truth of the company’s actions to establish that their version is true. In other words, the prosecutor may be committing fraud to try to convict someone of fraud.

An Experienced Attorney is Essential to Establish the Truth

As a result, it is imperative for defense attorneys to be prepared to take the high-ground by establishing what the business actually does and how its actions do not, in fact, amount to fraud. In most fraud cases, the prosecutor’s case will be built upon speculation and misrepresentations about documents in order to bend the truth to their goals when the truth is that the company is trying its best and following best practices.

It is important to have an attorney who can cast doubt on such speculations and misrepresentations to help an individual who is facing fraud charges to win his case.

If you are facing fraud charges, the attorneys at Lotze Mosley would be happy to talk to you. Please call (202) 393-0535 to schedule a free consultation today.

Understanding Your Options in a DUI Case

- Lotze Mosley

A member of the County Council in Prince George’s County was recently charged with driving under the influence after rear-ending another vehicle. According to police reports, the Councilman, Mel Franklin, took a breath test and was found to have a blood-alcohol content of 0.10. The legal limit for a per se DUI charge is 0.08.

Types of Cases

When the police arrived on the scene, the councilman was found to be walking along the highway, approximately 70 yards from the car. Allegedly, he had left his car after hitting the other vehicle and began walking away from the scene. If you believe that Mr. Franklin is guilty, based on this information, you may want to talk to an experienced DUI attorney. Though this case appears to be open and closed, there are many details that may result in Mr. Franklin being found not guilty. It is only through a detailed analysis of a DUI case that we can begin to understand a person’s options in these types of cases and how they can be fought.

Understand Your Case Before Taking a Plea

You should always consult with your attorney to help you understand your options in a DUI case. Often, there will be multiple plea options and possibly diversion opportunities that your attorney can try to obtain on your behalf. These include things such as deferred sentence agreements for first offenses or pleas to reduced charges such as reckless driving.

Though deferred sentencing agreements are only offered in a few cases, they provide defendants with an excellent opportunity to resolve a case in a way that will allow the person to withdraw a conviction after completing alcohol treatment, thereby removing the conviction from his record.

Alternatively, because pleas to deferred sentences or reduced charges are rarely offered, they sometimes serve as a signal to a defense attorney that there is a problem with a particular case.

For example, an individual may be offered a breath test and have blown a 0.10 but, unknown to the defendant, the machine that was used to analyze the breath was faulty. As a result, the prosecutor knows that he has a bad case but may not have shared this information with the defendant. This problem can and does occur, but experienced attorneys know how to spot these types of issues and can protect you from entering into a plea bargain prematurely.

Though problems with breathalyzers are uncommon, I have used this example to highlight the importance of talking to a DUI defense attorney before taking a plea so that you understand your case and all of your options before locking yourself into a plea that you may regret.

Experienced attorneys know how to analyze cases and know where to look for potential problems in the prosecutor’s cases. By speaking with a DUI attorney, you gain insight into the DUI process and the potential places where the police may have made mistakes. If you have been charged with a DUI in Washington DC, Lotze Mosley can help you better understand your options. We offer free consultations and can be reached at (202) 393-0535.

Was It a Sex Crime or Was It Consensual?

- Lotze Mosley

Often, in cases involving sex crimes, the question of consent arises. In particular, when there is overwhelming evidence that a sexual act occurred between two people, the focus of a case tends to move away from the act and to the reasons for the act.

In Washington DC, there are some rules regarding the ability of a person to give consent. One of the most common places where consent is challenged involves the use of alcohol or drugs.

Intoxication Is a Factor in Determining Whether Someone Can Consent to a Sexual Act

According to the D.C. Criminal Code, if a person’s ability to control his or her conduct is substantially impaired by alcohol, then the person cannot legally consent. Additionally, a person who is incapable of expressing his or her unwillingness to engage in sexual conduct is considered to be unable to lawfully give consent. As a result, cases involving alcohol require the facts of the case to be carefully analyzed to determine whether the person was substantially impaired by alcohol. If it can be shown that the person was not “substantially” impaired, then consent would be a valid defense to the charge.

It is important to note that the District of Columbia will only consider consent invalid if the person is substantially impaired by alcohol. This is significantly different than other States where a single drop of alcohol may render a person incapable of consenting to sexual acts.

The issue of alcohol and consent has come to the forefront of a debate regarding sexual assault and sex crimes in general in recent cases involving college students from various Universities across America. The debate over the last few years has focused on college parties, sexual activity, and drinking. In particular, there was an athlete at the University of Virginia, who was accused of attending a party then sleeping with a woman who was intoxicated at the party.

One of the central problems with these types of sexual encounters is that the analysis of whether a person was too intoxicated to consent happens after the fact. Even when a person has said that he or she wants to have sex, they can later revisit the encounter if they have regrets. In other words, some people may try to take their consent back when they later regret the activity even if it is months or years after the fact.

Experienced Sex Crime Defense Attorney

Because of the perils that a defendant faces when accused of a sex crime, it is essential that he or she talk to an experienced sex crimes defense attorney. Though a defendant may think he is safe by saying he had consent, he should never embark upon this path without the guidance of an attorney who knows how to present a defense around consent. If you are facing a sexual crime, you should contact Lotze Mosley for a free consultation about your case at (202) 393-0535.

Your Miranda Rights When Facing a Violent Crime

- Lotze Mosley

Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court ruled on a landmark case about your rights during police interrogations. The case is known as Miranda v. Arizona, or simply Miranda. In that case, the Supreme Court sought to protect the rights of the accused when facing police questioning. In particular, it set out rules to allow individuals to request attorneys and to preserve their Constitutional right to remain silent.

Often in cases of violent crime, the police begin their investigations trying to talk to people who are suspected of committing the crime. In these situations, it is important to protect yourself by understanding your Miranda rights and insisting on having a lawyer.

Your Request for an Attorney Cannot Be Used Against You

Though you may believe that requesting a lawyer will make you look guilty, it is quite the opposite. Your request to have a lawyer cannot be used against you in a court of law. Your right to a lawyer is a protected Constitutional right. Thus, when you request a lawyer, the request can only be used to end questioning until you have a lawyer present who can protect you and help you preserve your innocence.

Second, if you make a statement to the police, that statement can be used against you in ways that you never intended. For example, the police may put words into your mouth while interrogating you or make you afraid. The police may lie to you to coerce a confession. All of these types of things can put you in a situation where attempts to tell the truth in the future will be believed to a lesser degree because of the prior statement. In other words, the prior statement will be used to question your believability and the truth of your statements.

Third, by requesting an attorney, you will put yourself in a better position because you will be able to rely on your attorney to handle the important parts of your defense. Rather than letting the police manipulate you, your attorney will be able to present the truth in the best possible light for you by highlighting the facts that support your innocence.

Many individuals unwittingly waive their Miranda rights. They may waive their rights because they feel pressure from the police or because they want to tell their side of the story. Regardless of the reason, these people put themselves at a disadvantage.

The landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona was designed to help protect you. It is a Judicial landmark that insisted that you should know your Constitutional rights before answering police questions.

Contact Lotze Mosely Defense Attorneys

If you believe that you may be questioned by the police regarding a violent crime, your first line of defense is a criminal defense attorney. Our attorneys are available to speak with you about your case and to help defend you. We can be contacted today at (202) 393-0535.