Firearm laws in Maryland are among the toughest in the country. Attorney Brian Clark understands how impactful a gun charge can be in Maryland. He also has the experience and tenacity to achieve the best possible outcome for each of his clients in these cases. He has represented numerous out of state defendants in gun charges from places such as Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware and more. The Ocean City area each summer and beyond attracts hundreds or thousands of visitors who are unaware of the gun laws.
Handgun in vehicle is one of the most common gun charges for out of state residents. Many of these cases occur as a result of a traffic stop on highways in and around the Ocean City area and throughout the lower shore of Maryland. Police officers are aware of the strict state gun laws, and will go to great lengths to enforce them. Visitors from states such as North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, West Virginia, and other states with more liberal gun laws are often caught off guard by the charge and how serious it is taken. Typically, a stop for speeding or another infraction will lead to the officer eliciting information leading to a search of the vehicle or an admission of the presence of a handgun. Often, those arrested are law-abiding residents of a nearby state who meant no harm in transporting the handgun, but must now face the justice system and hire a local attorney.
The Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office has treated these gun cases very aggressively in the past years and will forward most of them to the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court, where more serious cases are heard. Much greater time and effort is placed on each case by the prosecutor in Circuit Court, be it a misdemeanor or felony. Some of these handgun laws require mandatory jail, but it can be waived if the person is not convicted and receives a PBJ. The laws affecting most visitors are governed by Title 4, Subtitle 2 of the Annotated Criminal Code of Maryland, mainly 4-203.
These section prohibits the wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun in Maryland, whether concealed or open in any vehicle traveling on a road or parking lot , waterway or airway of the State. In simple terms, the license you have to legally carry your weapon from your home state is not recognized in Maryland. Unlike a driver’s license, your handgun permit is only good in states with reciprocity agreements with your state and your home state. The Congress has attempted to change these laws to allow more flexibility, but has been unsuccessful.
A conviction on this charge can lead to severe repercussions, including employment difficulties, losing your gun license in your home state and many more. Attorney Brian H. Clark will strive to avoid a conviction and prevent you from being jailed. The law does allow numerous exceptions which will be explored and used as defenses in your case in a trial in front of a judge or jury if needed. Over the few years, Attorney Clark has successfully filed motions to persuade the Judge and Prosecutor to dismiss gun charges that fit into some of the lesser known exceptions.
In one notable case in Worcester County Circuit Court, Attorney Clark was able to have a case dismissed weeks after the defendant had already pled guilty to transporting a handgun. The case was re-opened and dismissed after more evidence documenting the transport of the gun exception was introduced through court filings. The issue involved the moving between residences exception, which was not adequately known by the police, prosecutors or the defense attorney during the decision to plead guilty. The client was relieved, the case was dropped and he was taken off the probation that was issued weeks earlier.