Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.

Call Toll-Free: 866-435-2795

Locally at: 410-415-9219

Category: Criminal Defense

Justice Department to Aggressively Pursue Marihuana and Mandatory Penalties

It is no secret that Attorney General Sessions is opposed to the use of marijuana for any purpose, including medicinally. He has appointed a former United State's Attorney from Tennessee to help implement the change.  There has been a growing movement by CONSERVATIVES in this country to reduce federal mandatory penalties. Senator Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan supported such legislation.  As a Senator, Sessions prevented the bill from being voted on even when there were over 70 Senators in favor because he politicized it as a vote to go soft on crime.  

Now as Attorney General, Mr. Sessions has ordered that every tool be used in the prosecution of any drug offense.  Discretion regarding pleas to lesser quantities in order to insure fairness may be limited.  Quantity alone should not determine the sentence.  Prosecutors and judges in State court where mandatory sentences are not required understand this and view the defendant as a whole. Federal prosecutors and federal judges have been doing this since the Sentencing Guidelines were ruled no longer mandatory.  However if the only charges pursued are the ones carrying mandatory penalties then discretion will be lost.  The next 4 years will see a change in federal prosecution tactics.  Those states that have liberalized marijuana use may find some of their participants charged under federal law with manufacturing marihuana. The federal prison beds of the drug offenders pardoned by President Obama are going to be filled.  

My Criminal Defense Practice

Most of my website focuses on my DUI practice.  If you are contacting me for a DUI through the website you have probably just returned home from the police station and are looking for a lawyer.  I have decided to add some information on the Home Page about my non DUI cases. My criminal practice includes the defense of all drug cases in State and Federal Court.  These cases have a terrible impact on your future, and you have to fight to keep this type of charge from destroying your future.  If you have a substance abuse problem, I deal with it immediately.   I handle all felony and misdemeanor cases from petty theft to murder.  Everyone is entitled to aggressive representation no matter how heinous the offense is viewed.  

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Howard County Possession with Intent Case First for Judge

I was recently retained by a client to represent him in a Modification of Sentence for Possession with Intent.  I did not represent him in his original case, and he was dissatisfied with his then attorney.  The Motion to strike the guilty finding and enter a Probation before Judgment had been in the Court file for almost three years, and probation is about to expire.  The facts of the case were not great because there were aggravating circumstances that were pretty unique.  However the judge had allowed the Motion to sit when he could have denied it 3 years ago.

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DUI and Criminal Defense Practice in 2017

As technology use becomes prevalent in law enforcement, we are seeing more and more video interaction between police and clients.  The more recent Blogs cover some of these cases.  Body Cam footage has been extremely valuable in the defense of cases.  Car video has always been helpful.  It is simply amazing how unprepared police witnesses are in the courtroom when there is a video.  Often the prosecution does not have time to review the videos in many of the cases. Of course, if you are inexperienced or not very interested in the nuances of Field Sobriety Testing or Search and Seizure, these videos serve no purpose and the client is short changed.  Words matter, and what the police say during an encounter is critical to the defense of any case.  There are no shortcuts to defending people accused of an offense.  You cannot hide a conviction or a Probation Before Judgment from employers.  I get calls every week from people who cannot get a job because of a conviction and/or a probation and want to know if I can undo what their original lawyer did.  The answer is usually "no" because there is not sufficient evidence that the original trial counsel meets  

the test for providing inefficient assistance of counsel.  You have one chance to get it right. I do not win every case or try every case, but I prepare to do so, and make sure the client gets every protection allowed by our Constitution and laws.  In the coming months lawyers in MD will be able to brand themselves as "Specialists" without a standardized criteria.  I expect that a lawyer who has represented 1 client in a DUI and done nothing else may think himself a specialist because he has only practiced that kind of law- 1 case.  Your case that brought you to this site is the biggest thing in the world for you at this time.  It is why you are on the internet researching lawyers and calling every name you find.  You will get letters from dozens of lawyers who solicit business by buying the list of people charged with any type of criminal offense- DUI is a criminal offense.  You have to select someone who is going to care about your case and your future.  I have a reputation for straight talk and being aggressive in preparing you for the case.  I insist on treatment as every judge in Maryland EXPECTS the client to be evaluated and in treatment.

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Health-care bill would drop addiction treatment mandate covering 1.3 million Americans

This issue has nothing to do with whether you voted for President Trump or Ms. Clinton.  Obama care may be a disaster, my premiums skyrocketed like yours.  There were 4 needed features- coverage of pre-existing illnesses, children remaining on a parent's policy until age 26, mental health coverage, and drug abuse coverage.  Over the years it has been incredibly difficult to get mental health and drug abuse treatment for clients even when insured.  Health care policies limited coverage and paid a low percentage.  Only the wealthy could afford residential treatment for their child.  That changed under our present health care system.

The title above is a newspaper headline of an article that explains how poor people on Medicaid will lose their mental health and drug coverage.  It will no longer be mandated.  I am not debating the merits of the Republican proposal versus the mess we now have, but the loss of this coverage is going to decimate a population that is growing everyday. West Virginia counties sued opioid distributors today "for shipping inordinate quantities of opioids into the state in violation of a West Virginia law."  They have filed suit against drug distributors as well as Walgreens and CVS.  The merits of the law suit are not the purpose of this Blog either.  We unfortunately have a massive substance abuse and mental health crisis in this country and it is not subsiding.  People need help. This is a sad situation and I thought I would put it out there for people to think about.  These are not people born to do evil or born to hurt others.  Mental health issues represent genetics as does substance abuse for many who find themselves in that abyss.  Whatever the reason they need the help President Trump promised to continue for these problems, and hopefully the next headline will read "does not" instead of "would."

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Contact Information

  • Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.
  • 29 W. Susquehanna Avenue, Suite 700
  • Towson, Maryland 21204
  • Toll Free: 866-435-2795
  • Locally: 410-415-9219
  • Fax: 410-823-0610

Office Location