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Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney

Anyone charged with a crime in Maryland is advised they should hire Maryland criminal lawyer to represent them at trial. The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of every person accused of a crime to an attorney.

That means that each defendant has a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney during trial. Individuals should not pass up this right if they’ve been charged with a crime in Maryland. If you’re facing criminal charges you should contact and retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend your rights and freedom.

Criminal Defense Lawyers in Baltimore, Maryland

Being charged with a crime in Baltimore Maryland can be scary. You begin to worry about the consequences of what could happen. Especially if you’ve never been charged with a crime before, you don’t know what will happen in the long run.

That is why it’s so important to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Baltimore to represent you and protect your rights and freedom.

Attorney Randolph Rice has been defending individuals in Baltimore and the metro region counties since 2009. Contact the Baltimore criminal defense lawyer Randolph Rice today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your matter.

Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer  (Randolph Rice)How to Choose a Criminal Defense Attorney in Maryland?

There are few things more frightening or bewildering than being charged with a crime, particularly if it’s a first offense. You might have been pulled over by the police for a DUI and suddenly find yourself in a cell. You may have been charged with a serious offense that threatens your liberty for years to come. The question of how to choose a criminal defense attorney in Maryland is a very important and urgent one. Your reputation and liberty may depend on who you select to represent you.

When you are deciding on a criminal defense lawyer, you should consider that lawyer’s areas of expertise and how long he or she has been representing clients in Maryland.

Read cases results on an attorney’s websites as well as reviews of the Maryland criminal defense lawyer on the internet.

Consider the breadth as well of the length of an attorney’s experience. When a lawyer has worked for the ‘other side’ as a prosecutor that experience may prove invaluable because he or she can get into the ‘mindset’ of the prosecution. Randolph Rice has worked with the gang unit within the State’s Attorney’s Office and learned all the intricacies of the criminal law.

You should also consider the types of criminal defense attorneys who practice in Maryland. There are three main types, namely:

  1. State Criminal Defense Lawyers. State criminal defense attorneys specialize in areas of state law as distinct from federal law. These include drunk driving and other traffic offenses, homicides, assaults, property crimes, robberies, and domestic violence.
  2. Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys. Federal criminal defense lawyers deal with cases such as violations of the U.S. Constitution, internet pornography, wire fraud, serious drug and embezzlement charges, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), obscenity, tax evasion and counterfeiting.
  3. Public Defender. Unlike a private criminal defense attorney, public defenders are paid for by the public purse. Usually, defendants have to meet a low-income threshold to qualify for their services.

criminal defense attorneyWhat To Look For in a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

When you are seeking a criminal defense lawyer to represent you, it’s important to hire a specialist. When deciding how to choose a criminal defense attorney, you should look at the background of prospective candidates. While the attorney who prepared your will may be ideal for that purpose, he or she is likely to be ill prepared for a hard-hitting criminal trial in front of a judge and jury.

Usually, private criminal defense lawyers practice either on their own or in small partnerships. They are linked to a specific geographical setting. This is important because they are more likely to be aware of the quirks of the jurisdiction where they are defending a client. They may have working relationships with prosecutors and others in the local courts system that can help with negotiations in your case.

Attorneys who handle certain civil cases often work for large corporate law firms with branches in many cities. These lawyers can lack ‘grassroots’ knowledge of the kind found in a local criminal defense firm.

It makes sense to hire an attorney who helps people rather than big businesses. The personality of the defendant plays a major role in a criminal proceeding and it’s vital to have a good working relationship with your Baltimore criminal defense lawyer.

Often private defense attorneys have had considerable experience working for the government before going into private practice, possibly as a prosecutor, a district attorney or a public defender. They know how the criminal law works.

Potential clients should also try to get an idea of the caseload of the firm they are hiring to defend them. If a large firm is charging considerably less than a small firm its lawyers may have a heavier caseload and not be able to give you the time you deserve. Ask as many questions as possible to find out if a lawyer will be a good fit for you.

Questions to Ask a Criminal Lawyer in an Interview

When you meet with a criminal lawyer it is important to find out his or her experience before signing a contract. Some important questions for a criminal lawyer are:

Characteristics of Top Criminal Defense Attorneys

When you are considering how to choose a criminal defense attorney, you should consider some of the characteristics of top criminal lawyers. They include:


The criminal lawyer should become aggressively involved with your case. His or her assertiveness should include working the case vigorously, leaving no unanswered questions and being proactive and aggressive in court. The attorney must be ready to challenge police witnesses and question the basics of an arrest such as whether a stop and search was legal.

Good communication skills

A great criminal defense lawyer should be a good listener as well an effective orator. He or she should be able to listen carefully to the client and take the time to decide how to deal with the case. Criminal counsel should also be able to communicate effectively with the opposing party and negotiate terms and conditions of a plea bargain or an out of court settlement.


All legal experts are expected to have a wide knowledge of their field, but criminal defense lawyers need to stay on top of changes in the law and be able to adapt fast. A defense lawyer should know what charges can be brought against his client, the potential sentences and the best defenses for each charge. Knowledge of particular prosecutors, judges and court systems may be invaluable in deciding how to defend a client.

Research Skills

A criminal attorney will not have the answers to all questions at his or her fingertips. But, he must have great research skills as well as a team to help him. An attorney must not only use legal research to find precedents and other cases with a bearing on the case in question, but also research into the alleged offense committed by his client and factors that the police or prosecution may have overlooked.

Negotiating Skills

Many criminal cases are settled before they reach a trial.  Defense and prosecutors often negotiate agreements and take them to the judge for his approval. The defense attorney must have the ability to work with the other side and make the best possible deal for his or her client.


Being dogged is a good quality in top criminal defense attorneys. A defense attorney should explore every means of defending a client. This may be a painstaking process requiring considerable patience. The defense attorney must not miss a chance to influence the judge and jury if a case goes to court. If a client is found guilty, it is important for the attorney to explore all possible appeals.

What Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?

A criminal defense lawyer has many roles in a case from being present soon after the time of arrest to filing an appeal after a conviction and fighting that appeal.

A criminal defense lawyer may be contacted directly by a defendant or assigned to the case by the court. The client will either contact a private Maryland law firm or be assigned a lawyer from the public defender’s office.

As soon as the criminal defense lawyer has been contacted, an interview about the case is held. This is an opportunity for the lawyer to gather as many facts as possible about the case against a client. He or she asks specific questions and formulates a defense strategy. The attorney seeks to find out the strengths and weaknesses of the case from the outset by carefully questioning the defendant.

The lawyer investigates the case. The attorney considers all avenues that may lead to an acquittal or at least cast doubt on the charges. The attorney will often question the police about the procedures used in the case and interview witnesses. Expert witnesses may be hired to challenge forensic or other evidence. The attorney builds up a case against the charges.

The attorney analyzes the evidence and may have some of it independently tested. He or she may examine the evidence to find out if there are any legal theories that undermine the prosecution case against a client.

What is the job of a criminal lawyer?

The lawyer should keep in regular contact with the client. He or she must ensure that conversations with the client are kept confidential. The attorney must keep the client in the loop about strategies and get input from the client at all stages of the legal process.

A criminal defense lawyer also assists with the jury selection process. He or she may seek to strike out jurors who are likely to be unsympathetic to the defendant from the outset of the trial.

The criminal defense lawyer is responsible for discussing the status of the case and negotiating with the prosecutor about plea bargains. Often a prosecutor may offer to reduce the charges. The criminal defense lawyer must be able to weigh up whether a plea bargain would make better sense than a not-guilty plea and a trial for the client. 

If a case goes to a trial, the criminal defense lawyer represents his or her client during the hearing. The lawyer may present motions and examines witnesses. Through cross-examinations the attorney must try to convince the jury that the prosecution has failed to prove the defendant committed the crime beyond all reasonable doubt.

If the defendant is found guilty or accepted a plea bargain, a criminal defense attorney can represent the defendant during the sentencing part of the trial. He or she often discusses mitigating factors in an attempt to persuade a judge or jury to impose a sentence at the lower end of the scale. The lawyer may seek to persuade the judge and jury to avoid incarceration.

A criminal defense lawyer’s role does not end with a sentence. The lawyer may fight an appeal of the sentence or verdict. Maryland has a de novo system that allows a review of decisions rendered in courts of limited jurisdiction by a trial court of general jurisdiction.

A criminal defense lawyer may also assist former or new clients with expungement of criminal records, a process that can help you remove certain misdemeanor offenses or crimes committed as a juvenile from your criminal record.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Maryland?

The fee to hire a criminal defense lawyer depends on a wide number of factors. Cost is often a major factor in the question of how to choose a criminal defense attorney. Factors built into the lawyer’s fee include the seriousness of the crime, the jurisdiction in which the defendant is charged, the past experience of the attorney, how complicated the charges are, and how long the case is likely to take. Some lawyers charge by the case and represent defendants for a fixed fee.

When discussing how much it costs to hire a criminal defense lawyer, the nature of the offense is one of the most important considerations. While a traffic case may cost as little as $1,000, a complicated drug or homicide case could cost $25,000.

Often criminal defense lawyers will charge a retainer and work for an hourly rate, typically in a range of $150 to $300 an hour.

How Much Does a Felony Lawyer Cost?

Lawyers will typically charge more for a felony case than a misdemeanor case. Not only is the potential sentence more serious but felony cases often involve more work and are more likely to go to a trial.

It is not uncommon for a defendant who is facing felony charges to also face misdemeanor charges. A criminal defense lawyer could charge anywhere from $2,500 up to $25,000 depending on the seriousness of the charges for a felony. Offenses such as murder and manslaughter, complicated drug cases or sexual assaults with many witnesses and experts, are often at the top end of the scale.

How Much is a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer?

There is no set fee for a good criminal defense lawyer in Maryland. Some defendants make the mistake of assuming that the lawyer who charges the most is the best. While this is not true, a lawyer who charges considerably less than the competition may be cutting corners.

If a lawyer charges a flat fee, and the charge is a misdemeanor, the defendant can expect to pay anything between $1,000-$3,000. This figure will rise to approximately $3,000-$5,000 if the misdemeanor goes to trial.

If the charge is a felony that’s likely to be settled, the lawyer’s fees may range anywhere from $3,000-$6,000. Other felony trials may cost over $10,000 and the cost of a complicated felony case often exceeds $20,000.

Do You Have to Pay a Criminal Defense Lawyer Up Front in Maryland?

Typically, criminal lawyers will ask for a retainer up front whether they bill by the hour or by the case. A retainer safeguards the attorney against doing work and not getting paid.  

For example, a lawyer who bills at the rate of $150 an hour may want clients to pay up front for 20 hours of the lawyer’s time equating to $3,000.

The attorney should send the client regular statements detailing how much time the lawyer spent on the case, the work that was done, and how much of the retainer has been used up. The attorney will usually ask for another fee when the retainer is almost exhausted.

What is a Retainer Fee for a Lawyer?

Retainer fees for criminal defense lawyers is a sum paid up front by the client, The amount depends on the law firm in question. They are often in the range of $2,000 to $3,000 but may be higher in a serious felony case.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Lawyer for Shoplifting?

Hiring a lawyer for a misdemeanor like shoplifting will typically cost the defendant considerably less than hiring a felony lawyer. Having an attorney handle a guilty plea will cost in the range of $1,000-$3,000, depending on the location in Maryland and the extent of negotiation. If the case goes to trial, it can cost $5,000 to $10,000.  

How Much is a Lawyer for a Drug Charge?

Drug charges cover a wide spectrum of seriousness from the possession of small amounts of marijuana to complicated drug trafficking cases.

Retainers for a criminal defense attorney working on drug-related charges usually start around $2,000-$5,000 for misdemeanors and rise to as much as $5,000-$15,000 for felonies. A lawyer for a complicated drug charge may cost as much as $25,000 to $30,000 depending on a range of factors and the size of the case.

Finding Good Criminal Lawyers Near Me

When you are deciding how to choose a criminal defense attorney in Maryland, it’s important to check out firms in your local area. If you are doing an online search for ‘good criminal lawyers near me’ you are more likely to end up hiring counsel that’s familiar with your local area and its courts, prosecutors and judges.

The Law Office of Randolph Rice is based in Baltimore/Dundalk but covers a wide range of locations in Maryland.

The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of every person accused of a crime to an attorney. When you choose a criminal defense attorney in Maryland it’s important to hire a lawyer with integrity who will fight your case all the way. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 288-2900.

Maryland criminal lawyer

What does a criminal defense lawyer do?

A criminal defense lawyer will prepare the best course of action for your case. Your lawyer will prepare all motions and filings to be submitted to the court as well as the State’s Attorney’s Office.

In addition your lawyer will formulate the best possible defense in your case. A criminal defense lawyer will also negotiate with a State’s Attorney’s office and strive to have the charges dropped or entered as a nolle prosequi.

In addition, a criminal defense lawyer will represent you at trial. Your criminal defense lawyer will help you select a jury, cross-examine the state’s witnesses, and present evidence on your behalf before a judge or jury.

It is not advisable to appear in court without a lawyer. A good criminal defense lawyer will make sure that you make the best decisions if you’re facing criminal charges.

Learn more about how Criminal Defense Lawyer in Maryland can help you.

How to find a good criminal defense lawyer in Baltimore Maryland?

The first step is to determine if the lawyer you select is a good criminal defense lawyer. In selecting the best criminal defense lawyer, you should look at a number of factors for the lawyer.

Those should include the experience that the lawyer has in that jurisdiction. As well as how comfortable you feel with the lawyer and is it sound advice you’re being provided.

A good criminal defense lawyer we’ll know how to navigate the court systems as well as communicate with the prosecutors in your case.

top criminal lawyers in Maryland

Top criminal defense lawyer in Maryland?

If you’re reading this post then you’re probably looking for a criminal defense lawyer. The internet has become one of the best sources of finding a criminal defense lawyer in Maryland.

It allows you to conduct research on various lawyers throughout Maryland when hiring a criminal lawyer.

When deciding on which lawyer to hire, make sure you check the reputation of the lawyer as well as meet with the attorney to get a feel for his style and demeanor.

You should feel comfortable with your lawyer and feel confident that your lawyer is looking out for your best interests. If you feel like you are a number or not important, then you should move on to the next potential attorney.

What is the cost of a criminal defense lawyer in Maryland?

In Maryland, most criminal defense lawyers will charge a flat fee for a criminal case. That means, that the lawyer will quote you a set amount of money for the entire case.

The fee will not increase or decrease depending on how many court appearances and if the case requires a trial. Typically, misdemeanor cases in the district court will cost less to hire a lawyer then a felony case in the Circuit Court. For more information, read how much must if costs to hire a DUI lawyer in Maryland.

This is because a misdemeanor case will require less time than a more serious felony case. Most lawyers will accept payment plans, but you must ask your potential attorney if they have payment arrangements for your criminal case.

At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we accept various forms of payment, including:

Baltimore County Criminal Defense Lawyer Here to Help

Baltimore County is the third busiest County for criminal charges in Maryland. With three separate District Court locations and one Circuit Court location, there are thousands of criminal cases charged in Baltimore County every year.

It is important to hire a trusted Baltimore County lawyer for your charges. Attorney Randolph Rice is a former Baltimore County Assistant State’s Attorney, ranked by Super Lawyers as a Maryland Rising Star, Avvo 10 out of 10 Superb ranking and he is Lead Counsel rated.

If you’re facing any type of criminal charges in Baltimore County, including bail reviews, preliminary hearings, violation of probation, misdemeanor or felony charges, contact Mr rice today to schedule a free consultation.

What happens if I’m charged with a crime?

The beginning of any criminal charge in Maryland starts with an incident or an allegation of a crime. If the police respond they may take action by arresting the suspect or asking you commissioner to issue a an arrest warrant.

If an arrest warrant is issued, then the police will look for that person and arrest them as soon as possible. If the police do not take action then the victim can file charges at the commissioner’s office.

The commissioner must determine if probable cause exists to proceed with charges or determine that there is no basis for the charges and the case ends.

If an individual is arrested then they are taken before it commissioner two determined if bail should be set. If the commissioner is issuing the charges, the commissioner will either issue a summons or an arrest warrant.

If a summons is issued, the defendant will be notified by service and then ordered to appear in court on a set trial date. If the commissioner issues a warrant, the individual will be arrested and then taken before the commissioner for a pretrial hearing and to set bail.

What happens next in a criminal case?

If an individual has been arrested or served with a summons, then a trial date is set. This is the point in time where a person charged with a crime should retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

When the defendant appears for trial, the individual must make a determination along with their lawyer, if the State decides to move forward with the case, to either:

If the individual is facing a crime that carries a penalty of more than 90 days, then the individual has a right to a jury trial.

If none of the charges carry a maximum penalty of over 90 days then there is no right to a jury trial in Maryland. If an individual decides to proceed to trial then the judge or jury will determine guilt.

A judge or jury must find a defendant guilty Beyond A Reasonable Doubt in every case. If a person is found not guilty and the case is over and the person goes home.

In addition, the individual may be eligible to have the charges and record expunged. If a person is found guilty then the judge must determine the sentence, which could include a guilty finding or a probation before judgement.

They judge will also determine if probation is appropriate for each case. In Maryland, District Court judges can order a defendant on probation for up to three years and the Circuit Court judges up to five years.

Plea Bargain in Maryland Criminal Cases

A plea bargain is one of the most common outcomes in a criminal case. It is the highest form of admitting to guilt and should be carefully considered and thought through before making the decision to enter a plea bargain.

By pleading guilty, and individual is telling the court and the state but they did the crime and they admit to the allegations.

If an individual enters a plea bargain and is found guilty and the judge will determine the appropriate sentence in that case. This is also an important time for your lawyer to present mitigation.

Mitigation is information or argument for the judge to consider in fashioning a sentence. Mitigation maybe things that you have done before the crime or since the crime to place yourself in a better light before the court.

Law Offices of Randolph Rice

Stet and a Maryland criminal case

A Stet is a preliminary motion made by the State’s Attorney asking the court to mark the matter inactive. A stet means that the case will not be prosecuted and will often require the defendant to complete certain tasks or stay away from another person or place.

Maryland Lawyer for Criminal Mitigation

This is also in important time for your lawyer to present mitigation. Mitigation is information or argument for the judge to consider in fashioning a sentence.

Mitigation may be things that you have done before the crime more since the crime to place yourself and in a better light before the court.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me in Maryland

The Law Offices of Randolph Rice have offices throughout Maryland including Baltimore, Towson, and Ellicott City in Howard County. Contact the office today to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer and learn how we can help in your case.

Just because you’ve been charged with a crime, doesn’t mean you’re a criminal.

Expungement in MarylandCriminal Expungement in Maryland

If your case qualifies in Maryland, you may be able to file for expungement. Expungement is the removal of your criminal record from the court and police record systems. If your case is not eligible to be expunged in Maryland, you may be eligible to have your criminal record shielded.

Shielding criminal records in Maryland is a process that hides your criminal record from public View. Shielding does not remove the record from the court or police databases.

For more information about expungement in Maryland:

Criminal Cases in Maryland

Criminal cases are pursued by the State’s Attorney’s offices throughout Maryland and their assistant prosecutors for violations of the Maryland criminal statutes.

The criminal laws fall into a number of categories in Maryland including homicide, crimes against a person, which include assault and sexual offences.

In addition the criminal laws in Maryland prohibit robbery, illegal possession of weapons, illegal possession of controlled dangerous substances, crimes against property like arson and burglary.

The state laws also prohibit theft, fraud, crimes against public administration such as false statement and bribery. The criminal laws also prohibits crimes against the public health, and decency as well as gaming laws.

Criminal Laws versus Traffic Laws in Maryland

There is a difference between the criminal laws in Maryland and the traffic laws in Maryland. The criminal laws define criminal activity that one can be charged with. Whereas, the traffic laws, defined in the Transportation Articles, define prohibited acts while operating a motor vehicle.

Criminal laws and transportation violations are prosecuted in the same manner and under the similar rules. A criminal defense lawyer will often represent individuals that are charged with criminal laws as well as violations of the transportation articles in Maryland.

Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Randolph Rice

If you’re facing a criminal charge or a violation of the transportation article, contact the top criminal defense lawyer Randolph Rice today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.

A criminal conviction in Maryland could result in fines, jail and probation.

Probation in Maryland

Probation in Maryland can be either supervised or unsupervised. Unsupervised probation requires little more than staying out of trouble and not committing any new criminal offenses.

Supervised probation is much harder and requires constant contact with your probation agent and monthly fees. In addition, supervised probation could mean you cannot leave the State of Maryland or require random urinalysis or home visits.

This is one of the things that most people don’t consider when charged with a crime. Contact the office today if you’ve been charged with a crime or traffic ticket in Maryland.

Speak with a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have been charged with a crime or you believe you may be charged with a criminal offense, speak with our criminal defense attorneys today.

At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we represent individuals throughout Maryland that have been charged with all ranges of criminal offense, from simple misdemeanors to complicated felonies.

Call the office today at 410.288.2900 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can provide sound legal defenses for your case.