10 New Laws That Take Effect Thursday in Maryland
10 New Laws that Take Effect Thursday in Maryland
New laws approved this year in Maryland will take effect on Thursday. Here are some of the ones you should know about.
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT FOR DIVORCE
Those applying for divorces in Maryland are now required to reside in Maryland for a minimum of 6 months before applying for divorce, if the grounds for divorce occurred outside of Maryland. The residency requirement used to be 1 year.
GROUNDS FOR ABSOLUTE DIVORCE – MUTUAL CONSENT
Married couples in Maryland no longer have to wait a year to get an absolute divorce if 1) both parties agree to the divorce; 2) have no minor children in common; 3) have resolved all other outstanding issues regarding alimony and property in a signed written settlement agreement; and 4) appear before the court at the final absolute divorce hearing.
CHANGE IN THE GROUNDS FOR LIMITED DIVORCE
In order to get a limited divorce on the grounds of separation in Maryland, the previous law required that the separation be voluntary and without a reasonable expectation of reconciliation. The new law removes those requirements as well as any requirement that the parties participate in good faith reconciliation efforts prior to granting a limited divorce.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWS
Courts may issue a final protective order for a period not to exceed 2 years by consent under certain circumstances. The Court may also extend the term of a protective order for a period not to exceed 2 years by consent or if the Court finds that subsequent acts of abuse were committed during the term of the protective order. Also, an individual who has had a sexual relationship with the accused within a year of filing the petition is now eligible for relief under a protective order.
EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIME NO LONGER A CRIME
An individual can now get expungements for convictions of crimes that are no longer crimes. An example would be convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana, which was decriminalized in Maryland last year.
In the past, individuals could not get non-convictions expunged if they were subsequently convicted of another crime. Beginning October 1, case dispositions of nolle pros and stet will be eligible for expungement regardless of a subsequent conviction. Probation before judgment (PBJ) dispositions will be eligible for expungements so long as the person is not convicted of a new crime within three years of receiving the PBJ or is not currently a defendant in a case.
SHIELDING- MARYLAND SECOND CHANCE ACT OF 2015
An individual can have certain nonviolent misdemeanor convictions shielded from public view after three years of completing any mandatory supervision, including parole and probation.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING AS AN AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE
Individuals prosecuted for specific charges relating to prostitution can now assert an affirmative defense of duress if the defendant was the victim of a person charged with violating the human trafficking law.
INCREASED MAXIMUM SPEED LIMIT ON HIGHWAYS
The maximum speed limit allowed to be established on specified highways in Maryland will be raised from 65 miles an hour to 70 miles an hour.
PROHIBITION AGAINST UNATTENDED MOTOR VEHICLE – EXCEPTIONS
Current Maryland law provides that individuals are prohibited from leaving a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running. Beginning October 1, 2015, individuals will be allowed to leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running for up to 5 consecutive minutes if 1) the individual started the car with a remote keyless ignition system or 2) the car is locked AND parked on private property. Be sure to know and follow the new rules to avoid a $70.00 ticket.
We can help you.
JM Blattner, LLC is a premier full service law firm providing exemplary and reasonably priced legal services for all your legal needs. If we can’t help you, we will help you find the right attorney for you. If you think you may benefit from any of the new Maryland laws, please give us a call at (410) 415-1400 to see how we can help.
Article by Julius M. Blattner
Attorney Julius M. Blattner is the owner and founder of JM Blattner, LLC. He understands the complexities of the legal process and works very hard to produce the best possible outcomes for his clients. Mr. Blattner is a military attorney and currently serves part time as an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate in the JAG Corps. He serves all his clients with the same hard work and attention to detail that has characterized his years of dedicated military service.