FAQ – Criminal Law

1. Am I required to speak to the police after an arrest?

You are not required to speak to the police immediately after you’re arrested, and you should not speak to the police until your attorney is present. Even if you’re innocent, you don’t want to say anything that could incriminate you. Before talking to the police, talk through what happened with your attorney.

2. If I’m offered a plea bargain, should I take it?

This depends on the circumstances of your case. Before taking a plea bargain, you should always discuss the bargain and the details of your case with an attorney. They’ll be able to advise you and they’ll also let you know what your rights and options are.

3. I intend to plead guilty. Do I need to hire a lawyer?

Yes, if you’re planning on pleading guilty, it’s very important to speak with your attorney and have your attorney with you in the courtroom. In certain cases, your attorney may be able to negotiate for a lighter sentence or a lesser charge. If you attempt to represent yourself in the courtroom, you may end up facing stiffer penalties. Because of this, it’s important that you use your right to call your attorney when you’re arrested, especially if you are admitting guilt.

4. Do I need to hire an attorney for minor charges?

Often, clients don’t realize that even minor or misdemeanor convictions can follow them for the rest of their lives. This is why it’s vital to speak to an attorney before your trial. When you work with us at RNN Law, we’ll be able to discuss options with you, and we’ll also look for ways to lessen the impact of your conviction on your life.

5. What do I do after I’ve been charged with a federal crime?

Federal courts have different procedures from state courts, so it’s important that you hire an attorney who understands and is familiar with federal procedures. At RNN Law, we’re able to help you understand federal laws and what your rights are under those laws.

6. When do I need to contact a criminal lawyer?

When you are arrested, you are read your Miranda Rights, which tell you that you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. You should exercise both these rights immediately, and contact a criminal lawyer right away. A criminal lawyer will help give you a clear picture of what will come next in the legal proceedings of your case, and they will also discuss a defense strategy with you. 

7. What do I do after being coerced into giving a confession?

Unfortunately, law enforcement officers sometimes use questionable tactics in interrogations to try to get a confession. If the police office believes you are guilty of committing a crime, they may try and force a confession, even if the confession is false.

If you believe that you were coerced into giving a confession, contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will help find ways to prove your innocence and remedy the situation. But it’s important to do this as soon as possible, because it’s much harder to prove your innocence after taking a plea bargain or being found guilty by a jury.

8. How do I clear up an arrest warrant?

The only way to clear an arrest warrant is to appear in front of the court that issued the warrant. If the warrant is active and in the system, you can be arrested in any state in the United States, and also when entering the country at passport control. The best way to approach this problem is to immediately clear it up. If you voluntarily go into a court, you may be able to prevent later jail time if you’re arrested on the warrant.

9. What happens when you are charged with any type of crime?

Usually, the first thing that happens when you’re charged with a crime is you’ll be taken into custody at a police station. There, you’ll be taken for fingerprinting, processing, and questioning. Before the police begin questioning you, they’ll read you your rights, including your right to remain silent and your right to a lawyer. You can exercise these rights immediately, and you can also invoke them during the questioning.

To be released from police custody, you will have to post bail. Sometimes, you’ll be asked to do this by signing a signature bond, which is a written promise to appear in court. Other times, you’ll be asked to provide a cash bond or a secured surety bond—a bond that includes property, like your house or car. You will then be given a date to appear in court.

10. What are all the steps in a criminal case?

Both misdemeanor and felony cases begin with an initial court appearance. During the court appearance, you’ll be given a criminal complaint form that discusses the charge against you, the probable cause, and the penalty if you’re found guilty. In a misdemeanor case, after this step you will enter in a plea of not guilty.

In felony cases, you will next go to a preliminary trial, wherein your attorney will try to provide enough evidence to the judge to convince them that you should stand trial. It the judge decides to take your case to trial, you will attend an arraignment, and you will be given your formal charges. You will then enter a plea.

In all criminal cases, you have the right to a trial by jury, and the jury verdict must be unanimous.

11. Can you tell me the difference between a misdemeanor and felony?

There are two types of offenses you may be charged with: misdemeanors and felonies. With a misdemeanor, you generally won’t get more than a year of jail-time. Some examples of misdemeanors are possession of marijuana and simple assault or battery. However, felonies are often more serious, and you can face more than a year of jail-time. Some examples of felonies are attempted murder and drug trafficking. Whether you have a misdemeanor or a felony offense, it’s a good idea to consult an attorney.

12. What is the definition of a bench warrant?

A bench warrant is a type of warrant issued by a judge, typically for failing to appear in court. It can be difficult to get a family member out of jail if they are arraigned on a bench warrant, which is why it’s best to work with a dedicated attorney who will work tirelessly for your loved one, like our attorneys at RNN law.

14. What is the definition of a personal recognizance bond?

A personal recognizance bond is a type of bond in which a defendant gives their word that they will appear on their set court dates. The defendant will also acknowledge a debt to the court, and if the defendant fails to show up for their trial, they will have to pay that amount to the court, and the judge may revoke the defendant’s bond and give them jail time.

15. Why should I use RNN Law Firm for my case?

At RNN Law, we have a fierce desire to protect the rights of our clients from bankruptcy, family law, and criminal legal action. We’re dedicated to our clients, and we also understand that legal action can be complex and confusing for our clients. During the legal process, we will be sure to explain every step to you, and we will keep you informed of any new developments in your case. We have years of experience of working on cases in the bankruptcy, family law, and criminal law fields, and we will use all our knowledge and experience when we’re working on your case.

FAQ – Business Law

What is an LLC?

LLC is short for Limited Liability Company. It is a stand-alone entity which is treated as separate from the person or people that own and operate it, thereby protecting them from personal liability.

What is a Sole Proprietorship?

A business entity that is wholly controlled by one person but one that does not provide any protection against personal liability.

What is a Partnership?

A business entity owned jointly by 2 or more people or partners is called a partnership. Each individual partner is liable and responsible for all aspects of the business operations.

Is there anything that needs to be kept in mind when choosing a name for an LLC?

As per the Maryland law, the name of an LLC name must contain one of the following: the abbreviation “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “L.C.” or “LC” or "limited liability company" in complete. Also keep in mind that the name should not be similar to any other businesses which is already a part of the Maryland business name database.

What is a registered agent?

A registered agent is Maryland citizen over 18 or business entity located physically in Maryland that agrees to accept legal papers on behalf of the LLC in case it is sued.

How can an attorney be of help when negotiating a commercial lease?

Commercial leases have a higher degree of complexity and liability associated with them which an experienced attorney can help review and negotiate to your advantage.

FAQ – Family Law

Question: What issues are involved in a Family Law case?

Family law includes a number of legal topics concerning marriage and children. Such topics include divorce or annulment, child custody and visitation rights, child support payments, and spousal support / alimony. Family law specifically deals with children in regards to adoption, guardianship, and state child protection, and domestic violence and restraining orders for adults.

Question: How long does it take to get a divorce?

Once you have an attorney and file for a petition to divorce, the procedure can be as short as one to three months. This is best-case scenario. However, if the parties are unable to agree on settlement issues regarding child custody, support, alimony, distribution of property and other matters relevant to the divorce, the proceedings can take considerably longer.

Question: How long does a domestic violence case take?

Domestic violence cases usually move through the court quickly due to the nature of the offense. Your attorney will file for a temporary restraining order with the court, which is almost always granted. A hearing will be set within 21 days to determine whether the temporary restraining order should become permanent.

Question: How long does a paternity case take?

Paternity cases usually move quicker than divorce cases do. This is because paternity litigants simply adopt “temporary” child custody, and support orders as a judgment in order to finish their case. However, each party is entitled to a trial on all issues in a paternity case, so there is a chance it could be delayed if an agreement is not reached.

Question: How do I file for child custody?

Child custody orders are usually part of the general divorce procedure. This necessitates filing an underlying action to establish parentage before the court will make custody orders. Once the underlying case is filed, either party may file a motion for child custody and visitation orders. These motions are called "Request for Orders".

Question: What is a contested divorce?

A "contested" divorce is the most complicated of divorces, because it involves spouses that can’t come to an agreement on one or more issues pertaining to their divorce and settlement. Contested topics may include the division of marital property and debts, child custody, child support, and spousal support ("alimony").

Question: What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce means that the spouses are able to agree on the major issues involved in getting divorced. This could include parenting responsibilities, child support, and division of property and debt.

Question: What is the difference between a Divorce and a Paternity Case?

The two most common types of cases that divorce and custody attorneys handle are divorces and paternity cases. While both follow the same litigation path, they are total opposites in family law. Divorces are the procedural mechanism for married parents to seek relief while paternity establishment cases are how unmarried parents seek custody and child support.

Question: My case involves complicated issues. How can my attorney help?

Many family law matters involve complex litigation, which could include real estate issues, taxation issues, if assets are being concealed, and many others. Our attorneys have specific experience in all these areas and will work for a favorable outcome.

Question: What is the difference between “Legal” and “Physical” Child Custody?

Legal custody is the right to make decisions on the behalf of a minor child in areas such as health, safety, education, religion, welfare, and more. Physical custody is the actual time a parent spends in exercising custody and control over a minor child.

Question: Why do I need a Family Law Attorney?

The law can be complex, and it takes a trained attorney, who specializes in Family Law, to make sure your rights are protected. You need an experienced advocate on your side, someone who will listen to your concerns, and answer the many questions which will arise.

Question: How will I be involved in my case?

Totally! We'll explain your options, take you step by step through the process, and answer any and all questions you might have. We understand this is a difficult time in your life, and we’re very sensitive to that. Our sole aim is to make sure your rights are protected to the fullest, and that the outcome is the best possible.

Question: How is alimony, spousal support, or maintenance determined?

The divorce laws of all the states determine if, and the length of time, one spouse will have to pay spousal support to the other after the termination of the marriage. This is a contentious issue in divorce, but many couples are able to take a decision on it by themselves, and if they are unable to reach a decision, they contact professionals to help them out.
In some cases, where equitable division of property is a concern, one of the factors taken into consideration is if a spouse is ready to pay support to the other. When the decision for maintenance or spousal support is to be taken, the court takes into consideration the division of property amongst the spouses. In community property states, this is usually not a concern. Factors like prior standard of living and economic status of both the parties are given more weightage. However, in the equitable property states, along with division of property, certain other factors are considered too, such as:

  • Length of the marriage
  • The presence of young children at home
  • Employment opportunities that are available to the spouse who is requesting for spousal support
  • The extent to which the dependent spouse contributed to the attainment of a professional license or education of the other spouse
Question: What determines if spousal support will be granted?

It is the decision of the court if spousal support would be granted. You will be able to receive spousal support if you are dependent spouse. The court takes into account several factors to come to a decision about spousal support.

These are:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age of both parties
  • The earning capacities of both parties
  • The standard of living in the marriage
  • The ability to gain employment of both parties

Apart from these, there are several other factors that the court looks at before coming to a decision on granting spousal support.

Question: What are the advantages of a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement has several advantages and it is strongly recommended that before you get married, you and your spouse create a prenuptial/pre-marriage agreement. This agreement would lay down the terms that would be followed in the event of your getting a divorce or the passing away of a spouse. This helps to keep your property separate and even provide for child/children outside of the marriage. A big advantage of a prenuptial agreement is protection from any debts that the spouse had.

With an agreement in place, there is a lot of peace of mind since in case anything goes wrong, most provisions would be in place. In fact, without an agreement, most property is considered as communal property and division of assets becomes quite difficult, making the divorce process that much tougher to undergo.

Question: Can grandparents be awarded visitation or custody of a child?

The court determines what would be in the best interest of the child as regarding grandparental visitation or custody of a child. Traditionally, the common law denied visitation with a child to grandparents if a parent objected. But post 1965, all 50 states have enacted legislation that enables grandparents to approach the courts for seeking visitation with grandchildren. That doesn’t mean the automatic granting of visitation to grandparents; it simply means they have the right to petition the court for a visitation order. In all cases, the rights of the parent surpass a grandparent’s request for visitation or custody, and so grandparents must have serious reasons for pursuing legal avenues when seeking access to a grandchild.
Some states even allow the right to petition for visitation to other relatives like aunts, uncles, stepparents, etc. and even non-relatives with whom the child has a close relationship. In Maryland, the law doesn’t provide a list of factors that the court must consider to award custody or visitation. Judges are free to consider the facts and circumstances pertaining to each case before granting visitation or custody.

FAQ – Bankruptcy Law

1. What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a "last resort" method that is designed to allow the government to provide debt repayment or settlement to those who are unable to pay money that is owed. There are different types of bankruptcy, and there are rules in which to qualify for this service.

2. How do I know if I qualify?

Generally, you must be in a situation where you have acquired debt that you can no longer repay due to a change in your financial capabilities. Often, bankruptcy occurs after a major life event such as death, divorce, illness, job loss, or any other hardship.

3. Is bankruptcy right for me?

It is strongly encouraged to make bankruptcy your last resort. Attempt to make arrangements with your debtors first by contacting each one of them directly and discussing reduced payments or the ability to defer payments for a period of time. Many debtors are willing to negotiate to some level to help those in need.

4. What is the process for filing bankruptcy?

While it is possible to file for bankruptcy on your own, it is highly recommended to use legal assistance. Find a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy and can help you determine which type of bankruptcy is best for your situation. Then the firm can handle all of the needed paperwork throughout the process to make sure your bankruptcy runs smoothly.

5. What advice can a bankruptcy attorney give me?

The best bankruptcy attorneys will have an initial conversation with you at no charge. The attorney can provide advice on next steps and your alternatives. If you decide to proceed, you may have to pay a small initial fee to begin the filing process.

6. How often can a person file for bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy can only be filed once every 6 years.

7. What must I do before I file my case?

Discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney, who will also request for a list of all debts. The list should include the company or individual name, the amount owed, account number, and a phone number.

8. What is an exempt asset?

Depending on the type of bankruptcy, some of your assets can be exempted. This could include your home, vehicle, or certain personal debts such as child support.

9. Can I pay some creditors if I want to?

With bankruptcy, it is very important to stick to the terms of your agreement. Discuss any situations with your attorney to determine how best to prioritize payments.

10. Will filing bankruptcy hurt my credit?

Because bankruptcy often results in debtors losing money, your credit score will be dramatically impacted. A record of your bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for as long as ten years.

11. Can I choose which type of bankruptcy to file?

How do I choose the right one? Choose a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy to help you determine which choice is best for your particular situation.

12. What are the main differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, virtually all of your assets are used to repay the debt, and then the remaining debt is put into structured payments that must be completed within a set period of time, typically 3-5 years. A chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to retain some of your assets such as home and vehicle and restructured payments are put into place.

13. Will I be able to keep my property and assets if I file Bankruptcy?

It depends on the type of bankruptcy, but your attorney can help you determine how best to keep the assets you need.

14. Can I file Bankruptcy on my own?

It is possible but the paperwork and legal process are extremely time-consuming and very complicated. In a vast majority of cases it is much easier to use a skilled attorney.

15. Are there alternatives to Bankruptcy?

Everyone is always encouraged to use bankruptcy as a last resort. Some people may be able to repay debts simply by living within their means and adhering to a budget. Others may need to negotiate a reduced payment with their debtors. But in some cases, bankruptcy is the only alternative.

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