Effective October 1, 2014 a number of new laws took effect in Maryland which can affect a substantial number of Marylanders. They are as follows:
- Marijuana. The possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana will become a civil offense rather than a criminal offense. There are civil penalties for $100.00 fine for a first offense, $250.00 for a second offense and $500.00 for a third offense. Teenagers who are arrested will be required to be evaluated for treatment.
- Domestic Violence In Front of a Child. A person who commits domestic violence in front of a child can face an additional penalty of up to five (5) years in prison.
- Domestic Violence – Standard of Proof. The standard of evidence that will be used for obtaining a protective order will be changed from clear and convincing, a higher standard, to a preponderance of evidence, which means more likely than not that the abuse occurred.
- Tow Truck Deference. A motorist on the highway who comes upon a tow truck who is working on a roadside emergency most move over into the next open lane to the left of the driver or slow to a speed that is reasonable or prudent similar to the law that previously went into effect for police officers who were stopped along the side of the road.
- Serious Auto Accidents Caused By Cell Phones/Texting. There are additional penalties for drivers who cause accidents resulting in death or serious injury while texting or while talking on cell phones. Persons who causes death or serious personal injury while texting or talking on a handheld cell phone will face a penalty of up to a year in jail and a fine of $5,000.00.