Commercial Driving in Maryland

It's no secret that driving a truck, or some other commercial vehicle is not easy. It's a job that is both physically and mentally demanding, which is why you have to take rigorous road skills and written knowledge tests and pass a physical exam to obtain a commercial driver's license. But, it's an appealing job, nonetheless, mostly because it pays quite well. The average salary for commercial drivers is not the same in all states, and it's definitely a job that pays much better than most other jobs. Commercial driver salaries in Maryland are higher than most other states.

There are lots of employment opportunities for commercial drivers in Maryland. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 20,000 truck drivers in this state. As in all other states, the economy in Maryland is in a better condition now than it was a couple of years ago, and when the economy grows, a lot of new jobs are being created. A large part of those job openings is in the trucking industry, since truck drivers are needed to transport goods across the country.

The average truck driver salary in Maryland is $ 49,000, as of July, 2013, according to It's a bit more than what truck drivers earn in other US states. As far as various types of truck driving jobs and which of them pays the best, dump truck, tank truck and tow truck drivers have lower salaries than other truck drivers. They get about $ 22,000 – $ 23,000 a year. On the other hand, flatbed drivers can earn as much as $ 60,000.

When it comes to companies that employ the most truck drivers and often have many job openings, there is All American Auto Transport, as well as Capitol Express and Warehousing. Although there are a lot of job openings and job prospects for commercial drivers in Maryland are pretty good, those who want to drive a commercial vehicle for a living, have to be aware that the terrain in this state is a bit rough and it takes a lot of skills to operate large trucks or buses on those roads. But, if you complete a commercial driver education course and if you have good driving habits, you should be able to operate your vehicle in a safe manner.

To sum up, there are good job prospects for everyone who wants to become a commercial driver in Maryland, and after you obtain your CDL , and start driving your truck, bus, or some other type of commercial vehicle, you can expect to get paid pretty well for it.

Maryland Football Helmets

For the first time in years, people were talking about Maryland football. In the first game of the 2011 season, Maryland took the field against Miami will all new white uniforms, and a stunning football helmet with the state flag seeming to be wrapped around the helmet. The uniforms were white, which is somewhat atypical for football uniforms where most teams wear their white uniforms on the road and a solid dark color at home. The numbers were in red with a frenetic pattern of shading.

The shoulders had black and red patterns that matched up with the helmet. The helmet, however, blew everyone away. The Maryland flag is based on the English heraldic banner of George Calvert. Looking at the flag like a compass, the northeast and southwest corners have a cross with all four ends crossed in offsetting red and white. The northwest and southeast corners have a strange disproportioned yellow and black checkerboard. The overall pattern is striking and very eye-catching. Taking these two patterns, the cross and the checkerboard, and painting them on either side of the Maryland football helmet was a brilliant move. A school known more for basketball if anything, in a conference (the ACC) mostly known for basketball, was suddenly front page news for football.

When Under Armour designed the new uniforms and helmets, they knew that they would attract attention to the program; look at what cool, modern uniforms have done for the University of Oregon Ducks. There is no way they could have anticipated just how much attention the uniforms, especially the helmets, would attract. The helmets were the buzz of the web for days and lit up Twitter with comments, mostly negative. Everyone from LeBron James to the talking heads of ESPN tweeted about them. Articles on major newspapers like the Washinton Post and USA Today received hundreds of comments. The saying, “There is no such thing as bad publicity,” kept getting repeated over and over again.

Colin Cowherd commented that even though old guys like him might have hated the Maryland football helmets, he knew that high school recruits all up and down the Eastern seaboard were probably lining up to try them on. Realizing they had perhaps struck gold, a few days after the first game, Maryland announced it was 10 game-worn football helmets and uniforms with starting bids of $500 for the helmets and $200 for the jerseys. Not only had Maryland received a lot of publicity, they were now being able to turn the publicity into money for their athletics programs.

Basic Guide to Maryland Unemployment Insurance Appeals

If you have lost your job through no fault of your own, especially in the current difficult economy, unemployment benefits can be the difference between eviction or foreclosure and keeping your owned or rented home. In the U.S., unemployment benefits are significantly less generous than in most of our industrialized allied countries and trading partners; we Americans generally receive lower benefits and for a shorter period than do most Europeans, for example. Yet our modest, limited benefits can be crucial to surviving in a terrible economy.

Unemployment hearings in Maryland occur in three stages –

– The telephone or “claims specialist” stage

– The Lower Appeals or “Hearing Examiner” stage, and

– The Board of Appeals in some cases.

Generally, the claims specialist conducts a mere telephone interview with the worker or “claimant” and with the employer, and renders a preliminary decision as to eligibility. If either party disagrees with the decision, either may file for an appeal of the decision to a hearing examiner for a “de novo” (all new, “do-over”) hearing before the hearing examiner in an unemployment office location or other State office complex. That Lower Appeals hearing is recorded live, usually conducted in a small room and is generally limited to 45 minutes in length.

If the Lower Appeals decision reverses the telephone hearing, a dissatisfied party may appeal to the UI Board of Appeals; in most other cases, the appeals go to the Circuit Court for a judicial appeal that is based on the Lower Appeals record, i.e. NOT a “do-over from the top” but a review to determine legal errors and very gross factual errors only. Accordingly, it’s important to take the Lower Appeals hearing seriously; it’s worth it in most cases to hire an attorney or at least to consult with one.

The two main issues in unemployment cases are misconduct (of varying degrees) and voluntary quit for cause.

In a misconduct case, the employer has the burden of proof of showing conduct by the worker that either violates a fairly communicated workplace rule or otherwise manifested gross disregard for the interests of the employer. Misconduct grades run from (simple/petty) misconduct which involves a penalty of benefit “weeks”, to gross misconduct and aggravated misconduct which bar all access to UI benefits until the worker is rehired and earns through wages/salary an amount of compensation equal to a large factor of the weekly benefit pay-out.

Voluntary quit for a serious justified cause related to the job itself allows the worker to keep unemployment benefits, whereas voluntary quit for the lesser “valid circumstances” related to the job or to the worker’s personal circumstances may result in a penalty of benefit weeks. Voluntary quit for insufficient cause bars benefits entirely until a worker is rehired and earns back into the system. Sometimes, it’s a close call whether a worker quit or was terminated.

Maryland has just increased the penalties for workers who get fired for misconduct; effective March 1, 2011 the penalty will be the loss of 10-15 weeks (up from 5-10 weeks) of benefits for a misconduct firing, and a requirement to earn 25 benefit weeks (up from 20 weeks) worth of wages for a gross misconduct firing before being re-admitted to eligibility. It’s more important now than ever to consider hiring legal counsel in Maryland in a misconduct claim due to the even higher stakes for a loss.

Most Maryland attorneys do not do unemployment hearings; there’s a reason why you see advertisements for car accident lawyers and medical malpractice lawyers and DWI/DUI lawyers, but almost none for unemployment insurance lawyers. One might think that in this economy, the demand for unemployment attorneys would be very high – and demand is so high that at least one Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service in Maryland has been soliciting lawyers to take more of these cases. Legal fees in unemployment cases are capped by state regulation and a somewhat burdensome review of the bills by the Unemployment Insurance office. Accordingly, most attorneys shy away from these cases for those reasons. Fortunately, some lawyers do practice in this area in Maryland.

Four Different Ways to Hold Title to Real Property in Maryland

In Maryland there are four basic ways to hold title to a property. This may also be referred to as ways to hold tenancy.

First of all, there is “fee simple”. This can be thought of the most basic and strong way to hold property. An example of fee simple is when you buy a home by yourself. You take the title in “fee simple” and have rights to use this property as you see fit (subject to county, state, or federal regulation) and the right to convey this property. This is the most straightforward and strongest form of tenancy.

Secondly there is “tenants in common”. This is when you own a portion of a property. An example of this is when you purchase a property with a friend. Here you could both take title of the property and share the property. The interesting point of this tenancy is that you can spell out the percentage ownership. So you might own 70% and your friend might own 30%, or you might own 50% and your friend might own the other 50%. This is often used in partnership-like situations.

Thirdly there is “joint tenants with right of survivorship” (JTROS). Many people take title in this form without realizing that it is quite different from “tenants in common” (TIN). In fact, they are very different. A common example of this is when you take title with a sibling. Here you will both actually half of the property but if one of you passes away then the surviving person has all of the property. This passage upon death is the “right of survivorship”. This is sometimes used in estate planning to avoid estate issues. But remember that if you have children and own land with your sibling in JTROS, for example, upon death your half will pass to your sibling and not to your children. So it is very important that you hold title in “tenants in common” if you have children and would like your interest in property pass down rather than to your joint owner.

The final form of title is “tenancy by the entireties” “T/E”. This is much like JTROS above except that it is between a married couple. This tenancy has all the aspects of JTROS plus it has the extra benefit of protection from individual creditors. So, if a husband and wife purchase a home together, and the husband owes huge credit card debt, the credit card companies cannot come after the home because it is held as “tenancy by the entireties”. This is a vital protection in states where T/E is available. It is very important that the deed is written specifically to dictate T/E ownership. Absent specific language there may be objections raised by creditors.

Remember that the way in which title is held is very important. Always have a competent real estate lawyer verify that your deeds are written correctly.

As we see from this article there are four basic ways to hold title in Maryland.

Going Wine Tasting: Tips on Visiting Maryland’s Wineries and Vineyards

Going wine tasting is a great activity to do with friends and family. Especially, during the summer you can take your out-of-town visitors to experience Maryland’s charm. It’s better than taking them to the mall. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are visiting:

  • Tasting fees: Most places charge a tasting fee. The fee varies from place to place, but usually it is $5 per person. A tasting consist of six or more small pours of wine. A complimentary glass may be included with your tasting. Make sure you ask if you can keep the glass before taking it.
  • Bring food: Maryland wineries do not serve meals. Some offer a cheese plate, crackers, or a snack for an extra fee. Bring a lunch or heavy snacks with you. It is a long day tasting wine with nothing to eat. Most places have indoor and/or outdoor dining areas for you to enjoy your meal and the scenery.
  • Ask for the tour: Scheduled tours of the facilities and the vineyard are available. Larger vineyards have scheduled tours you can take; call in advance for the times. Several wineries are family owned, operated businesses. The family members work in the tasting rooms and are happy to answer questions about their wines. In some of the smaller vineyards if the tasting room is not terribly busy they are happy to show you around. In most cases, there is not an additional fee for this peek behind the scenes.
  • Use the bucket: You are not going to like everything you sample. Ask for the bucket. Do not be afraid to use the bucket to discard your tasting. The staff will not be offended. Life is too short to drink what you do not like.
  • Corkage fees: Once you find one you like… stay and have a glass or two. This is a leisurely activity and not a bar crawl. You can buy by the glass or by the bottle to drink at the venue. The staff will uncork the bottle without charging a corkage fee.
  • Wine clubs: If you really like the wine ask about their wine club or preferred membership. There are great benefits to becoming a member… free tastings, discounts on purchases, access to exclusive events.
  • Live entertainment: During the summer, many wineries schedule bands or have entertainment on Fridays and/or Saturdays. Posted on their websites are the entertainment schedules and the Maryland Wine Association website. Check to see if you have to buy a ticket to attend the event.

Visiting vineyards is fun activity. You can bring the family and enjoy a picnic lunch. The kids love running in the open fields. Call ahead if you have a large group to schedule your tasting. The wineries want to make sure they are able to accommodate you.

There are over 60 wineries in Maryland. More than likely there is a winery less than 30 miles from you. To find a winery near you, go to the Maryland Wine Association website (

Frequently Asked Questions About the Divorce Process in Maryland

Going through divorce is never an easy process. It doesn’t help that there’s a great deal of confusion regarding the actual legal steps and requirements along the way. This guide will offer some insight specifically into Maryland divorce FAQs for individuals and couples residing in the state.
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What are the grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland?

Maryland recognizes a handful of different grounds for absolute divorce. The first is a 12 month continuous separation period, during which the two parties have been residing separately, in separate places of abode, without martial relations or cohabitation, continuously and uninterruptedly for the entirety of the separation period. After this, a complaint for absolute divorce may be filed.
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One new avenue that applies to certain couples is that of mutual consent. With mutual consent, there is no minimum separation period. However, it only applies to parties who have no minor children in common, and those who have a signed, legal separation agreement or Marital Settlement Agreement, which has resolved all issues arising out of the marriage, including but not limited to alimony and division of marital property.
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Beyond those two, there are other grounds for divorce. These include adultery, cruelty, desertion, excessively vicious conduct, insanity, and the conviction of certain crimes whereby the party is incarcerated for three years or more.
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What’s the difference between absolute and limited divorce, as well as fault and no fault, and contested vs. uncontested divorce?
-Absolute vs. Limited Divorce: Absolute divorce is the official legally decreed end to a marriage. Limited divorce is utilized in certain circumstances, usually when the Parties cannot establish grounds for an Absolute Divorce. However, with a Limited Divorce, the marriage is not officially terminated and the Parties cannot remarry.
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-Fault vs. No Fault: There are different grounds for either fault or no fault divorce. In Maryland, the 12 month separation and mutual consent decrees are both no fault divorces, while the other grounds for absolute divorce discussed above are considered at fault.
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-Uncontested vs. Contested: Uncontested divorces are those in which the two parties have come to their own solution, either before filing for divorce, or during the divorce, whether through mediation or negotiation, by way of separation agreement or Marital Settlement Agreement.
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What are the rules for separation and separation agreements for Maryland divorce?
Separation agreements are not required in the state of Maryland, although they are helpful in certain circumstances. As far as separation periods, the 12 month separation period is one ground for absolute divorce, while mutual consent has no separation period requirement.
Of course, this has all been a very brief overview of some of the most pressing frequently asked questions about divorce in Maryland. For more information on your own case or circumstances, be sure to consult with an experienced attorney in your area who can provide you with guidance on your best course of action.

What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Maryland?

Understanding the different grounds for filing divorce in the state of Maryland is essential to anyone who is going through the process, or may be going through the process in the future. All states are different as well in regards to the laws and guidelines they have in place for divorce, which is why it’s crucial to find state-specific information for where you’re based.
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There are several specific grounds for divorce within Maryland. One of these is adultery, in which you have to prove that your spouse had the disposition and opportunity to commit adultery.
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Another grounds for divorce in Maryland is cruelty or abuse. This can be proven via a witness, or also via documentation and presented evidence, including photographs and medical records, for instance.
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There are also several other grounds for divorce in Maryland, which may be less common than the above. Constructive desertion is one, in which case you show that your spouse has deserted you for a period of at least a year. Other grounds include insanity, as well as a criminal conviction, and in both cases, there are various timelines which need to be met depending on the specifics of your circumstances.

Now, there doesn’t always need to be one of these specific grounds in order for a couple to split up and be divorced. When none of the above apply, the divorce becomes known as a no fault divorce. In this instance, the actual grounds for the divorce is a 12 month separation period. The couple must be continuously separated over this entire period and they are then able to officially file their divorce paperwork.

Maryland also has added mutual consent as one of the state’s grounds for divorce. This applies to couples who do not have children and who have put an agreement in place for how to handle all other issues to resolve the marriage in terms of property or finances. In this case, the 12 month separation period of a typical no fault divorce as specified above is no longer required.

As mentioned, it’s important to note that all of the above only specifically reflects the state of Maryland. Other states may vary quite substantially in terms of the grounds of divorce that they recognize or not, or the specific ways those grounds are defined, regulated, or enforced. Always be sure to consult with an experienced legal professional from your state and local area who can guide you through the process.

Foreclosure Statistics for the State of Maryland

Across the country, there has generally been improvement in the level of foreclosures. Of course, this varies widely on a state by state basis. In fact, most people are surprised to learn which state has the highest foreclosure rate. Currently it is Maryland which has the highest foreclosure rate in the entire country, which would not be the average first guess.

Most people associate the highest foreclosure rates with states such as Florida and Nevada, or perhaps New Jersey. All three are in the top five, along with Delaware, but it’s Maryland that outpaces them all in the wrong direction.

All of the statistics here are from RealtyTrac, and reflect the latest available data for April 2016. According to these figures, the rate in Maryland is one in every 535 homes is in foreclosure. Nationally, the figure is one in every 1,212 homes, so Maryland’s rate is more than double the countrywide rate,.19% versus.08%.

As mentioned, Maryland is followed by Delaware, with one in every 579 homes, New Jersey, with one in every 662 homes, Nevada, with one in every 702 homes, and Florida, with one in every 727 homes.

Within Maryland, there’s of course a wide disparity in foreclosure rates for different cities and counties. The five highest county rates within the state are Baltimore City, with one in every 287 homes, Prince George’s County, with one in every 357 homes, Charles County, with one in every 395 homes, Washington County, with one in every 457 homes, and Calvert County, with one in every 459 homes.

Meanwhile, Montgomery County has only in every 1,359 homes in foreclosure. Not only is that less than half the rate of Maryland as a whole, but it’s also better than the national rate. Still, digging into the city statistics, there are specific towns within Montgomery County that have far worse foreclosure rates, such as Barnesville, with one in every 89 homes in foreclosure, or Garrett Park with one in every 324 homes. That same level in disparity will be seen in other counties as well.

For homeowners who are facing foreclosure, there are many different potential courses of action to take. One may be to file bankruptcy before the foreclosure auction is completed. In this case, it may be possible to stop the foreclosure, and even to keep the home. Be sure to consult with an experienced bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney in your local area who will be able to instruct you on what’s possible, and provide you with the assistance you need.

Maryland Updates Mutual Consent Divorce Policy

The state of Maryland has already had in place what is known as mutual consent as a grounds for absolute divorce proceedings. This has proven to be beneficial for parties who opted to use it, and now, the General Assembly of the state has updated the policy to make it more inclusive and open to a larger number of people. It’s important to be aware of the updated bill, how it may apply to you, and what it means for parties headed towards divorce.

Mutual consent as it was originally introduced allowed for parties without minor children to bypass the mandated one year separation period in the state, and move straight to a final, absolute divorce. In order to do so, the two had to come to terms in a signed, written separation agreement. This agreement needed to settle all related matters to the divorce, including alimony and the division of property. Once the agreement was signed, as long as neither party filed to set it aside, the two simply needed to show up at court for the hearing and be done with the matter.

Now, the state of Maryland has updated mutual consent divorce to allow parties with minor aged children to pursue this path as well. All of the above still applies as is, however, there are key updates as well. The updates focus on the need for the separation agreement to also handle all matters pertaining to the children.

As the bill states in its exact words, “the care, custody, access, and support of minor or dependent children.” If the agreement calls for the payment of child support, then a child support worksheet must also be attached. The court now also gets a bit of a final say on matters when minor children are involved. They have to determine whether the agreement is in the best interests of the children. If they do make that determination, then the absolute divorce is granted via mutual consent.

Of course, before taking any further action it’s always best to seek out an experienced local attorney who can guide you through the process. The new provision here allows more parties in the state of Maryland to capitalize on the benefits of the mutual consent process. Mutual consent allows you to potentially move through a divorce in less time, and with less hassle and stress along the way. However, you still need to make sure you are doing things the correct way and are covering all of your bases.