Q: Is the law habitual beggar of Salisbury Maryland 21801 unconstitutional or constitutional ?
I was charged and my lawyer said it was unconstitutional I he could not convince them of it and I still got convicted you
A: The test of constitutionality of anti-begging laws can be quite complex and very fact-based. Whether the particular law in question violates the First Amendment or other constitutional prohibition would require a detailed analysis which your post does not provide a sufficient basis to do. Many anti-begging laws have been upheld under Supreme Court precedent, while other have been struck down. If Maryland's appellate courts have not reviewed the particular law (or one just like it) in question before, it is unlikely that a District Court judge would believe that they have the legal authority to rule it unconstitutional. You must appeal to the Circuit Court, and then if you lose there, appeal to the Court of Special Appeals. If this is a case of first impression at the appeals level, I imagine Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals, would want to ultimately decide the issue. Appeals are expensive and time consuming, and your lawyer may not be in a position to continue the case on appeal; however, you may be able to interest the ACLU or other similar organization (such as the Maryland Alliance for the Poor, http://mapadvocacy.org/) which might take your case and try to achieve new law on the issue.
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