Criminal law is the body of law that deals with crimes and their prosecution. It regulates social conduct and proscribes actions that are threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property, health, safety, and moral welfare of people. It includes the punishment of people who violate these laws. Criminal law varies according to jurisdiction, and differs from civil law, where emphasis is more on dispute resolution and victim compensation than on punishment.

The Law Offices of McKenzie & Tehrani is dedicated to helping people through what is often the most difficult time in their lives. When you are charged with a crime, or even being investigated or questioned by law enforcement, it is never an easy process. It can be embarrassing, intimidating, and even downright scary. Most people have no idea what to say, who to turn to, or how to handle these situations. It is simply not something you learn in school or from your parents – that is why having a lawyer that you can trust is so important. Because no two cases are the same, and no two clients have exactly the same issues or priorities, you must be able to trust that your lawyer excels at what he does, will always be honest with you, and will focus on helping you on a personal level.

When Mr. McKenzie and Mr. Tehrani started this practice, more than anything else, we were resolved to not make the same mistakes that we witnessed other lawyers make during our time working in the prosecutor’s office and as law clerks to Montgomery County circuit court judges. Too often, lawyers would approach us about their client’s case not really knowing anything about the person who had placed so much trust in their hands. The reality is that in order to fight for your client, you have to know who your client is and what is important to them. That means being available to answer questions, examine the case in detail, and simply talk about the ways in which their lives are being affected by the situation that they are in.

Our experience on both sides of the criminal justice aisle provides us with a unique insight and expertise into what it takes to come out on top both in the courtroom and when dealing with the other side. We handle cases at all levels of the criminal justice system, from federal court, state and county courts, all the way down to traffic offenses. No matter how big or small the problem facing you, the goal is that you leave the office feeling better about the situation than when you came in the door, and that at the end of the day, you can get on with your life and leave those troubles in the past.

Our practice is geared towards helping individuals and families across the Washington Metropolitan Area navigate through the legal process, minimize the effect of the legal system on their daily lives, and come out on the winning side in any legal matter. We believe in doing superior work for a fair fee, and client satisfaction and comfort will always be our top priority. This is why our motto has always been “A Personal Approach with Proven Results.” We take your case as seriously as you take the decision to hire a lawyer. Anything less is a waste of time.


If you are arrested for breaking a criminal law, the case is taken before a judge or magistrate who may issue a warrant if necessary and set bond for appearance in court. If the defendant cannot post the bond he may be incarcerated pending appearance in court. If bond is posted, he will remain free pending appearance at an arraignment. An arraignment usually occurs within 24 hours of the arrest or the first date available if on a weekend or holiday. The arraignment is held before a judge. During the arraignment the defendant is formally told what offense he is charged with, and told their constitutional rights. The defendant will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, bond may be reviewed, and a judge is assigned to the case.

A police officer may use as much force as is necessary to arrest you. However, unreasonable force is considered assault. After arrest, a police officer may handcuff you if you attempt to escape or if the officer considers it necessary to prevent you from escaping. If you claim that force was used to arrest you, a judge with decide whether or not the force used was reasonable in the circumstances.

A search warrant is an order issued by a judge that authorizes police officers to conduct a search of a specific location. Before a search warrant may be issued, there must be a showing of probable cause.

Unless the officer has a warrant, you are under no legal obligation to let the officer search your residence.

If you voluntarily consent to a search of your home, automobile or person, the officer can then conduct a full search without a warrant. Anything the officer finds during that search can later be used against you in court.

Police officers do not need a warrant to seize contraband that is in plain view if the officer is in a place that he or she has a right to be.

Example: Officer Doright is standing in your doorway talking to you about the weather. While talking, Officer Drought notices a bag of cocaine and a sawed-off shotgun on your couch. Officer Doright can legally seize these items without a search warrant because they are in plain view.

What is bail?

Bail is money or other property that is deposited with the court to ensure that the person accused will return to court when he or she is required to do so. If the defendant returns to court as required, the bail will be returned at the end of the case, even if the defendant is ultimately convicted. However, if the defendant does not come to court when required or violates his or her bail conditions, the bail will be forfeited to the court and will not be returned.

What types of bail may the court set?

  • Recognizance: This is the defendant’s written promise to appear in court on the date set and abide by the terms set by the magistrate or judge. No monetary pledge, cash deposit of security by property or professional bondsman is required.
  • Unsecured Bond: This release pending court appearance is based on the defendant’s written agreement to appear in court on the date set and abide by the conditions set by the magistrate or judge. It is backed by an agreement by the defendant to forfeit money to the court if she or he does not appear in court on the date set.
  • Secured Bond: This is secured by either a cash deposit, a pledge of real or personal property, or a pledge by a third party that the defendant will appear in court on the date set and abide by the conditions of the release. The judge may forfeit any type of security in the event that the defendant does not appear in court on the date set.

Police officers do not need a warrant to conduct a search after making an arrest. After making and arrest, the officer can legally search the person being arrested and the area in the immediate control of the person.

  • Every person who is charged by warrant is entitled to a preliminary hearing. If a person remains in jail, he or she is entitled to a preliminary hearing, usually within 10 days of arrest. If a person is released from jail on bond, he or she is entitled to a preliminary hearing within 15 days of arrest.
  • A preliminary hearing is an examination of the charge against the accused. The prosecutor must present evidence and witnesses that prove that it appears that an offense has been committed and that there is a probable cause to believe that the person accused committed the offense. The accused may cross-examine witnesses and may present evidence if he or she wishes.
  • If the judge makes a finding of probable cause after hearing the evidence, the charge is sent to the grand jury. If the judge does not find that it appears that an offense has been committed or that the accused is likely the person who committed an offense, the accused is discharged and the charge is dismissed. If the accused is discharged and the charge is dismissed after a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor may still present evidence to the grand jury to see if they will find probable cause.
  • You have the right to be arraigned without unnecessary delay after being arrested. You will appear before a judge who will tell you officially of the charges against you at your first arraignment. At the arraignment, and attorney may be appointed for you if you cannot afford one, and bail can be raised or lowered. You also can ask to be released on personal recognizance, even if bail was previously set.
  • If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you can plead guilty or not guilty at the arraignment. Or, if the court approves, you can plead nolo contendere, meaning that you do not admit guilt but you admit the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint or indictment. Legally, this is the same as a guilty plea; however, it cannot be used against you in a subsequent civil case.
  • Before pleading guilty to some first time offenses, such as drug possession in small amounts for personal use, you may want to find out if your county has any drug diversion programs. Under these programs, instead of fining you or sending you to jail, the court may order you to get counseling which can result in dismissal of the charges if you complete the counseling.
  • If misdemeanor charges are not dropped, a trial will be held later in the municipal court. If you are charged with a felony and the charges are not dismissed, the next step is a preliminary hearing.

If you are charged with a crime in Maryland, you should always seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. You may have many defenses available to you that are not obvious to you. Do not despair, help is available. There are very few situations in which we cannot help our client improve their situation. Even in situations where our clients are clearly guilty of committing a crime, we routinely get charges dropped or reduced, and punishments reduced. We are very good at securing alternatives to jail for even our most guilty clients including work release, house arrest, electronic monitoring, or community service.


We’re here to help answer your questions. Judicial matters can be complicated, our experts are on hand to help inform you of every aspect regarding your topic. We take great pride in using our expertise for you and look forward to hearing from you.


20 Courthouse Square, Suite 213, Rockville, MD 20850

Phone: (301) 209-7024



6411 Ivy Ln Suite 540, Greenbelt, MD 20770

Phone: (301) 209-7024


Natasha Garcia
Natasha Garcia
November 14, 2023.
My boyfriend was in jail for almost 1 year and I paid other Attorney's to get him released on home detention at least but all have failed until I was referred to Mr. McKenzie. He requested a bond hearing, and my prayers were answered; my boyfriend was let out on house arrest and now is able to spend the holidays with his family. Thank you so much Mr. McKenzie, we are all so grateful.
Lastdamn Time
Lastdamn Time
September 5, 2023.
Hands down the most competent and comforting experience , made a major mistake and was liable to spend a good amount of time in jail alongside other consequences. Thanks to the knowledge and wit of Joe I was able to make it out of this predicament without any problems . Thank you again Joe!
Anthony Williams (BIGGHEADTJ)
Anthony Williams (BIGGHEADTJ)
January 5, 2023.
When you are in financial distress and physical pain it is difficult to think clearly and make good decisions. That, in addition to not understanding a legal process complicates matters even more. The Law Office of McKenzie & Tehrani explained the law, outlined in clear language the steps in the process that were needed to be done. I mostly worked with Natalie and she was amazing. She was reassuring, articulate, knowable and effective. Natalie defiantly made the process so much easier and gave me peace of mind in a stressful but successful outcome. This law office was selected on recommendation from a family friend and was some of the "Best" advice I have ever received.
Jerry Berkstresser
Jerry Berkstresser
January 4, 2023.
Mr. Joe McKenzie represented me in a manner that was very caring and concerning of the outcome in my case. He did an excellent job on my court hearing in which provided me with which I feel was the best outcome I could have received. I highly recommend him for an attorney..Thank you very much.
Ben Hanson
Ben Hanson
October 21, 2022.
Absolutely solid, took care of business.
Juan Tolentino
Juan Tolentino
October 20, 2022.
Best firm in the DMV, I had a personal injury case (car accident) Natalie was super professional and my case was resolved in a timely manner. Every time I called the office Ana was super nice and helpful too. Definitely recommend them I referred a friend for a criminal case and her case got dropped on the first hearing date by the Attorneys at this firm! I’ll definitely come back if needed.
Donte Johnson
Donte Johnson
October 11, 2022.
The best lawyers in the state!.... got me off 6 different charges... including DUI and firearms... if you value a clean record and freedom look no further


Let our experience and dedication work for you.