What Are Potential Defense Strategies In DUI Cases?
There are those who try to argue the science of the blood or the breath. The blood is easier to argue in terms of the chain of custody where the state needs to have the nurse that took the blood and the chain of custody done by where the blood was sent as a sample. Many times it is very difficult for them to do that and be able to produce it. As far as the Intoxilyzer test and the breath test, it is hard in our jurisdiction to get away with those arguments and they do not usually appreciate it as they may in some of the bigger cities around. In our jurisdiction, they buy into the science readily and it is very challenging to try to get somebody the change of mind that would be very expensive to hire an expert at the level that they would need to be able to do that.
Another thing that does happen is recently, in court, in Montgomery County in Rossville, I represented a young lady who left work, and she took two bottles of beer with her from work that was closed. She wrecked her car because the way the road was, or either she was tired but she had nothing to drink, in fact at the beginning, the first day of the story was, “I had nothing to drink”. We tried the case in front of the judge, it took us a whole afternoon and he found her not guilty because we were able to argue that the reasons that he saw, was poor field sobriety testing. In this case, he only did the eye test, which is what is called the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus and Maryland law has a case known as the Schultz case showing thirty-eight other things that cause Nystagmus.
In this particular case, I argued to the judge that she had a head injury, she rolled a peaky cruiser, the windshield was broken and there was glass in her hair, of course, she may have not done well on the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. This young lady was smart enough to refuse all tests including the blood test at the hospital; the only evidence they had is there was an accident and there was an odor of alcohol. Well, the odor of alcohol came from the broken bottles and we actually had one of the bottles with the top still on and the rest of the bottle broken so we were successful in having her found not guilty. She even had a prior offense and was facing jail either on this case or certainly on a violation of probation. She ended up with nothing but a failure to avoid a collision.
Aggravating Or Enhancing Factors For DUI Charges In Maryland
The hardest DUI charges to deal with are the ones where the client is driving at night, impaired and strikes another vehicle causing damage to people or property. Certainly, the people because it is a tremendous right of sympathy for the victims of those accidents and the judges are very strict in terms of the penalties given to people who would cause accidents right into the back of another vehicle. In the jurisdiction not far from ours, recently a police officer was hit and killed by a drunk driver and any kind of case that has any kind of accident is causing the judges to want to give more jail time than they normally would. Another thing that the courts absolutely hate is when you have a driver driving drunk and has a child in the booster seat in the back or kids in the car. Another case that is also very hard to deal with. There are some strategies about maybe postponing it, maybe doing more treatment, other evaluations in terms of mental health evaluations, that you could submit in to show but those are all quite challenging.
Are People Generally Intimidated Into Admission During A DUI Stop?
People generally misunderstand DUI stops. It is always late at night. It is 2 o’clock in the morning. You may have had something to drink, you are tired, you want to go home and the police officer is at this point being nice to you, but is intimidating and you are scared that they will drag you to jail. They say, “Just let me know your side of the story.” People do not realize, they just talk their way right into jail. It is very hard for people not to answer any questions, but it is always best, and maybe at a later day, we will get into what happens when the police call you and they are investigating something and they want to ask you questions. I advise clients all the time that if they were going to arrest you and they had enough evidence, they would just arrest you. They are asking you questions, they are asking for help. Do not help and make their job any easier than it already is.
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