Funny thing happened to me while I was in DUI Court today. My client was facing a pending jail sentence so we went to Court to try to change that; we were successful and kept him out of jail. Another satisfied client; but, that is not the reason for this post. The reason for the post is one of Howard County's men in blue was present in the Court room and he asked where my blog articles were, the officer said "you have not posted anything in a while". I asked him, do you actually read what I post regarding DUI and drunk driving. He said "we do".
Wow! The police actually read what we have to say, that's great. Maybe it helps on all sides, maybe it helps get better behavior on both sides of the DUI equation. Maybe not, maybe it only helps them be tougher on the DWI Defendants. Either way, our goal here is to seek fairness on both sides of the DUI equation so Defendants can be treated fairly in Court. Unfortunately, there are many Courts in Maryland where a Defendant is guilty merely because s/he walked into the Courtroom.
That means, citizens should know their legal rights and utilize them as they see fit. That means, knowing that one does not have to do a field sobriety test at a DUI stop and knowing that anything they do can and will be used against them in Court. Knowing that right, and then electing to perform roadside gymnastics is totally up to the person. However, not being coerced into incriminating oneself is an important Constitutional Right that we all share.
Then comes that pesky breath machine. Do I blow? Do I not blow? I get asked that question everywhere I go. It's an important question which does not have a simple answer to fit all people. The answer changes based upon individual circumstances. However, it is refreshing that the police are required to advise you of your legal rights before asking a Defendant to make that important decision. You also have the right to communicate with an attorney prior to making that decision. Refreshingly, most police officers will let you exercise that right. Those that do not will suffer the consequences of that decision in Court.