March 17, 2012

Whoops there goes another Cop- arrested for DUI

This time it is a CHP or California Highway Patrol Officer, arrested on felony DUI charges following a car accident that she caused, resisting arrest, assaulting fellow officers, and using profanity towards her brothers attempting to effectuate the arrest on her lame ass.

I really don't get this, not at all. I tell clients and or people at large, not to get into it with the police, it is a losing proposition on the street. Besides, they are just doing their job, most of them. On the street, in the cloak of darkness, the police win, you lose! If there are any issues to be determined, you do that in court, NOT on the street. This situation, however, is insane because it is a police officer that is driving at a BAC over twice the legal limit, number one, causing a big accident, number two, and then assaulting officers, number three. That is the best way to get your ass kicked if you're not a cop and maybe even if you are a cop.

Being that this lady is a decorated officer of the law, she knows better than to do any of the foregoing. It is truly hard to explain, other then being a complete idiot. Anyway, my guess is that this officer is probably an alcoholic because she was functioning, albeit poorly, with a BAC of .20 and once you get that first drink or two down, the drinks just keep coming, then things spiral out of control quickly to the point of acting like a complete lunatic.

My position, as an experienced DUI attorney, is that the drinking and driving limit should be a shocking .00. Why you ask? Why so restrictive and untenable? Easy, the .08 legal limit is a fallacy. If you blow a .08 you get arrested right? But the dirty truth that they don't tell you is that if you blow a .07, .06., .05 you STILL get arrested and charged! Officer's complete discretion. And seeing how the officers get overtime for coming to court to prosecute the case and seeing as how the officers get browny points for maintaining quotas/arrests, the driver is going to be arrested in every case. However, have no fear, despite it being the right thing to do, the restaurant lobby would never permit it to happen as they would lean heavily on our lawmakers and our lawmakers would never succumb to such lunacy as doing something that makes sense, clarifies the law and helps the community at large.

If you have more then ONE drink, you are susceptible to being arrested if stopped and chances are more likely than not that you will be arrested, even way below the golden .08. Secondly, when people are laboring under the mistaken impression they can have maybe 3 drinks before getting to .08, they tend to loosen up and lose their discipline and go beyond that; which is what happened in this case. Assumably as a decorated officer, this person knew not to drink the volume that she consumed, but after the first 2-3 drinks, she lost control and kept right on going, resulting in the arrest and the stupid behavior.

Therefore, if the actual BAC limit is more like half of .08, closer to .04 which is one to two drinks, wouldn't it be much easier to say no tolerance, zero limit? If you intend on driving, DO NOT drink at all. It then becomes clear for all parties without confusion and we get to avoid idiots like this who clearly know better, but cannot control themselves. But then again, if we took this tough, clear stance, where would the government make the loss of income that it makes from these cases? Where would the police make up their loss of income from the overtime? What would the court personnel be left to do in the absence of all the DUI cases? What would all the defense counsel do with all their extra time? What would all the court's DUI probation staff do in the absence of these cases?

I suppose the safety of the motoring public throughout this country just doesn't rank high enough when factored against these overpowering elements and the likes of the pesky restaurant lobby.

March 15, 2012

How to Hire a DUI Lawyer

I just came across this article Three mistakes when hiring a DUI lawyer . I thought it might be beneficial to my DUI readers.

In a nutshell it says to watch out for

1. lack of experience
2. lack of knowledge and
3. lack of commitment.

I could not agree more with the theme of the article. In any jurisdiction there are a handful of attorneys that specifically focus their practice on the defense of DUI cases. These attorneys know the nuances of DUI law, they know which judges are descent to work with and importantly, which judges simply cannot be worked with and must be avoided at all costs. Choosing any old lawyer or a family lawyer or a friend's lawyer to defend a matter as important as a DUI, without knowing the lawyer's experience level and dedication to DUI defense is foolish. Put another way, you would not hire your family doctor to give you a heart transplant, right? DUI offenses have long term consequences for people that effect many different aspects of one's life; therefore, you must get this right.

Lawyer commitment to the client is a crucial consideration as well. Too many lawyers out there simply do not give a hoot about their clients and thus a client cannot get their lawyer on the phone. Many lawyers are like that. Ironically my experience with lawyers has been similar. Occasionally, when I have needed to consult a lawyer for one thing or another I find that when I reach out, you can't get them on the phone immediately, they don't return phone calls and they are pompous. Refreshingly, this firm has never done things that way and that is, in part, why we are a successful DUI defense firm. Lawyers are busy in court, but they should be able to get back to you if not the same day, at least within 24 hours. If you cannot speak with your attorney, and get prompt answers to your important questions, you have the wrong attorney!

As for this firm, our lawyers are always available to speak with out clients, we realize the importance of the matter and the importance of prompt communication. One clear advantage that we provide to our clients is regular evening and weekend appointments.

It's astounding how many firms close their doors at 5pm. We do not operate that way, at 5pm we're just gearing up. Most nights of the week we are here hours beyond 5pm and available to the clients. We are also routinely available on weekends for consultations following an arrest. Few other firms offer that level of service, we feel it is important however to extend that simple courtesy.

Continue reading "How to Hire a DUI Lawyer" »

March 10, 2012

Guest Blog Post regarding DUI rights and arrest

The Maryland DUI laws can be complex, and for the average average person, utterly confusing. The truth is that most of us enjoy having a drink every now and then. That does not make you or me an irresponsible citizen. Too bad for us that the police officers on the roads do not care about all of that, and would stop at nothing to arrest you.

The other thing about getting booked for DUI is the fact that more often than not, you are not aware of your rights, as the officers do not even bother to read them out to you. The first thing after being pulled over and asked to step out of the car is to be asked to take the breathalyzer test. That's how it goes, doesn't it? No, but most people comply with this request thinking that it is the norm.

You have the right not to take any test before you speak to a lawyer. The officer, pressed to make an arrest, will conveniently not tell you this, and will shove the test in your face. Also, it is important to keep in mind that whatever you say will be admissible in a court of law, and it is vital not to answer any questions before speaking to a legal representative.

The Maryland DUI carries heavy fines, up to six months of jail time, and a loss of your driving license. Education is vital, and being assertive and standing up for your rights is a non-negotiable aspect, and under no circumstances should you let a police officer bully you just so that he can write you up.

The legal limit is .08, which translates to 2-3 drinks. Now, the thing about the Field Sobriety Tests is that they are not designed to be in your favor. A request that most people fail to make is to ask to take these tests again after being arrested. You can ask for another Field Sobriety Test as provided by the law. These are things that most of us ignore are not even aware of, since the information is not in the public domain. This only comes to light when you get arrested, and after being charged and taken to court for your hearing, and having to be defended by a lawyer, and winning or losing the case, depending on the abilities of your attorney.

One other thing that I would like to point out is that you need to be familiar with the Miranda Rights. The police are not required to read you these rights upon arrest, but this fact can be used in your favor. When you get pulled over, the natural reaction for most people is to tense up and panic. Police officers know this and use this opportunity to ask you whether you have been drinking. If you say no, and you have the slightest hint of alcohol in your breath, then you're in trouble. At the same time, if you say yes, it's as good as an admission of guilt. The right thing to do in this case would be to simply say that you have been advised not to answer that question at that time. This is the whole premise of the Miranda Rights, which afford you the right not to say anything lest it be used against you in a court of law.

Continue reading "Guest Blog Post regarding DUI rights and arrest" »

March 9, 2012

Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Evidence fails Court's Test

A very important and favorable decision was recently released by the Circuit Court in Carroll County, Maryland. The opinion was the culmination of many DUI cases which utilized drug recognition testimony (DRE) to assist in the conviction of drivers thought to be impaired by drugs, as opposed to alcohol.

DRE evidence is seriously sketchy evidence offered by the State and garnered by members of the local police department that are known as DRE's. The individuals are "trained" in about one week to identify persons that are under the influence of drugs by looking at their eyes, taking their pulse, feeling their skin, listening to them speak, possibly asking them to engage in roadside gymnastics (Field Tests) and various other methods. The most important of which is asking them "what drugs have you recently taken?" After that last question, miraculously the police DRE comes up with a diagnosis of what drug the defendant is on.

Needless to say, this DRE testimony is largely a huge bucket of crap and up to this point, too many judges and or juries have been bombarded with this garbage science and charged with the responsibility to convict Defendants. Part of the DRE examination is similar to the field sobriety tests which defendants are called upon to perform late night on the roadside; also a huge load of crap and perhaps now more eyes will be opened to this junk evidence and perhaps more courts will exclude the evidence.

The Carroll County Court held a lengthly hearing on the matter hearing from many experts on both sides of the fence. All the best was brought to bear by both the State and Defense. The Court, after considering the case for an extended period of time and hearing from all the experts came up with the only logical conclusion possible, this DRE evidence is crap and should not be allowed to persuade our juries. It will be interesting to see if Maryland's higher Courts are called upon to review the matter, which would only further crystalize this wonderful and long awaited opinion. For more information see State of Maryland v. Brightful, et al. http://