Details are Important
In contrast to the last DUI case post where the cop was going out of his way to, shall I say, lie about the evidence, this DUI case in Anne Arundel County was different. This case involved a fairly serious accident where the driver drove through a guard rail and down a steep embankment darn near killing herself. Thankfully she did not hit any other cars during her interlude.
Cops arrive on scene, note the "overwhelming odor of alcohol" on her breath, ask the poor client to do the field gymnastics notwithstanding the accident and being punished by the airbag and surprisingly she does not "pass" their gym test. Things don't look great for this young professional lady.
We go to Court and I tell the government prosecutor that we would be willing to plead to a negligent driving charge and to drop the alcohol charges, he looks at me weird and says no way. (New prosecutor that does not no me.)
So the prosecutor puts his case on, calls the cop to the stand, wastes a lot of time running through irrelevant crap but fails to notice that his police officer did a shoddy job on the reports. The details of the incident are not matching on the various reports and the Judge is receptive to these incorrect details.
After the State's case (before the Defendant testifies) I threaten the State with a Motion for Acquittal and the State knows it will be granted so he now decides a plea to negligent driving is not such a bad idea after all. All alcohol charges are dropped and another happy client is returned to her family!
Take home message:
This could have been a tough case. There were some signs of alcohol consumption and there was a serious accident. However in this case, experienced counsel who knew what to look for in the record was able to show the judge that the cop did a less than capable job of drafting his reports regarding the facts of the DUI. The judge agreed and the case was ultimately dismissed. Experienced counsel in the defense of DUI cases does make a substantial difference.
Unfortunately not all judges are as intellectually honest as this one, but we applaud the majority of the judges that are willing to do their job the right way even in the face of difficult cases.