August 28, 2012

Field Sobriety Tests

Today's DUI case was a 69 year old man from out of State. He was stopped in Baltimore County for speeding going 50 in a 30 and subsequently charged with DUI/DWI and speeding. He is alleged to have had red glassy eyes, slurred speech and poor field tests with the moderate odor of alcohol. He elected not to blow in the Government's breath box thereby electing not to give additional evidence against himself (wise decision).

The Baltimore County Police Officer, a pleasant and agreeable young man, testified that there does come a time, considering age, that field gymnastics are not appropriate tests. However, he also said that FSTs are "standardized" tests and he grades them the same whether a suspect is 18 years old or 69 years old, as in this case. Now does that seem normal to you? Does that meet the common sense test? Despite his age and ailments he was actually able to stand on one leg for 30 seconds as requested with the use of his arms for balance.

In addition to the age consideration, this pleasant client had suffered a stroke a number of years back, he had 7 eye surgeries, multiple surgeries to other parts of bodies including knees, and multiple back injections for arthritis. I requested all these medical records for Court and timely provided the records to both the Government and the Court as evidence.

After the prosecutor/Government read this evidence (ahead of the trial date), considered my client's age and his overall medical condition who thinks the Government did the right thing and dropped the charges?

You guessed it- no such luck. So up goes the cop on the stand who indicates that my older client was able to stand on one leg for 30 seconds while holding his arms out for balance (a task the absolute majority of the public can not do). The rest of the fields were as you might expect them to be, somewhat problematic. I think the officer probably understood that this guy was not impaired, but he has his arrest numbers to keep up and was just doing his job. However, that does not mean the Government/prosecutor should have cart blanche to waste tax payer money on cases like this.

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August 25, 2012

Conservative Republican legislator Dwyer Popped MD

Another hypocrite, echem....conservative lawmaker alleged to have been operating his boat DUI/DWI in Maryland with a apparent BAC of .20 or more, according to his television interview on WBAL news when he allegedly chose to run over/collide with another boat with children resulting in kids and adults going to the hospital for serious injuries. According to witnesses, on the Magothy River, Dwyer was driving like a maniac and other boats had to avoid him.

The hypocritical part about this is that he is supposed to be a conservative Maryland Delegate in the house since 2003. He is known for trying to impeach Maryland's Attorney General as a result of Maryland accepting same sex marriage certificates; naturally those attempts failed.

It is just interesting that people can stand so high on their soap box attempting to enforce their warped sense of what is right and wrong in society, yet at the very same time, they miss the very basics of what is demanded in society, which is not to blatantly break the law and/or hurt your fellow citizen.

This law maker was very quick to be wheeled outside the hospital, neck brace and all, quick to indicate that he was in no condition to give a press conference but was in satisfactory condition to ask for forgiveness and seek repentance for the atrocity that it is alleged he caused.

Having said that, from a DUI perspective, not only did he violate the rules of society by allegedly drinking and driving to a very dangerous level, he also violated the legal rules of keeping your mouth shut until you know what the hell is going one. I suppose he was making a hail mary effort to try to save his seat in the House of Delegates, but it is truly hard to imagine a scenario where he does not get kicked out of the house. You see, for the record, it is generally not good for one's resume to have a DUI (on the water OUI) that results in injured kids going to the hospital. That is a tough one to overcome.

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