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But I’m not guilty……I have rights!

I can go to dinner Saturday night and have two drinks and not worry about driving home. I won’t be drunk and therefore I won’t have any DUI/DWI issues. I live in America and in this country we have rights! We are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and that applies to all cases, even DUI/DWI cases in Maryland.

Well, you might want to think twice about that. First of all, I have to say it’s probably not safe to even have two drinks and drive home; depending on the size and quality of those two drinks; it could be enough to get you in hot water. One drink, one lousy drink is enough to get you arrested, but chances are even in the present climate they might let you go at one. The thing is, if the officer smells alcohol on your breath, that’s it, he’s more likely than not going to arrest you. Their standard question is, “have you had anything to drink tonight?” You say yes, that’s it- field sobriety tests and a ride to the station. You say no, and if he smells it, same result. I (like most DUI defense attorneys) am not an advocate of the field sobriety tests or police coordination exercises as I like to call them. These exercises are engineered for you to fail so I do not recommend to my clients to engage in their exercises, which they “grade” in order to find a reason for them to arrest you.

But anyway, that is not the subject of this entry. This post is about being arrested, blowing below a .08, being charged and going to court. You might find it interesting to note that the world is against DUI drivers, juries and judges are against DUI drivers however, you now have another entity to deal with in court in your pursuit for justice. MADD is now the recipient of a $400,000.00 grant from the Federal Government to “monitor” DUI cases in New Mexico. It is their job to sit in court and “monitor” what the trained prosecutors and elected judges are doing in court with these cases; as if the prosecutors and the judges were not under enough pressure to convict, convict, convict. Did you know that our elected jurists and the government selected prosecutors, who have all earned legal degrees and must have impeccable credentials, require “monitoring” from some third party organization who wishes the Constitution was never drafted and considers defense lawyers protecting your rights as American citizens to be a part of the DUI problem?

I was in court in Howard County Maryland last week on a DUI. I walked up to the prosecutor’s desk to tell them we were ready for trial. While I was talking to the prosecutor, sitting right on the desk in front of me was a fire engine red business card stating “MADD Court liaison”. I said to the prosecutor, what the hell is this! Right here in our home state of Maryland, MADD is sitting in court and “monitoring” what our elected jurists are doing with DUI/DWI cases. Now we enjoy an open system of justice in America, court rooms are open and anybody is welcome inside to listen. However, I don’t recall seeing any other organization’s representative at a murder, rape, arson or first degree assault case. They apparently are only interested in making their presence known in DUI cases.

The majority of DUI cases originate from low BAC numbers of.10 and less. Remember the legal limit used to be .10 until MADD, through its lobbying machine, leaned on the Federal Government enough to reduce it to .08. Additionally, it won’t be long until the number gets reduced further, to probably .05. Many cases that I see are in the range of .05 to .08 yet they are all charged the same. I have a .02 coming up this week, the driver was charged with DUI and had a .02! The cop said the Defendant was slurring his words. I suppose the cop failed to notice he spoke with a very strong accent as he is from Turkey.

The point is, now that MADD is being paid very significant money to “monitor” court proceedings and even in those localities, like Maryland where they may not be receiving big money, (yet), I wonder if there is any influence being exerted on our elected Judges sitting on the bench or on the government prosecutors hearing these DUI cases?

Next time you are contemplating being an American, having legal rights, and being innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, you might wish to think twice.

For me, it’s one drink and that’s it….