Articles Posted in The DUI Arrest

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Forgiveness

Lance Armstrong admitted to doping this week on the Opra show. This admission comes years and years after steadfast denials of any doping during his superhuman cycling victories. In fact, he would excoriate his team members, acquaintances or anybody that indicated publicly that he had in fact doped. Unfortunately for the mighty Lance Armstrong the Federal Government got involved and had he lied under oath, he would have found himself in jail. Apparently, Lance got some good legal advice with the millions upon millions of dollars that he swindled the United States Post office and other sponsors out of and he decided on a new tactic, the truth. At this juncture there will be countless lawsuits and probably a bankruptcy thereafter.

Should Lance be granted forgiveness like many before him who have “come clean” after falling prey to human infirmity? I don’t think so. Lance had absolutely no desire or willingness to come clean at any point, it was only after the Federal Government got involved and he faced the unenviable specter of having to testify under penalty of perjury that he realized he was going to have to admit or go to jail. It was then that he elected the lesser of two evils and decided to admit his wrong doing nearly a decade after his indiscretions and vehement denials.

Conversely, in the local paper this week Maryland has its own star of sorts, DUI defendant and delegate Don Dwyer back in the public eye. Mr. Dwyer was all to eager to come forward while still in the hospital after crashing his boat into another boat on the Magothy River in Maryland. In doing so, he injured four children who were enjoying their afternoon boating with their grandfather. Mr. Dwyer jumped on this early opportunity to tell the public that he had a severely elevated BAC and that he was sorry for this egregious transgression.
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Your driving down the street and see this sign on the side of the road reminding you not to drink to excess and drive or you will be arrested for DUI in Maryland. The signs are everywhere, on the beltway, in front of the police stations (like this one which I snagged) even on the radio and television. Being the responsible member of the community you are, you decide you will not drink to excess and drive, you will stay away from that all telling .08. You will limit your big night out to two drinks and you will be well under the legal limit and all will be well.

On your drive home however, you are stopped by deputy DUI enforcer because your license plate light is burnt out and the next thing you know, you are being arrested for DUI, all you remember hearing is your field tests were not good because it was 25 degrees outside and their were tornado like winds blowing. You think to yourself, well I only had two drinks so what is the problem? Heck, I only blew a .05 well within the legal limit so why am I at the police station with handcuffs on? Well, unfortunately, the Maryland State legislature and your local police department forgot to tell you one itty bitty little important fact and here it is right from the Maryland State Trooper’s mouth:

 

 

In other words, what this Trooper is trying to tell you is the cops can pull you over for anything at all, like a burnt out tag light or a momentary crossing of the white shoulder line and then arrest you for DUI/DWI. At the police station if you blow as low as a .03 or .04 they can and will charge you with DUI/DWI and you will be forced to secure a qualified DUI lawyer to defend yourself in Court. All that would be alright if the police and the law markers would take the time to explain to the motoring public what the actual state of the law is so a Maryland driver can at least make an informed decision before getting behind the wheel.

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Remember, ANY “vehicle” is good enough to get you popped for a DUI in Maryland; yes that includes lawn mowers, horses or anything else that is capable of moving people. Here are a few worthwhile concepts to bear in mind before you go out drinking and utilize your horse or lawn mower as transportation.

Definition of Drive (Transportation 11-114)

Drive means to driver, operate, move or be in actual physical control of a vehicle, including the exercise of control over the steering of a vehicle being towed by a motor vehicle. This means you do not have to be “driving” to be arrested for DUI. Simply being in or about your car could be enough to get you trouble. If you’re sleeping one off in your car don’t sit in the driver’s seat, because if you do, the chance of being construed to be “in control” is increased.”

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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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Just a reminder that .08 BAC does not mean that is the legal limit for a DUI arrest. As I have previously written, the police will not hesitate to arrest on any number if they are having a slow night, or their non-existent quotas have not been met for the month.

I am presently in Ocean City Maryland because yesterday I was called upon to defend a pleasant young man attending college that blew a .05 and was driving on a flat tire. He was nervous when he did the field sobriety tests so they were not perfect, but then again, they never are according to the men in blue. Anyway, this cop made a point in his arrest report of writing six different times, “the defendant had the STRONG smell of alcohol.” This appeared 6 times in two pages. It was almost funny because I haven’t seen an instance of the cop trying to guild the lilly this bad in many years.

After the cop arrests my client and drags him to the station, and notes the “strong smell of alcohol” in his police cruiser (probably coming from the cop and not my client) the cop proceeds to hook him up to the breath machine and gets that all important alcohol number. …..whoops, it was only .05!! Now what?

What is a cop to do after he has made such a stunning arrest and documents the overwhelming odor of alcohol, despite the defendant telling Mr. Cop the truth, that he only had two beers? Well, that’s easy, tell the Defendant to sit still while they call the DRE or drug cop to gather more overwhelming evidence.
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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.

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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.

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In my last blog post I indicated that we had another .05 BAC DUI case pending in the District Court. While not totally unusual, it is unfortunate. People are often times surprised to learn that they can be and probably will be, arrested and charged with DUI if they blow a .05.

You see, the Government has a slogan, “over the limit under arrest”; it is well known that the legal limit in this Country is .08. The problem, as I have previously written, is that this information is misleading. In fact, you can be charged with DUI for ANY number that the investigating officer (I/O) feels like arresting. Ie., he can arrest any person that he feels may help his arrest numbers at the end of the month, even if the driver’s BAC is .04 or .05 (half the legal limit). Mind you that the Maryland State Law is written that a .05 BAC or lower yields a presumption that the person is NOT intoxicated. But have no fear, if you catch an officer on a bad day or possibly without enough arrests for the month, you’re going in.

So getting back to the case…..
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Holy smoke!

It’s tough enough to deal with the police on their rampage to stop all DUI drivers and drivers in general for their illegal activity of driving on Maryland roads, however in some cases, people just bring problems on themselves.

In this brilliant story, the PASSENGER was taken to the station when his driver was arrested because he was too drunk to drive. Apparently the passenger became indignant about the fact that his drunk butt was in the station, even after he was set free, he went about the business of urinating on a sign outside the station and is alleged to have “kicked” the sign he was peeing on.

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The holiday season is upon us which means party, party, party; which actually translates into eat, drink, eat, drink. Please be reminded during this season to either limit the drinking, appoint a designated driver or take a cab! It is so much easier and less expensive to pay a cab then it is to retain us for a serious DUI charge.

As a reminder, the police are out there in force and boy do they love making DUI arrests. I was defending a client today who suffers from MS. She was stopped by the police and they apparently smelled alcohol on her breath. Because of her medical condition she was unable satisfactorily perform the field sobriety tests and because she was so emotional at the arrest, she was unable to adequately blow in the machine. She was charged with a refusal to blow as well as all the DUI citations.

We defended this nice young lady at the Administrative hearing where the MVA was attempting to take her license. We won that hearing and thus the MVA was unable to sink it’s claws into her license. I appeared in Court today and after much debate, I was able to have all the alcohol charges thrown out; a positively wonderful result for our client.
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