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The 4th Amendment to the United State’s Constitution protects all citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures, that includes one’s home, car and automobile. An officer may however stop a vehicle if they believe they have reasonable articulable suspicion that a crime is being committed, ie. Speeding or Drunk Driving. A traffic stop is generally a “warrantless” stop meaning that the officer must meet the criteria of “reasonable articulable suspicion” before pulling over a motorist an impeding on their 4th Amendment right to be free of police stops.

This is a very significant issue that may have a bearing on your dui or non-dui arrest. A seasoned attorney will be well versed in whether a traffic stop passes Constitutional evaluation or fails and therefore should be thrown out. This is why it remains imperative to retain effective counsel in all cases.

Just this week during trial I was able to secure a Not Guilty on a very significant DUI because of a bad stop. It was raining and my client was driving on the beltway at a speed that was 5 miles per hour less than the speed limit. It was late at night so it was obvious that the officer thought my client was impaired. However outside of the slow speed my client committed no traffic violations. An officer can pull someone over for going to slow but they must prove that the drivers speed impeded traffic or wasn’t reasonable given the road condition. The officer while on the stand during trial said that he pulled my client over for a well being check. He said he wanted to make sure my client was ok. When asked why he pulled him over for that and not a traffic violation the officer said he didn’t think he had enough evidence to pull over for a traffic violation.

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Reasons why a multiple DUI offender should hire the best DUI attorney they can.

Hint: All DUI lawyers are not created equal.

Most multiple DUI offenders believe that the judge is going to throw the book at them no matter what they do in preparation for their DUI trial. That is to say, they know things do not look good and many presume nothing can be done to fix or mitigate the situation. This is not true and is fatalistic to your case. Yes, judges are not looking to give a defendant with multiple prior DUIs a break, but with aggressive and knowledgeable defense counsel, sometimes things can work out far better then expected.

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Understand the Strict Law that applies to lawfully “sleeping it off” and avoiding a DUI in Maryland

Have you ever made the intelligent decision after leaving a bar or a friends place that you may have had too many drinks to drive safely? What to do next? The intelligent thought would be to find a place to park and sleep it off.

However, despite the good thinking, from a legal perspective you must be careful. Maryland law is unfortunately strict about what counts as legally “sleeping it off” v. what counts as “physical control” and thereby exposing you to a DUI/DWI. The controlling case in Maryland speaking to the shelter doctrine is Atkinson. The Court in Atkinson determined they did not desire to punish a Maryland driver who knew he should not be driving and made the safe choice to sleep it off.

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DUIs and Troubling Trends in Carroll County, Maryland

The new State’s Attorneys regime in Carroll County is acting with little respect towards the legal process and the bench, at present, is letting them get away with it. We were in Court for trial last week for what was a rather innocuous DUI case. We were there to try the case as there were several triable issues.   When I approached the prosecutor she made an offer on the case. I told her it is a trial and to let me know when her officers arrive. The prosecutor agreed and we all waited.

Later on the prosecutor approached me and offered the lower DWI count as a plea deal. I asked her why she was doing that; she said her officer is unavailable. She then said that if we do not take her offer that she will just drop the charges and re-file. I told her to do what she needs to do but that she is setting a dangerous precedent by handling the case this way.

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How to get arrested for DUI in Maryland when not driving a car:

After an accident the police show up to sort out the details; but what if the cops smell alcohol on somebody’s breath and charge them with DUI without carefully determining who was actually driving the car? That is what happened on our case this week. Our client was involved in an auto accident and the police somehow surmised that our client was driving when in reality he was not the driver. Then the case becomes a matter of the State trying to prove the Defendant was the driver and the defense proving it was somebody else.

Sometimes the actual driver of the vehicle blames the other person for driving and the officer then makes a judgment call as to who was driving. Generally when a client tells me that they weren’t driving they continue with a “friend” was driving. I proceed to tell them that I need to speak with the friend. It is at this point that the client decides his friend is unavailable or the friend simply never shows at the DUI trial. I set up a case review with this client a month before trial and strangely the “friend” actually showed up.

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More states are legalizing marijuana, either for medical use or recreational use. As of 2014, only two states fully legalized it for all users – Colorado and Washington – but 18 states allow it for medical reasons. Even if you don’t partake of it, it can still affect you.

It’s important to understand its effects on the insurance and banking industries, since more states are likely to begin the legalization process in the coming years.

Auto Insurance

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The eyes of the nation are slowly opening and looking kindly upon the legalization of Marijuana thanks to people such as Dr. Gupta of CNN News and Houston’s Police Chief Charles McClelland. Dr. Gupta has been a trusted and ubiquitous voice in medical affairs for many years now. His initial position was against the legalization of marijuana but after further careful study his views have changed. His view is shared by the enlightened public and many of those that do not have a financial interest in the outcome of this debate. Increasing numbers of law enforcement can also be heard to echo the same sentiment. In this case, Houston’s own top cop.

How in the world could law enforcement adopt such a liberal and dubious position? It’s easy, not only is it the right, correct, and equitable thing to do but it also saves tremendous financial resources among the states and the nation. Since marijuana became the target of law enforcement decades ago, millions of dollars across the nation have been wasted in the pursuit, arrest and incarceration of users and sellers alike.

Interestingly, it is becoming apparent in the medical community that not only does marijuana possess health benefits to many sick individuals it is also a victimless substance for recreational use. As for the medical uses, naturally big pharma will throw its considerable financial weight around in order to deny people this inexpensive drug in lieu of expensive pharmaceuticals; they have been successful up to this point in time. Happily as a result of Dr. Gupta and other medical expert’s opinions in this field, big Pharma is in the process of losing this battle. One which they will no doubt ultimately yield on while they move on to their next profit making market.

Having recognized their dwindling interest in this area we now move on to the more logical law enforcement perspective…
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5 Reasons Why Colorado Legalized Marijuana

Legalizing Marijuana, for medical or recreational use, has been a topic of debate for quite some time. Until recently, however, few regions have made drastic moves to change the drug’s legal status. Colorado and Washington have done just that, erasing prohibitory statutes which have traditionally made use and possession of the drug a crime.

Morality weighs-in to the arguments – both for and against. Proponents of legalization consistently point out the mundane nature of the drug, as well as the potential to save significant money by law enforcement by decriminalizing pot. Those clinging to the status quo, however, see marijuana as a gateway drug capable of leading users to harder drugs like methamphetamine and heroin. As such, prohibiting its use is seen as a moral obligation to those staunchly opposed to legalization. Countless studies however tend to show that this “sky is going to fall in” thought process is not correct. In fact, Dr. Gupta from CNN has now changed his own position on this important matter and now suggests that marijuana is not the evil gateway drug that the conservatives like to suggest it is. In fact, when factoring in the reality of what marijuana is against a similar substance like alcohol, and then factoring in the overwhelming cost of law enforcement detection against the taxable revenue, it becomes a no brainer for which most if not all states will jump on in years to come.

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As know from all the news outlets, one of the exciting new laws in 2014 is that Colorado has decided to legalize marijuana as of the first of this year. It is now legal for authorized stores to sell up to an ounce of marijuana to anyone over the age of 21. Non-residents of Colorado can also purchase up to ¼ ounce, but are not allowed to transport it across state lines. You still can’t smoke it in public however, no car, no bar, etc. You must do so in the privacy of your own home; a small price to pay for the enlightened view.

Colorado’s stance on marijuana is both progressive and smart. Many states, such as Maryland, are still not ready to make the big jump yet, but they will! Maryland, like other states are waiting to see how the law pans out before they legalize. It’s only a matter of time before Maryland jumps on the pot wagon because of the only driving force moves governments, money. You see, the money that has been thrown into the system to halt marijuana use, importation, criminalization, and enforcement, is staggering. Nothing more then a tremendous waste, year after year.

Now Colorado is being more then progressive by turning the tables. Instead of wasting money to attempt to stop something that can’t be stopped they are now condoning it and more importantly, taxing it! The money that Colorado will make from this move, plus the money they will save by not wasting more money in enforcement will amount to a small fortune. Kudos to Colorado for having the insight to see the smart play and for having the backbone to make it happen! They deserve all the extra revenue from their residents and out of state visitors alike. The other Johnny come lately states will ultimately move when they see the money that they are losing and when they determine that marijuana is no worse then alcohol and most respects better, just ask Dr. Gupta from CNN. The situation reminds me of the Edward Snowden debacle. The government over reaches on it’s citizens, the whistle is blown, changes are made to the system as a result of Mr. Snowden yet the government still wants to convict him. Hmmm, a real head scratcher. But that is a blog for a different day.
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Just finished a successful trial in Baltimore City using Ipad/wireless/projector/screen. Case went well- back up plan was very necessary and learned some VERY important lessons for everybody! Here they are:

1. If your Ipad has 3G capability through Verizon or ATT then yes, you can use its hotspot capability as the network tool to create a network with Apple TV and thus demonstrate on a projector or a TV. I used a projector in this particular case. You do not need to have a 3G signal (ie. Internet) in order for this to work apparently.

2. Now, what they don’t tell you is that when your hotspot is turned on and idle (not being used, in sleep mode/suspended) you are drawing data from your plan. I did not know what. Then, to complicate matters, when you suspend your Ipad by pressing the top button to go to lunch or to go home for the day, unless you physically turn off the hotspot switch in settings, you are idle and STILL using data according to the Verizon lady.

Obviously, when you are doing your demonstration you are also using data. So the problem comes in when you leave the hotspot on for the evening and come back the next day (as I did) and then when you are in trial and just about ready to close BOOM, the hotspot can (and did) turn off and say you are out of data- so sorry. It takes significant back and forth to get more data up and running and to get the Ipad back up, so in my trial I was out of luck as far as wireless signal- 5 minutes before GO time.
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