Question: What are some common tactics that you use to get a DUI case reduced or dismissed in Maryland?
Answer: In dealing with DUIs, in a nutshell, to get them reduced, we have copious and in-depth discovery that we file against the state prosecutors, number one. It goes far in depth than what normal practitioners might have. So, we file that. In addition to that, we always demand the presence of the breath technician in court. And we’ve always done that, sort of since the beginning of practice in this area, which is a practice that other counsels now tend to follow, because if you demand the presence of the breath tech or the blood tech folks in court and they don’t show up, then those numbers are staying out of evidence automatically. And then if those numbers stay out of evidence, then half the house of cards has now fallen and now they’re just left with whatever you did on a field sobriety test, if, in fact, you did do the field sobriety test. So, these are some initial ways to defend against these cases. And then we can get a more sophisticated or as sophisticated as a client wants us to get in terms of potentially bringing in experts. If we want to bring in a breath tech expert or something of this nature, which, unfortunately, has some cost to it because experts need to fly in from out of state and be part of the case over some period of time and then appear in court.
There can be some expense involved with that. At the same time, there are many different ways, and many different things to do to attack cases and many different outcomes which may be acceptable to a client without having to spend ridiculous amounts of money. Albeit, some clients may elect to spend whatever it takes to try to defeat a case. So, there are a number of different avenues; these are only but a few. It’s really case-specific. You have to look at each individual case and see where the weaknesses are: Was the stop weak? Were the field sobriety tests weak? Was the testing done inappropriately? Was the 20 minutes observed? Were all the paperwork and the rights properly read? What was the technique and the process followed for the breath test? Or was it a blood test? And is custody an issue or not an issue of the blood? Was it a hospital blood draw, a police blood draw? Was all the maintenance documentation in order on the breath machine? You know, I could go on and on and on and on about it. It’s really a case-by-case basis. We have to pick it apart, we have to see where the issues are.
At least when you use experienced DUI counsel, we know what all the issues are to look for, and then we have to figure out where the weaknesses are, as opposed to people that don’t specifically focus on this type of work and may not be able to recognize the issues to be looking at.