Driver Acquitted of Striking a Bicyclist
Apparently the bicyclist had a bit of a history. When I ran his name on the criminal database search available in Maryland, he came back with two pages of criminal charges. He was apparently incensed that this lady did not suffer criminal charges. He contacted the officer many times requesting that he issue a citation and the officer denied that request. He pulled rank and went to the officer's Sgt. who also denied the request. He went to the lieutenant who capitulated and the officer wrote citations against my client.
My client was charged with the following:
1. Failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
2. Failure to stop after an accident
These are somewhat serious charges. They carry jail time and of course points on your driving license.
The case was called for trial and everyone showed up. I told the prosecutor not to drop the charges because I was concerned that the bicyclist would go after this prosecutor going all the way up to John McCarthy, the state's attorney for Montgomery County. At trial the state proved that the victim was riding a bicycle in the crosswalk when he was struck. They also proved that my client remained at least 3 min. and probably more than 5 min. stopped at the scene after the accident.
At the close of the state's case I argued to the judge that a bicyclist is not a pedestrian and that is clearly defined in the Maryland code. A pedestrian is somebody who is "afoot" (is a bicyclist somebody who is "abike"?) The judge threw out that charge immediately. I further argued that the state proved in their case that my client did stop after the accident. Under the statute it requires the driver to stop. It does not say how long the driver needs to stop. Arguably, one second is enough. Clearly at least 3 min. is enough. Again the judge threw out the charge.
Not surprisingly, the bicyclist began haranguing the prosecutor and almost needed to be escorted out of the courthouse by the bailiffs.
All that being said, I do not condone driving away after an accident. My client should have been charged with hit and run and failing to provide proper identification and failing to provide assistance. That would've made the case tougher. For whatever reason, she was not charged with the correct crimes and she is acquitted as she should be. If you have an accident, you should remain at the scene, exchange information, give aid and assistance and just be a decent human being.
Montgomery County public library has many online resources
Go to www.MontgomeryCountyMd.gov. At some point it will ask for your library card number, put that in.
Go to the most popular page
click on a-Z electronic resources
click on M
click on Masterfile Premier
Go to the Blue Bar and Click on Publications
in the second search box type in Consumer Reports
click on Consumer Reports
you can search within this publication or each individual year
When you find your general topic look to the left and open up the PDF. You will have the complete article.
Bonus points to the individual who finds the article that describes how to rate a law firm.
Tree Sap Acquits My Client
My client was charged with theft of the all-terrain vehicle even though the theft had occurred 17 months earlier.
The prosecutor refused to drop the case. The defendants appeared three times in District Court and each time the case was continued for one reason or another. Finally we requested a jury trial. Still the prosecutor would not drop the case. I could not understand how they would prove this case? They provided the discovery information and there was nothing else in it. My client did not admit to stealing the all-terrain vehicle. There were no witnesses who could prove that he stole it from the house. My client had told the police officer that he and his friends had seen deer in the woods and followed the deer into the woods and came upon this vehicle. The vehicle appeared to be abandoned and in a ditch and so they took it. There was no license plate on the vehicle. There was no evidence that the vehicle had recently been driven. The ignition had not been popped.
At trial the owner of the vehicle testified that his vehicle was stolen from his home in February 2008. In July of 2009 he was contacted by the police and he went down to identify his vehicle. He took his keys along. When he saw the vehicle. On cross examination I want to establish that the vehicle was abandoned. The owner admitted that the vehicle was covered in tree sap. The owner admitted that the engine was cool to the touch which would suggest that the vehicle had not recently been started. It was determined that my client and his friends had no riding gear with them-no motorcycle helmets, boots, etc. All of this was consistent with what my client had told the officer that they had found it and it seemed abandoned.
The officer testified that the situation seemed suspicious. I could not figure out how this was suspicious. The license plate on the car was legitimate. My client's driver's license was legitimate. I think what seemed suspicious is that you had four Hispanic men in a van. Strangely, the judge found this to be sufficiently suspicious to allow the officer to further investigate. The judge was troubled with the officer's order to remove the van because the judge could not see how the officer had probable cause at that point.
They called two other witnesses and I do not believe they added anything to the case. One of them lived in the area and I was able to establish that there was a large woods where the ATV was found. The other one I did not even bother cross examining.
After this evidence the state rested.
I did not even have to put on a defense. The judge granted our motion for judgment of acquittal. The evidence was completely consistent with people finding an abandoned vehicle in the woods. He could not see how the state could prove that my client intended to steal the vehicle. There was no evidence that he stole the vehicle. My client was found not guilty of the charge.
After the trial the prosecutor still did not get it. She was arguing to me her theory of the case which had just been completely debunked. I finally did get it, the prosecution had no case and never could make a case.
Just because the police officer says you're drunk does not necessarily mean that you are drunk
On cross examination the officer admitted that other than speeding my client was driving the car in a normal manner. My client was able to produce his license from his wallet without any problems. My client communicated accurately with the officer. The officer wasn't positive as to the surface where the Field sobriety tests were done. The officer could not remember if there was anybody else in the car (my client had a very drunk woman in the car who smelled of alcohol). The officer could not remember if he himself lost his balance showing the Field sobriety tests.
We had a witness who stated that he was the DJ at the bar where my client was. He saw my client come in and thought my client was sober. My client was there one hour. When the bar closed my client felt the DJ unload all of his equipment including two 150 pound speakers which were on telescopic stands. My client wrapped up the electrical cables in a neat fashion. My client peeled tape off the floor. My client had no trouble doing these things and left right after that and within five minutes. By the officer. The DJ thought that my client was sober.
My client testified that he had had one shot and had ordered two beers but realized he was on antibiotics and only drink the shot and half of the beer. My client thought that he was sober.
The judge could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that my client was intoxicated or under the influence or even impaired and acquitted him of these charges.
The point is, just because the state claims something is so, does not mean that the trier of fact will believe that beyond a reasonable doubt.
New Maryland Procedure: Drivers Must Notify the Court after a Moving Violation
Drivers who receive a moving violation ticket must now affirmatively act within 30 days after receiving the ticket by either paying the ticket for requesting a trial date. If they do neither their license will be suspended. They must do one or the other to protect their driving privilege.
A Good Lawyer Knows the Judge
False Peace Order Accusation
My client testified that he was in a staff meeting at that date and time in College Park. I had his boss and the secretary also testify that he was there. Clearly the judge found in our favor and in his written decision stated that "there was no evidence of anything" that the respondent did. I don't think that the petitioner was mentally unstable or lying but clearly made a case of mistaken identity. It cost my client money, time and potentially reputation.
There may be a mechanism to clear his reputation. If you knew my client's name you could find him on the Maryland Judiciary case search website. My client is an important man with national security clearance. Maryland's Gen. assembly ennacted a statute which took effect on October 1, 2010 providing for sealing or shielding of cases of this nature which result in either dropped charges or a dismissal. If you have a peace order or domestic violence petition against you and it is dismissed or you win in court, you should look into having the case sealed were shielded from public view. I would be happy to assist you.
Can I Expunge My Maryland Driving Record?
(a) "Criminal offense" defined.- In this section, "criminal offense" does not include any violation of the Maryland Vehicle Law.
(b) When Administration may expunge records.- Except as provided in subsections (c) and (e) of this section and in Subtitle 8 of this title, if a licensee applies for the expungement of the licensee's public driving record, the Administration shall expunge the record if, at the time of application:
(1) The licensee does not have charges pending for allegedly committing a moving violation or a criminal offense involving a motor vehicle; and
(2) (i) The licensee has not been convicted of a moving violation or a criminal offense involving a motor vehicle for the preceding 3 years, and the licensee's license never has been suspended or revoked;
(ii) The licensee has not been convicted of a moving violation or a criminal offense involving a motor vehicle for the preceding 5 years, and the licensee's record shows not more than one suspension and no revocations; or
(iii) Within the preceding 10 years:
1. The licensee has not been convicted of nor been granted probation before judgment for a violation of Sec. 20-102 or Sec. 21-902 of this article;
2. The licensee's driving record shows no convictions from another jurisdiction of a moving violation identical or substantially similar to Sec. 20-102 or Sec. 21-902 of this article; and
3. The licensee has not been convicted of any other moving violation or criminal offense involving a motor vehicle, regardless of the number of suspensions or revocations.
(c) When Administration may refuse to expunge.- The Administration may refuse to expunge a driving record if it determines that the individual requesting the expungement has not driven a motor vehicle on the highways during the particular conviction-free period on which the request is based.
(d) Required expungements.- The Administration shall expunge from its driver record data base the driving record of an individual or a probation before judgment disposition of an individual:
(1) Who has not been convicted of a moving violation or criminal offense involving a motor vehicle for the preceding 3 years;
(2) Who has not been convicted of, or been granted probation before judgment for:
(i) A violation of Sec. 20-102 of this article;
(ii) A violation of Sec. 21-902 of this article; or
(iii) A moving violation identical or substantially similar to Sec. 20-102 or Sec. 21-902 of this article; and
(3) Whose license or privilege to drive never has been suspended or revoked.
(e) Early expungement prohibited.- Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Administration may not expunge any driving records before the expiration of the time they are required to be retained under Sec. 16-819 of this title.
[An. Code 1957, art. 661/2, Sec. 6-117; 1977, ch. 14, Sec. 2; 1982, ch. 99; 1989, ch. 291, Sec. 2; ch. 376; 1992, ch. 541; 1993, ch. 322; 1994, ch. 23; 1998, ch. 483; 1999, ch. 647; 2008, ch. 275.]
A young man charged with armed robbery, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery was acquitted after the alleged victim's testimony was discredited. The victim in this case told police that he and his friend were beaten by at least six young men two of whom had a stick and a baseball bat. The young men were arrested based on these accusations and jailed, some of them from the incident date all the way until trial.
At trial the victim identified my client as his attacker. During the trial it was revealed that the victim had had six regular sized beers in a one half hour interval shortly before the attack. It was further revealed that the victim almost immediately got on the ground and covered his face to protect himself. It was further revealed that it was very dark out and the victim had little time to look at his attackers. At the time of the attack the victim could not give any specific description of any of the men other than they were young and their race. He could not describe hairstyle, facial features, the size of the men. Finally, the witness testified that my client had a tattoo on his neck.
Prior to trial an investigator was sent to speak with the victim and she took his statement and his statement included the fact that my client had a tattoo on his neck.
At trial it was abundantly obvious that my client did not have a tattoo on his neck and frankly never had a tattoo on his neck. The jury took only a short while to quit my client of all charges.