Client Guilty of Driving under the Influence of Drugs? Only if the State Can Prove It
Do Not Miss Your Motor Vehicle Administration Per Se Hearing
(iv) In the absence of a compelling reason for failure to attend a hearing, failure of a person to attend a hearing is prima facie evidence of the person's inability to answer the sworn statement of the police officer or the test technician or analyst, and the Administration summarily shall:
1. Suspend the driver's license or privilege to drive; and
2. If the driver is detained in a commercial motor vehicle or holds a commercial driver's license, disqualify the person from operating a commercial motor vehicle.
Maryland also has regulations known as Comar and they provide as follows:
.12 Failure to Appear.
If a licensee who has been given notice of the hearing fails to appear for the hearing, the Administration may:
A. Suspend the applicable privilege pending the licensee's appearance at a hearing on a date set by the Administration; or
B. Upon good cause shown to the satisfaction of the Administration as to why the licensee could not appear at the originally scheduled hearing, terminate any suspension imposed under this regulation, and send notice to the licensee of the newly scheduled hearing date.
My argument is that if they cannot find good cause then they should still give him a hearing at provided for under section A. above. The jury is still out on whether they will.
Meanwhile, my client is definitely suspended and cannot drive because he missed a hearing.
Acquittal of All Felony Charges in Robbery Case
Provisional drivers license and convictions
Speeding is the #1 violation in fatal motor vehicle crashes. I am extremely fortunate to not have been a part of an accident while having my license. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among the ages five to thirty-four in the U.S. More than 2.3 Million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009. Many teenagers seem to ignore the potential risks of speeding and unfortunately sometimes, as a result, become another number in these statistics. The dangers of speeding are both obvious and unrecognizable to drivers.One of the most obvious dangers associated with speeding is the impact that it has on our ability to carefully and safely operate a motor vehicle. It is a fact that when we speed, we are less able to rely on our natural reaction time when an obstacle is perceived. Speeding significantly reduces this reaction time and prevents us from doing what is necessary to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. Though braking and swerving are actions that we naturally take when faced with an obstruction on the road, their effectiveness is severely compromised by traveling at a high rate of speed. This is primarily because a driver who is speeding does not have the time (or space) to determine whether such a course of action will really enable him to avoid the perceived danger or whether it will lead to an even more dangerous situation.
Acknowledging the dangers of speeding is important and helpful in preventing the violation, however, it is knowing the reasons why we speed that will truly stop us from continuing to put us, and others, in danger while on the road. One of the biggest reasons I have found myself pushing the pedal a little harder is when I am running late. I feel an extra urgency to pick up the pace and make up for wasted time. I know, based on feedback from my friends and others, that this factor is certainly common among young drivers, and even older ones as well. To fix this I found a simple solution. When I am running late I make certain I do not speed because of it. Realizing my habit of speeding has created another habit of understanding and compensating for my usual tendencies. Ultimately I have stopped excessive speeding and am more aware of my driving habits.
Another danger of speeding, or perhaps the greatest danger, is the fact that it is often not recognized as a danger. Few drivers, including confident and experienced drivers, would hold that engaging in distracting activities such as using a cell phone, texting, eating, etc. are conducive to safe driving. Even fewer drivers would argue that driving under the influence is prudent. On the other hand, drivers who occasionally or consistently drive above the speed limit are ready and willing to provide a list of reasons for why speeding does not qualify as an unsafe and potentially life-threatening hazard. Those who do recognize the dangers of speeding will often rationalize or justify speeding in a number of different ways. I would say, as would many others, that because everyone else speeds, it is easily permissible. However, just because everyone is doing it does not mean you should too. I have driven with the thought of “going with the flow of traffic” but have always wanted to be the leader in the “flow”. With this realization I have mentally changed my connotation of the phrase and permanently decided to be content and willing to stay in the correct “flow”.
Realizing the reasons one speeds is a simple solution to the inconvenient habit. If you truly follow through with self-analyzing natural tendencies and motives, it is easy to be successful and stop yourself from repeating the same mistake too many times.
Sealing Criminal Records in the Superior Court
Amount in Controversy Must Exceed $15,000 in District Court for Jury Demand
Protective Order Hearings-Spend a Little Now Save A Lot Later
Five Court Appearances for a Violation of Probation
After shooting his cousin in the neck and a stranger in the back in Gaithersburg, Maryland I was able to generate enough evidence to reduce attempted murder charges down to the misdemeanors reckless endangerment. At the time of the guilty plea my client was given no jail time but was given 18 months of probation in front of a very tough judge. Any violation of his probation conditions would lead to the two years of backup time. This the judge promised.
My client generally did well on probation. He had a job, he was obtaining his GED, he was in counseling and he was very active in his baby's life. Unfortunately, my client felt that he needed to use marijuana. He was missing many of his urine tests but the probation officer let that slide. Finally, the police were conducting a raid at a home for a different person and my client happened to be there and he happened to have six small bags of marijuana in his pockets. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and this would be a violation of his probation.
I was able to beat the marijuana charges using a constitutional argument.
The original sentencing judge did not care. He issued a warrant for my client's arrest. My client turned himself in. I appeared with my client at the initial bond hearing. At the bond hearing the judge was already trying the violation of probation case. He was already finding my client in violation of his probation. I argued this was obviously not proper and we were here merely to set his bond. The judge revoked his bond. I asked for a probation hearing to be set in the near future.
Despite the fact that he was acquitted on the possession of marijuana the judge insisted on going forward with the violation of probation. Frankly, that is the state of the law in Maryland. The burden of proof in a criminal case is beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof in a violation of probation case is by a preponderance of the evidence and the quality of the evidence is much less substantial. Nonetheless, I was able to research case law and found that in Maryland normally hearsay evidence is not permitted at a violation of probation hearing. At the first hearing for violation of probation the prosecution did not have its officers to prove the case. The prosecutor, the probation agent were both pushing to have probation continued and if my client did well on probation to withdraw the hearing. This judge would have none of that. He ordered the prosecutor to get a transcript of the marijuana trial and use that as evidence at the next violation of probation hearing.
At the next violation of probation hearing the prosecutor had the transcript but did not have the chemist for the drugs. I argued that the transcript would violate my clients constitutional right to confront witnesses and cited the Maryland cases which supported this position. The judge accepted that and the prosecutor was able to get some of the officers to come to court that day. We had a trial but at the end of the trial the judge postponed the case because the chemist was unavailable.
On the next trial date the chemist was late. I put on five witnesses to establish everything my client had been doing well while on probation. One witness was particularly effective. He works at the Upper County Youth Center. He testified that my client was at the youth center three to four times a week for three to four hours a day studying for his GED. He was also receiving counseling from this witness. The judge was paying close attention.
Finally the chemist showed up and was able to prove that the marijuana in the bags was indeed marijuana. The judge was convinced that my client was guilty of possession of marijuana and violating probation.
The judge was ready to give my client the full backup time. I was able to successfully argue that it would be unfair. My client had spent most of his time on probation doing the right thing-working, getting counseling, getting a GED, trying to get his driver's license. The judge finally relented and instead of giving the full backup time gave 18 months of local time with a consideration for the work release Center in Montgomery County which would allow my client to spend his days working rather than being locked up. This was very unusual for this judge.
Although I did not prevail for my client I appeared five times in court on the violation of probation (there was an initial appearance before another judge regarding a bond hearing), I had law to support my client's position and I had fact witnesses to help in mitigation of sentencing. I fought the state's tooth and nail and at least was able to achieve two things. My client did not get the full backup time. My client is eligible for work release.