Howard County DUI Cases
DUI Cases in Howard County are heard in the District Court in Ellicott City where your case will most likely be presented before a judge. In Howard County DUI cases are treated very seriously and often carry serious penalties including fines and jail time. As a result, it is important that if you are charged you consult with a Howard County DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and begin building a defense.
DUI Case Basics
In any DUI case in the state of Maryland, there is a burden of proof on the state to prove the action beyond a reasonable doubt. This means proving that the officer did have probable cause to stop the vehicle the night of the incident, that the officer observed you driving the car, and that you did give the officer what would be termed a reasonable, articulable suspicion to take you into custody and give you a breath or blood test.
It is on the state to bring forth all this evidence and it must be testified to under oath in court by the officer or officers involved in the stop. This includes testimony as to the test results from the officer who conducted the breath or blood test.
Length of a DUI Case
Depending on the officer’s availability, usually no less than six weeks after the date of the incident, but generally a bit longer. All hearing dates are set on the officer’s court schedule. You have to take into consideration that there is only one District Court for the county, so the volume of cases can affect how quickly your case is heard. Sometimes these matters can take upwards of eight to 12 weeks depending on the time of the year and volume.
There is a variety of evidence that may be used in a DUI, the first of which has to do with why the officer stopped the vehicle in the first place. The next important evidence is that which is of the officer’s observation of the vehicle when they made the stop and any observations of you that they made such as:
- Bloodshot or watery eyes
- Odor of alcohol
- Slurred speech
Following these observations, the next evidence will be the Standard Field Sobriety Tests and how you did and any video or audio evidence that was taken at the scene. Then finally, your breath or blood test scores.
Howard County DUI Trends
Generally, clients have called in saying they had gone out earlier in the evening, had a couple of drinks and then stopped drinking for a few hours. They waited and once they felt enough time had passed, they proceeded to leave and drive home thinking there were sober. Given the relatively low numbers for breath of blood tests that attorneys sometimes see (such as .08 or .09) it is apparent that the person did wait, just not long enough.
It takes a bit longer to burn off all that alcohol than most people think. Thus, people have to be careful with what they are drinking and not how much, because just one or two of those stronger drinks are no different than four or five beers. So it takes a little bit longer to burn off all that alcohol because the concentration has become substantially stronger over the last several years.