Howard County DUI Enforcement
For driving under the influence charges, a person must have breath test result of 0.08 or higher or to prove the presence of drugs in their system. If the person did not blow a 0.08, but they were at 0 .07 or even 0.06, and in some rare cases 0.05, they could be charged or prosecuted for driving while impaired, a lesser offense. More information about DUI and DWI charges is available when you contact a Howard County DUI lawyer for a consultation.
Howard County Law Enforcement of DUIs
Law enforcement officers strongly enforce DUI laws from general traffic observations to check pointing DUIs. They are very invested by Howard County to maintain roads free of persons who are driving under the influence. As an enforcement measure, Maryland DUI checkpoints are placed on heavily travelled roads. In Ellicott City, checkpoints are found in heavily traveled areas. They are also found in Columbia, usually off of some of the major roadways. Those are the areas with many checkpoint DUIs. They are sporadic and not always consistent throughout the year.
These roads are targeted because they are well travelled with many restaurants or bars nearby. There have been a substantial number of DUI stops on these roads in the past, so they warrant more attention.
Howard County DUI Traffic Stop Process
The Standard Field Sobriety Tests include Follow the Pen, Walk and Turn, and One Legged. The attorney examines each test and the way they were administered. He or she examines the tests that, when coupled together with a higher score than what the National Highway Transportation Safety Measures, indicate it is more likely a person is under the influence of something. These are generally the three tests used. Occasionally, officers do some other tests.
Another test that people may be familiar with is the roadside PBT, the preliminary breath test. That is done by an officer by a machine that is generally not calibrated regularly and really has no admissibility in court. It can’t be trusted to give a correct result unlike the Intoximeter machine at the station or barracks. This machine is usually maintained and checked daily if not hourly; it is a self-checking machine as well.
Some nuances are that a person can refuse the field breath test without any penalty but when they go back to the station or barrack and refuse the test there, as a Maryland license holder, they are subject to harsher administrative penalties which can lead to the suspension of their license or ignition interlock. The Standard Field Sobriety Tests themselves can also be refused. That generally means that the officer will take the person into custody immediately.
Does Focus Lead to Unfair Charges?
Police officers are under a great deal of pressure to yield results and bring back substantiated traffic charges. There is a denial that every officer has a quota, but when an officer is out in the field doing routine patrol, the expectation is that someone is violating the transportation articles. If the officer is not issuing any or enough tickets, they are probably not doing their job.
With the focus on DUI and the investment made by the state of Maryland to warn people not to drink and drive or drive buzzed, it is reasonable to believe the officers are going to stop as many people as they can, to show that a person is under the influence.
It is not illegal for a person to smell of alcohol. If a person works at a bar and is driving home, they may have not had a single drink all night but an officer will try to prove they have been drinking. They go out of their way to prove these cases because there is such a great focus on them.
How Howard County Police Officers Decide to Charge
If the officer can provide or has substantiated information regarding a person’s being on some form of drugs, they can find that drug in the vehicle, or a prescription vial or a box of Benadryl. Over the counter drugs are just as admissible in court as prescription and illegal drugs. If the officer has reasonable information to suspect a person is under the influence of drugs, they can certainly charge them, even if the person did not have a blood test.
What Makes Howard County DUI Cases Unique
In Howard County, the District Court has five courtrooms with the same judges in each of these courtrooms. The exception is courtroom four where the judges are sometimes rotated. Before the case is heard, a person knows the name of the judge and state’s attorney.
Some of the state’s attorneys are much harsher than others, they are much more vigorous. Others would do exactly as expected, prosecute the cases the way they should, and treat clients with due respect. Not every state’s attorney operates the same way. An attorney should always be mindful of who is the state’s attorney and who the judge is.
Contact an Attorney Right Away
There are many attorneys who would tell a person if they refuse everything, the state has nothing but an observation of an officer which may not be true. Everyone has opinions as to how DUIs should or should not be handled. When a person is charged with DUI in Howard County, it is important they contact a Howard County DUI lawyer with vast amounts of experience as soon as possible.