Maryland DUI Trials
A DUI is a multiphase traffic stop. In phase one is the vehicle in motion. The majority of DUIs occur with the observation of a vehicle and when an officer pulls a person over. Of course, there is the possibility of a traffic accident and sometimes someone pulls off to the side of the road. For the overwhelming majority of DUIs, they start from a stop of the vehicle. Following an arrest, an individual often has to go to trial. All DUI cases in Maryland are held in general district court. General district court judges are appointed by the governor. If you want to know more about Maryland DUI trials, speak with a knowledgeable DUI attorney that could advocate for you.
Why a DUI Case Might Go to Trial
The main reason a DUI case might go trial is that there just is not good cause to stop the car. The officer wrote the wrong ticket or is inconsistent. The consistency of the statement from the officer and observations are the first things a person should keep in mind. Other things that can cause a case to go to trial are that the officers feel sobriety tests were not given correctly or that the scoring was not correct. The defendant could feel that law enforcement scored the test too high, and the person could challenge the authenticity of the scoring.
An officer is basing this case on the NHTSA model, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, which is very explicit in its explanation of the signs of impairment. In some cases, that can be contested. Body cameras are both helpful and a hindrance to defense attorneys because they get to see everything they need to dispute the case, but the bodycam evidence also validates the officer’s account of events. Evidence taken from body cameras can be instrumental in Maryland DUI trials.
Are DUI Trials Often Heard in Circuit Court?
Rarely do Maryland DUI trials end in up in circuit court for reasons other than to put the case in front of a jury or because of some appeal after the case has already been in the district court. Dispositions, sometimes, from district court judges are just overly harsh and a person will not be able to get a better disposition court. Maybe the person lost at trial and are looking to retry an aspect of it again. There are a number of reasons to go to circuit court, but that is a level up from district. All DUIs are in district court unless someone is in a position in which the DUI led to a fatality.
How Circuit Court Judges Treat DUI Charges
Circuit court judges treat DUI cases just as serious as other judges do. The circuit court is where some major felonies are tried including:
- Drug cases
- Guns cases
- Murder cases
- Rape cases
- And other sex offense cases
These are judges who see the worst of what a person is going to see. So, a person obviously knows that they have certainly been taking their job seriously to be handling these matters.
How Circuit Court Judges Are Chosen
Circuit court judges are chosen through appointment by the governor, however, the majority of them go through an election. An overwhelming number of judges in the state of Maryland have either been in the Attorney General’s office or the office of state’s attorney. Unfortunately, there is not enough variety of candidates being appointed.
There are plenty of attorneys that will argue that that is untrue. Some will say that it is even or, that it is getting better. But having judges chosen properly and spread out with people who have distinct backgrounds other than those two offices would probably be a benefit overall. Occasionally it will be a family lawyer that gets appointed or a private defense attorney that gets appointed, but it is rare these days. Unfortunately, the majority of the last appointments have all been from the office of the state’s attorney. If an individual wants to know more about circuit court and Maryland DUI trials, they should speak with a skilled DUI lawyer that could answer their questions.