DUI Enforcement in Prince George’s County
DUI charges in Prince George’s County are not uncommon, especially since the area includes the University of Maryland-College Park campus plus local community colleges. Because Prince George’s County includes a major college town with a large population of college students, Prince George’s County police take drunk driving very seriously and are cracking down on offenders. Below, a Prince George’s County DUI lawyer discusses in more detail how law enforcement officials handle DUIs. Fore more information about DUI charges in Prince George’s County, call today and schedule a consultation.
How Prince George’s County Law Enforcement Treats DUIs
Since the Prince George’s County area includes the University of Maryland-College Park and other college campuses including local community colleges, the police know that there are students and other young people living throughout the county who are likely to drink and drive. The police do enforce the DUI laws not only through regular traffic patrols but also through the use of major DUI checkpoints, which they use to monitor specific large roads.
Large Roads Frequently Chosen For DUI Checkpoints
The most common areas where you see checkpoints are on Marlboro Pike as well as at Fort Meade. Those are the most common ones as of fall 2015. The Georgia Avenue location is where Montgomery County extends down and the highway wraps around into Prince George’s County. Those areas are big checkpoint sites because of the traffic flow. Prince George’s County has College Park with a lot of student traffic, so there are certainly DUI checkpoints there. In addition, because of the extensive traffic between Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, the police utilize all those roads in between them to set up DUI checkpoints.
DUI Focus For Law Enforcement Officers
Law enforcement officers have a strong focus on DUIs for two reasons. First, the state legislature and the media pay a great deal of attention to DUIs. Second, it is incredibly important to keep the roads safe, and everyone who shares the roads has a responsibility to comply with the traffic laws. There is a public interest in keeping the roads are safe for everyone, young and old, to travel safely in their vehicles. For these reasons, law enforcement focuses specifically on DUIs and on enforcing them throughout the State of Maryland and especially in Prince George’s County.
Does Focus From Law Enforcement Lead to Unjust Charges
There is such an emphasis on the importance of DUI enforcement that it can seem that law enforcement is going out of their way to cite people with DUIs. Recently, there has been a higher percentage of DUI charges where it was not clear the police had good cause to stop the vehicle in the first place, than I have seen in a very long time of defense practice.
Officers are taking great advantage of minor violations such as a tag light or a brake light not functioning properly, to pull people over late in the evenings during hours they presume people have been drinking. They are looking to find any little detail to justify a stop, and get people out of their vehicles.
When pulling people over, police say they notice the odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath, their eyes are bloodshot and watery, or their speech is slurred; things that technically are not illegal. It is not illegal to have bloodshot, watery eyes, but officers are using that to stop people and cite them. In my personal opinion, the method they use to increase DUI citations does not constitute good law enforcement.
What Makes DUIs In Prince George’s County Unique
Prince George’s County is a bit unique in terms of DUI cases. All DUIs go to the District Court. The two District Courts are in Hyattsville and Marlboro, MD. You can transfer your case out of the District Court to the Circuit Court. There is a status hearing judge named Vincent Femia in the Circuit Court.
In cases where you are looking for a better disposition on a plea, if you have come to the conclusion that the state is more likely than not to win, perhaps a plea would put you in a better position. That transfer from District to Circuit Court could get you a better disposition from a judge and protect you from some of the more negative outcomes.