Changes in Anne Arundel DUI Prosecution
Most of the recent changes that have impacted DUI cases in Anne Arundel County include penalty enhancements and influence on license suspension process. For example, if someone is charged with a DUI while they have a minor in their vehicle, they could be facing harsher charges. Those are usually enhancements for maximum penalties, not necessarily for penalties that an individual actually receives. There has been new penalties for people who are under 21 on the driver’s license side.
With respect to licenses suspensions, courts are now less inclined to allow individuals charged with a DUI to have an ordinary work restricted license, and requiring them to do the ignition interlock program if they want to modify the suspension of their driver’s license. These changes in how a court handles a DUI case may negatively impact a person’s life if they don’t get the assistance of an experienced DUI attorney in Anne Arundel to help them. A lawyer who intimately understands how the system works may be able to help lessen the negative impart on a person’s life after a one-time mistake.
Changes in How Cases Are Handled in Court
There haven’t been changes to process that are significant in the past couple of years. The process has remained pretty consistent throughout. Some defenses come. Some defenses go. One more recent case basically determined that an individual is not entitled to consult with their Anne Arundel DUI counsel prior to agreeing to perform a breath test, at least as far as administrative penalties against their license go.
It used to be a good defense to an administrative license suspension that an individual wasn’t given an opportunity to consult with counsel prior to deciding whether or not they were going to do that test. but the Court of Special Appeals decided that that is not a good defense in administrative sanction of individual’s driver’s license.
How Changes Impact Defense of DUI Cases
There have been lots of cases where an individual who is under 21 but has a significant driving need where previously they would have been eligible to have a modified suspension, basically get a work permit that allows them to continue to drive unrestricted for purposes of employment and education.
Those individuals now, if they want to have that kind of restriction needs to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicle. That’s changed defense strategy in terms of requesting hearings for those individual or just having them sign up for the interlock through the MVA without a request for a hearing.
Changes in Anne Arundel License Suspension Process
One of the biggest changes in the license suspension process is that those under the age of 21 who are charged and convicted of a DUI are no longer eligible for a modified license. Additionally, the aforementioned recent court of appeals case that came out saying that request for an attorney is no longer a good defense in an administrative license suspension cases.
Both of those have had a significant change in how Anne Arundel County DUI attorneys handled the administrative process in terms of counselling people whether or not to request a hearing and counselling people in terms of whether or not they’re eligible for modification.
Possible Future Changes in Anne Arundel DUI Prosecution
With the decriminalization of marijuana in the state of Maryland, there’s going to be some pretty significant changes in terms of 21-902(D) cases. Those are driving under the influence of drug cases.
With decriminalization, there will likely be an increase in people who are driving while under the influence of marijuana, and there will likely be an increase in the number of marijuana DUI arrests as a result. How the State will prosecute the increase in marijuana DUI charges remains to be seen.
It seems like every change in DUI laws for the past 30 years has made driving under the influence offenses more strict. Every decade or so the legal limit goes down. When DUI per se was first enacted, the per se limit was a 0.2, it went from a 0.2 to a 0.15 to a 0.10 to 0.08, which is to where it is today. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if it were to be lowered again.
Trends in Anne Arundel DUI Charges
One major trend Anne Arundel County DUI lawyers see in refusal cases involves when an individual refuses to do a breath test back at the police station. More police officers have been writing DUI C or D offenses for people who refuse the test at the police station. DUI C and DUI D charges are driving under the influence of prescription medication and controlled dangerous substances, respectively. Most of these charges end up going nowhere in court because prosecutors will look at the facts and see that they can’t get a conviction for those charges.
The charges may end up ultimately getting dropped but that does cause individuals to be charged with them anyway, which creates a lot of stress for an individual.
Impact on Defending DUI Charges
These trends haven’t really affected how DUI attorneys in Anne Arundel County approach defending clients. Their first goal in any DUI case is to try get the charges against their client dropped. This can be done either from the prosecutor dropping the charges or getting a not guilty in court. When people are charged with the C and the D charge that makes a lawyer’s job pretty easy because there’s very little evidence that the State can use to support those charges.
They don’t have any evidence to support driving under the influence of prescription medication or controlled dangerous substance because the individual was not, in fact, driving under the influence of prescription medication or a controlled dangerous substance. In some ways it makes the handling of defending those charges very straightforward because they just get dropped right away. These trends will occasionally change how attorneys will counsel individuals to handle their driver’s license just because the administrative end of it has undergone some pretty significant changes in the past two years.