Howard County DUI Trends
Below, a Howard County DUI lawyer discusses developing trends in driving under the influence cases in Maryland. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
DUI Trends in Howard County
Very recently we just had one of our annual big festivals. It’s called Wine in the Woods and that always generates a lot of DUI arrests. It’s a wine festival at Merriweather Post Pavillon in Columbia. Police are very aware that there’s a lot of drinking at a wine festival and some people tend to drive after that. They had double duty, triple duty officers throughout the festival and make a lot of arrest.
Also, it’s the summer concert season. Again Merriweather Post has a lot of concerts and police make a lot of arrest on the way to and on the way from concerts. People will have a little too much to drink at the show and think that they’re okay to drive home and get pulled over and realize that they’re not. Again, in summer they tend to do more DUI checkpoints in Howard County so we see an uptick because of that as well.
Are DUIs An Area of Focus?
Very much so. There are some officers, especially officers who work night shifts, where a majority of their arrests are for DUI citations. There is also some specialized training and specialized units within various law enforcement agencies that focus on DUI.
In a lot of jurisdictions it is a focus because legislators see it as a public safety hazard. Additionally there is a lot of lobbying groups whose purpose is to make DUI enforcement stricter and to make DUI laws harsher for the defendants.
Common DUI Arrest Tactics
The first tactic that any officer is going to use is field sobriety tests. Officers will never tell you that field sobriety tests are voluntary. Those are the road side tests that the officers ask you to perform. The eye test, the walk and turn test and the one leg stand test. Those tests are, in fact, voluntary. Individuals should not do them but an officer will never tell you that.
They will say, “Okay. Why don’t you step out of the car to engage in standardized field sobriety testing?” They won’t make it sound like you have a choice in the matter.
How Arrests Occur
Officers do tend to make arrest frequently in Howard County. Again, if there’s time, an individual will be taken in front of a commissioner and the commissioner will decide whether or not they should be released on their own recognizance or whether they say post a bond to remain free pending trial on the matter.
If there’s nothing aggravated about the case, it’s the first offence, the individual lives in Maryland, the commissioner will often just release them on their own recognisance. Sometimes, on the other hand, commissioners are not available, in which case then the officer will release the individual and say that they must appear in front of the commissioner usually within 72 hours. Once again, the commissioner will go over the charges and make a determination whether that individual needs to post a bond.
DUI Court Process in Howard County
Again, in Howard County, DUI cases start out in the district court. There’s only one district court in Howard County. It’s on Courthouse Drive right off of Route 40 and Rogers avenue. Your case will typically be held in a district course somewhere between two to three months after the arrest. Frequently, DUI cases in Howard County get resolved in district court.
Our district court bench tends to be very reasonable.
If it resolves on the first court appearance, it can last anywhere between two and three months, sometimes court cases get postponed and they could get anywhere up to 9 months or even 12 months to resolve the case.