Driving under the influence is a serious charge in the State of Maryland. Besides jail time for the underlying offense, it can have long-term effects on your record and your ability to move about freely. However, just because prosecutors have charged you with a DUI does not mean that you can’t win. In fact, judges may simply dismiss your charges if given sufficient reason to do so. Please read on, then contact an experienced Annapolis DUI lawyer.
The arresting officer misused a breathalyzer
A breathalyzer is a tool that measures blood alcohol levels through a simple breathing device. All breathalyzer machines must be calibrated, tests must be conducted in a certain fashion, and operators must be certified. Further, if a breathalyzer gives an inconsistent result, it must be taken out of service and re-calibrated. Even though law enforcement has been using the tool for decades, it does not mean that they have been using it properly or that they do not have faulty readings.
The arresting officer did not follow legal procedures
Law enforcement must follow strict and straightforward procedures after they arrest an individual for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any departure from these procedures could result in a dismissal of charges. You may be surprised to learn this, but Maryland law enforcement must give public notice if they plan to set up a DUI checkpoint. Even when police do advertise the checkpoint, they must have probable cause to submit a person to a field test. Failure to do any of that could force a dismissal of the charges.
The arresting officer used a non-standard field sobriety test
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, an approved set of tests, for use nationwide in determining a suspected driver’s level of inebriation. According to law enforcement, each of these tests has objective, measurable factors that an officer uses to determine intoxication. Aside from the reliability, or lack thereof, of this test, if the judge determines that the officer strayed from these measurable factors when evaluating inebriation, he or she may decline to consider the results of the tests.
The tests are inaccurate or unreliable
Some of these tests may prove difficult for the average sober person to complete cleanly. Therefore, the driver’s failure to complete the tests successfully does not necessarily mean that they were beyond the legal limit.
Judges are inclined to trust those in law enforcement, which is why you need a skilled Annapolis, Maryland criminal defense lawyer who will combat misinformation while protecting your rights.