What to Expect in Anne Arundel Court for Drug DUIs
All DUI cases including alcohol or drug related DUI cases are native to the district court. It is the lower level court in Maryland that handles misdemeanors and small offenses. When an individual is charged with either §21-902 (a) or §21-902 (d), both of which have maximum penalties in excess of ninety days of incarceration, they have a right to a jury trial. When they exercise their right to a jury trial, the case is transferred from the district court to the circuit court. The individual has the choice of trying the case in front of the judge or in front of a jury.
In court, the state must prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If they cannot prove driving or impairment, they cannot get a conviction. At trial, the state calls their witnesses who are police officers and potentially expert witnesses in drug DUI cases. The defense lawyer has a chance to cross examine those witnesses. The defense has an opportunity to call their witnesses including the defendant or any other witnesses to the case.
The judge or jury then makes a determination of guilty or not guilty. If there is a finding of not guilty, that is the end of the case. When there is a finding of guilt, the case moves into sentencing.
The Best Time to Contact an Attorney
An individual should contact an attorney immediately after they are released because an attorney can be extremely helpful in a case like this. The sooner a person contacts an attorney; the sooner they can start gathering evidence. An attorney may ask the person to submit to a blood test the day they are released to possibly challenge the blood test administered at the station or to prove that there was a lack of anything in the person’s blood stream. It is important to do that immediately after the arrest as the test is still connected to the actual case.
Additionally, there may be penalties against the person’s driver’s license depending on what happened when the officer asked the person to submit the chemical blood test. There is a window of time to request hearings for the person’s driver’s license. It begins upon arrest so it is prudent to speak with the attorney immediately.
Because every case is unique, there is no single defense strategy for a DUI drug case. Strategy depends on the type of the case. Some cases may involve a challenge to the driving of the vehicle. Those are situations where the officer did not observe driving or a situation where an individual was using the vehicle for shelter rather than trying to put the vehicle in motion.
Other cases focus on impairment. There may not be sufficient evidence to prove impairment. Some cases center on scientific evidences and expert witnesses, so the defense focuses on the technical challenge to the admissibility or reliability of the test.
As with alcohol DUI cases, the strategies must be tailored to the specific facts of the case.