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Montgomery County DUI Cases: Prosecution

DUI cases in Montgomery County are prosecuted vigorously. The prosecution in Montgomery County is unlikely to flat out dismiss a DUI or a DWI case. They would rather lose a case at trial rather than dismiss a case. Montgomery County takes DUIs very seriously and because of this, it is necessary to have a persistent Montgomery County DUI attorney who has experience in the local system.

Length of a Montgomery County DUI Case

You probably won’t get a first court date in Montgomery County until about six months after the incident. If the case is continued or a jury trial is requested, then the case could extend from up to, or even over, a year. Montgomery County does do instant jury trials, meaning that when you ask for a jury trial, your case will be transferred to the circuit court immediately, sometimes that very day or perhaps the next day. However, if the case is actually going to be set for trial, then it will be continued from that first circuit court appearance.

Proving a DUI in Montgomery County

There are two ways that the prosecution can  prove  a DUI.  The first is under 21-902(a)(1) which is an individual was operating a motor vehicle while their ability to drive was significantly impaired from the consumption of alcohol. To prove this charge the State must show that you were subjectively drunk at the time you’re operating a motor vehicle. The other way that the prosecution will go about trying to prove a DUI case is by proving 21-902(a)(2), DUI per se. To prove this charge, the prosecution needs to show that you were operating a motor vehicle with a breath alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. That second charge, the 21-902(a)(2) charge isn’t about how drunk you were; it’s about what you blew. In order to prove that case, the prosecution needs to prove that you’re operating a vehicle and that there was a validly administered sample of your breath that showed it was a 0.08 or higher. Your subjective level of impairment doesn’t factor into that test.

Evidence Law Enforcement Officials Use

The officer’s testimony will be presented in court. The officer that pulled you over is going to testify as to why they stopped you, what they observed that caused them to think that they had probable cause to arrest you for suspicion of DUI, what you blew into the breathalyzer or if you blew into the breathalyzer. That’s going to be a bulk of the state’s case. If you have a defense that’s going to consist of your testimony, that could consist of other witnesses testimony or potentially it could consist of expert witnesses testimony to challenge the validity of the breath test or for some other reason.

Courts and Juries in Montgomery County

DUI cases in Montgomery County begin in the district court. There are two district court locations in Montgomery County one is in the Rockville and the other is in Silver Spring. If an individual requests that their case be tried by a jury, which they have a right to in a DUI case, then the case will be transferred to the circuit court which is in downtown Rockville directly across the street from the district court. A Montgomery County DUI attorney can help clarify the structure of where and how your case will be handled.

For sentencing, they will first look to see if this is the first offense or if there are priors. For every offense, the court is going to treat an individual significantly more harshly so first offenses are going to be treated much differently than fourth or fifth offenses. The next thing that the courts are going to be looking at is the facts of the case. That can include considerations of whether there was an accident, whether there was bad driving, whether there was an attempt to leave the scene or some kind of negative interaction with law enforcement. Then prosecutors will look at BAC as well. Somebody at 0.08 would get treated significantly differently than somebody who’s higher than a 0.2. Finally, the court will look at what an individual has done subsequent to the case. The court will look at what kind of treatment an individual has done for alcohol, how seriously it looks like they’re taking this incident, what they have to say in terms of mitigation. All of those will play a factor in sentencing.