Appealing A DUI Case In Somerset
Appealing a DUI case in Somerset from a district court to circuit is a unique process. In Maryland, appealing a DUI case through those courts is referred to as a de novo appeal, meaning that the defendant can receive a brand new trial. In Maryland, there are two levels of appellate courts: the court of special appeals and the court of appeals.
A DUI case appeal taken to one of those courts is called an appeal on the record, which means that those judges are only looking at the record of what took place below. They will only overturn a case if they found that there was some sort of error that was not considered to be harmless.
Expectations of an Appeal
What is unique about appealing a DUI case in Somerset is if someone does not like the result of what happens in district court, they have a chance at a relatively clean slate in court if they wish to undergo the process again. If someone appeals the result of their DUI case to the circuit court, they need to anticipate that it is probably going to be a couple of months, maybe 60 to 90 days, before their case will be scheduled for a trial. Once the trial date arrives, it could be an all-day event.
In district court, DUI case trials typically last about an hour or less. In circuit court, the DUI appeal could take much longer, especially if the person chooses to have a jury because there is a process to picking a jury that can be quite time-consuming.
Another important factor to consider when deciding whether to appeal an individual’s DUI case, is the potential likelihood of success. If someone wants to appeal a DUI case result, they ought to seriously consider whether the use of their time and money is likely to result in a different outcome than the first trial.
District vs. Circuit Court
Appealing a DUI case result in district court to circuit court in Somerset County is completely different and is a brand new trial. A DUI appeal case is treated as if the lower trial did not take place. However, there are circumstances where what happens in district court can come into play in circuit court. For instance, it would be very common for the attorneys in circuit court to request a transcript of the trial in district court.
Anything that was said in district court, during the original DUI case, could be used to cross-examine the witnesses when appealing the case in circuit court. Sometimes that can be helpful for the defendant because if a police officer testified to one thing in district court but at the circuit court trial testified inconsistently, the defense attorney can cross-examine the police officer about their inconsistent statements made in district court. On the flip side, if the defendant was to testify during the appeal of the DUI case, and they said anything inconsistent, the prosecutor is going to cross-examine the defendant about any inconsistent statements that were made in the previous trial.
Once an appeal has been decided upon, the defendant will have the option in circuit court to either have a trial in front of the judge or have a trial in front of a jury. By contrast, in district court they will have no choice: the case will be heard and determined in front of the judge only.
How An Attorney Can Help
When appealing a DUI case to circuit court, deciding as to whether the case should be heard by one person or by twelve people is a decision the individual will need to discuss with their attorney. Strategically, there are particular scenarios where you would want the appeal of your case to be heard by twelve people versus the when you have an issue that you really want in front of a judge.
Having an attorney during your appeal who is familiar with all of the unique ways of the county can be an asset to your DUI case. It is very unusual for the prosecutor to agree to dismiss or appeal a DUI or that they are going to allow the defendant to plead to something other than the DUI or the related DWI charge.
It is important for people to know that they should be consulting with and hiring an attorney to help them when appealing their previous DUI case, specifically in Somerset County because they could end up having a trial. An individual should not proceed with their DUI appeal without the assistance of a skilled attorney who regularly practices in Somerset county that will be ready to defend against the results of the previous DUI case. An experienced attorney can also be an invaluable asset as you decide which steps to take and which arguments to make moving forward. A lawyer serves as both a guide and advisor, as well as a representative, in your DUI case.