Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.

Call Toll-Free: 866-435-2795

Locally at: 410-415-9219

Harford County DUI Dismissal

Friday afternoon I finally said to the prosecutor, as we discussed for the second straight day the DUI case against my client, that we had talked about this case longer than the jury will be out before finding my client not guilty.  He laughed and agreed so this morning the DUI was dismissed.  Why did a case that originated in August take until April to get resolved with a dismissal?  It is because of the process and policy.  My client was asleep on a parking lot when the police woke him up.  There was a six pack of beer in the vehicle.  There was an empty bottle outside the driver's door and an empty in the six pack.  There were 4 unopened beers.  My client refused the breath test because his union newspaper (which I had) advised against taking a test.  I had evidence that I shared with the State to show that he drank at the parking lot ONLY, and was not drinking before he got there.

I had a receipt and a witness from the pool store where he has his swimming pool water tested a few hours earlier.  I had his phone records showing some texting after that.  Since he is a man in his 60's he does not text while driving and did so when he stopped at different locations, including the parking lot.  I had phone records and screen shots of the calls to his wife during the time he drank, and that show she would have picked him up from the parking lot.  He had driven back to Maryland from NY starting at 4:00 AM so he was exhausted by 7:00 PM when the police woke him up.  Now why did it take so long to get it dismissed?  I filed a written demand for a jury trial so that I would not be forced to try the case in the District Court.  I saw no reason to try the case twice if a judge did not understand the Atkinson case that deals with using your vehicle for temporary shelter if you have not gotten drunk and driven to the location where the police find you.  Here my client never drank before parking on the lot.  I also knew that there was NO WAY a jury would convict him under these facts as they would be instructed on the law and would think it was crazy to prosecute him when there was ZERO evidence that he ever drove after drinking.  I also would have the benefit of a Circuit Court judge who could rule that the evidence was insufficient before allowing the jury to even decide the case.  

Now the first date in the Circuit Court is for a Pre-Trial conference.  My prosecutor agrees that the case is iffy but says the trial prosecutor should make the decision.  The Harford County State's Attorney's Office has a "policy" against dropping DUIs.  I have had them dropped but it takes a lot of effort to show why it is wrong to try the case. The first trial prosecutor tells me he has read the Dukes case and that convinces him my client is guilty.  I explain to him that Dukes fell asleep in the travel portion of a road, blocked traffic, and was drunk before he got there.  He somehow thinks the cases are the same and after I nearly have a stroke trying to explain it to him, we postpone the case for a couple of months and he passes the case on to another prosecutor.

Now I start blowing up the new prosecutor's phone 2 weeks ago as I know he is smart and we can get this resolved.  Because of his schedule we do not talk until last week.  He says 2 other prosecutors decided not to drop it and there are all these cases in the file like Dukes that MUST support his case.  We go through the cases and the jury instructions and he has to read this irrelevant trash that was placed in the file.  On Friday we go through it again, and I make my comment and he agrees.  The agony the prosecutor's go through there to dismiss hurts to watch.  All 3 prosecutors are my courthouse friends and they are all good lawyers, but the knee jerk reaction to prosecute a DUI is wrong.  In fact, the first trial prosecutor said he would just have to put the dog and pony show on and then the jury could acquit.  The right decision was ultimately made, but the 3rd prosecutor was put in an awkward spot of "overruling" the judgment of two of his colleagues.  He really wasn't but he had to resolve that "conflict" before he could look rationally at the evidence.  The nightmare is over for my client and his expungement will be filed this week after the Clerk enters the dismissals in the system.  

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Contact Information

  • Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.
  • 29 W. Susquehanna Avenue, Suite 700
  • Towson, Maryland 21204
  • Toll Free: 866-435-2795
  • Locally: 410-415-9219
  • Fax: 410-823-0610

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