Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.

Call Toll-Free: 866-435-2795

Locally at: 410-415-9219

Category: Criminal Defense

Right to Counsel

I watched the Webcast of the oral argument in the Court of Appeals concerning the right to counsel before you agree to take or refuse a breath test.  For almost the last 30 years it has been understood that if you request counsel, you can call a lawyer or be given a phone book to help find one.  The caveat is that it could not interfere with having the test performed within two hours so the State could have the benefit of the statutory presumptions regarding the breath test results.  This was thrown into question when the Court of Appeals in the Njafi case threw it out there, that although they were not deciding the issue, you might not be able to raise the denial of counsel in the Administrative Hearing, although you could in court.  This means that if you want to call your lawyer and they don't let you, the results of the test or the refusal are inadmissible in court, but the issue cannot be raised at the Administrative Hearing.  Now the lawyer's advice concerns both the Administrative side of the case (loss of license, interlock, suspension), and the Court side (the admission of the test results or the refusal).  It is hard to intellectualize how you parse this. One size should fit all.  

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Friday was the latest Seminar and the turnout was over 70 people.  There has always been a big turnout for this and years ago when we took it around the State, the total turnout would be around 200+.  There was a Maryland continuing legal education organization (MICPEL) then and we were the second biggest draw.  I stumbled upon a 1989 VHS tape of the program we did at University of Baltimore School of Law that I might convert to a DVD and watch to see how things have changed.

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Update on Breath Test Suppressed

After an almost two month wait a supervisor in the State's Attorney's Office in Baltimore City "allowed" a seasoned prosecutor to enter a Nolle Prosequi to the case where my client aced the fields and there was no breath test, and no bad driving.  The trial prosecutor calmed down after the Motions Hearing and knew she had nothing.  

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Update to Prescription Pills and Teenagers

I got the client a second probation here to go along with the 2 in another county-that totals 4.  All the judges agreed to modify to a PBJ if successful on probation.  My client gave a nice speech to the judge about being clean, living in a sober house, working, going to meetings everyday, and regaining his family’s trust.  That was on a Monday……….On Wednesday I get an email that he was arrested for Burglary on TUESDAY.  In the car they find items stole in a Burglary the preceding Friday (3 days before the second case).  He has now plead to the Burglaries- both violate the first probation I got him- the second violates the day before probation. In the car was also a bottle of or a stolen prescription for 180 Oxys. He just got probation and a drug court recommendation on the new Burglaries, but I am not too sure the 2 judges over here are going to go along with that program when they see him for his VOP. The prosecutor here is completely pissed off about the lying in court, and the words “drug court” are not coming out of her mouth. So much time and effort spent by everyone trying to help this kid, but his addiction ate him up.


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NOT GUILTY Baltimore City Circuit Court Jury Trial

It took less than a day of trial and the jury less than 10 minutes to acquit my client.  I was disappointed because I told the jury they shouldn’t be out more than a few minutes before acquitting.  This was a case where because of the “policy” of the State’s Attorney’s Office, every convicted drug dealing liar gets to use the State’s Attorney’s Office when they have a vendetta against someone. The convicted drug dealer managed to get my client charged in 3 separate cases.  Two of them were investigated and cleared by a detective before a different police officer and Court Commissioners got snookered into issuing charges. When I summonsed the investigating detective and the other officer who investigated those cases to court the prosecutors spoke to them and then dismissed the charges, without even bothering to speak to the “victim” who was sitting in the rear of the courtroom. 

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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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