Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.

Call Toll-Free: 866-435-2795

Locally at: 410-415-9219

Posts Tagged ‘2014 Maryland Super Lawyers Criminal Defense: DUI/DWI’

You Pay Peanuts You Get a Monkey

That is a phrase my former partner used years ago when he set a fee and the potential client said he or she knew a cheaper lawyer.  I started writing this a couple months ago but thought I would finish it today.  The particular case that generates this was an Ex Parte involving an allegation of Child Abuse.  The mother filed it in Somerset County as that is where it allegedly occurred.  The mother lives in Howard County.  The judge found no abuse and dismissed the Petition.  The statute allows ONLY for an appeal to be filed in the County where the original Petition was heard.  You cannot  file a valid new Petition elsewhere, only Somerset County has jurisdiction- it is in black and white in the statute.  The mother files a NEW Petition in the Circuit Court for Somerset County and it is heard and Dismissed by the trail judge as only an Appeal is allowed.  The mother then files an Appeal.  The Appeal will the be heard in Circuit Court, unless you have paid peanuts.

The mother now files a new Petition in Howard County. The mother also hires a lawyer in Howard County.   Instead of dismissing the improperly filed Howard County Petition (that is virtually verbatim of the Somerset County Petition) and taking his lazy ass to Somerset County to try the Appeal which is de novo ( meaning a new trial), he dismisses the Somerset County Appeal.   I emailed the lawyer the night before and explained the law to him and he emails back stating he did not need me to educate him.  Apparently he did.  I wanted to save my people from driving all the way from Somerset to Ellicott City. We show up and the judge dismisses the Howard County petition because she has no jurisdiction to hear it- jurisdiction is in Somerset County for the Appeal only that he dismissed! 

It gets worse, we walk out of courtroom and try to make arrangements for the return of the child, and the lawyer says he is filing a NEW PETITION based on newly discovered evidence.  Well we come back a week later and not only is there no newly discovered evidence, the evidence he claims he had was bizarre and unbelievable.  Before I could move for dismissal, he does.  All he had to do was go to Somerset County and he could have retried the Appeal with the original evidence and anything else he thought he might have.  My guess is he did not want to drive there.  He is one of the low fee advertising lawyers.  I took him to task years ago for not doing his own work and relying on the list serve to save his clients.  He even called me at home incredulous that I had given him a public spanking.  He deserved it then and deserves it now, but I will not use his name.  Just remember my former partner's admonition.   

 

DUI Dismissal in Baltimore County

Another Body cam video that added nothing for the State.  The client was charged with a DUI based upon an accident.  No one could testify if he was the driver or the passenger.  The Body Cam did not show anyone in the car after the accident.  The investigation did not reveal who was operating the vehicle at the time of the accident.  I refused a lesser offense of DWI because you can either prove it or you cannot.  The charges were dropped.

Once in the hallway waiting for the paperwork, another criminal defense lawyer came up to my client and his father.  The lawyer told the father and the client that I am the lawyer other lawyers hire when they get a DUI.  It was very nice of him to say that.  My client and his dad responded that another lawyer had referred them to me.  It is nice when one of your peers goes out of his way to compliment you. 

Don’t Be Lazy! Watch the Body

You may be surprised to learn that when you are drinking you don't remember much of what went on in your interaction with the police. You knew it at the time, but recollecting it in my office is a different story.  That is why the Body Cam is invaluable.  Now if you pay peanuts, you get a monkey, meaning you get a lawyer who is going to do the least amount of work possible- sometimes none except to show up and plead you guilty to whatever the State wants.  The Body Cam is not being sent automatically and you have to follow up and ask.  Sometimes you win the case because of it, or sometimes you suppress the breath test.  Suppression was what happened last week.

My client could not believe what I told the client I was watching.  The client reacted to the police behavior at the time, but did not remember it later.  First of all NO ONE watched the client for the full 20 minutes preceding the test. The client was left on her own part of the time.  Worse, while the officer was doing his paperwork with his back to her, a second officer walked over to her and told her the judge would go easier if she took the test!!!  Absolutely results in suppression.  I gave the judge an opening statement, and after rolling her eyes she said she thought she should view the video now to see if we could deal with the breath test suppression up front.  I also gave her the email I sent to the prosecutor two nights before after I finished watching it.  The email outlined the exact times on the video that the police did something wrong. I did not go home until I watched it and sent the email, criminal defense is not a 9 to 5 profession.  The judge watch where I told her and returned and threw the breath test out.  The case was resolved for the lesser offense of DWI.  That was a win.
 

The Best Lawyers in America 2018

I have once agin been fortunate to make the list for the 11th straight year.  As I wrote in the past, it does not mean anything unless you do the work for each client.

Baltimore County Body Cam Not Guilty

I just returned from court after a Not Guilty verdict in a DUI.  There were 14 Body Cams but only one that was diapositive.  That Body Cam showed my client at his car and the subsequent field sobriety testing.  The officer's report was 100% accurate, but there is a difference in how you visualize the written word as compared to what you actually see.  Small "failures" are not really failures.  

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  • Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.
  • 29 W. Susquehanna Avenue, Suite 700
  • Towson, Maryland 21204
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  • Locally: 410-415-9219
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