I had a trial in Baltimore City. I asked the supervisors to review the video as I thought my client did well on the SFSTs. The stop was for a brake light and there was no bad driving and everything else was almost perfect. I cannot get the case dismissed or amended to a Negligent. I think the new posture is to try it and lose it before reducing it to a non-DUI/DWI. Well they tried it and lost it. The judge asked if we had tried to work it out and I said I offered a Stet (form of dropping it) and they declined. The State offers Stets not the defense, so it was pretty funny.
As it turned out the State could not get past the stop as there was no reason to ask my client to exit the vehicle. The case was over before we got to the entire video. There is a great deal of pressure on the State in dealing with DUIs and they prefer to pass the buck to the judge. It is a reality we have to live with.
However I also had a Leaving the Scene case with the same prosecutor the same day that had to be postponed because none of the State’s witnesses could be there. The charge had resulted in a notice for Violation of Probation for a case in Harford County. The police officer who wrote the ticket did not know the law. The prosecutor spent the next 2 weeks making multiple attempts to speak to the witnesses to confirm the officer’s report, and explain to them that no crime had been committed. She succeeded and moved the case up to Tuesday from June and dismissed it. When I went to Harford County today for the VOP the prosecutor said we would postpone it until after the June trial in Baltimore City. I explained and showed him what the prosecutor in the City did and he dismissed the VOP. One of the lessons is that cases are not personal. She was not happy losing the DUI, but she immediately moved past it and worked overtime to dismiss the Leaving the Scene to allow us to avoid a postponement on the VOP and an extra court appearance in Harford County.
Conversely, I had a case in the Circuit Court for Harford County today that was Nol Prossed. The prosecutor told me months ago she would not advance it to dismiss it so we all had to appear today. She could have filled out a paper by hand and walked it to the Clerk’s Office (down the hall from her office) a couple months ago dismissing it ( you do not have to dismiss it in open court). Instead my client and her co-defendant had to take the morning off, I had to postpone a case in Essex and we sat there waiting for her. The only reason the VOP was today was because I knew I was going to be there for the Circuit Court case so I took advantage of being in Harford County (before the Leaving the Scene case was postponed to June in the City). There was no reason to handle the matter this way. Interestingly, the Baltimore City prosecutor is new and the Circuit Court prosecutor has been in the office 10-15 years. You would think she would accommodate the defendants, the court, and the lawyers by dismissing the case months ago. Bottom line is she did not care. A new prosecutor had more sensitivity.