Carroll County District Court is open for trials. The dockets are only s few cases and times are staggered. I had no trouble trying a case on the 2:15 PM docket. This was a “new” case. The offense happened in August. Most cases are pre-pandemic closing. There was a police officer and a breath technician- who never got to testify. It was clear to me that the State would have a problem introducing the breath test. What you don’t know beforehand is how the police officer will testify concerning the Standardized Field Sobriety exercises. This officer could not recall very much and ended up agreeing to everything I suggested during my cross-examination. There was no way to convict of the lesser Driving While Impaired, so the breath test was the key because there was enough evidence for the stop and asking her to take the breath test. Based on the police officer’s answers to my cross-examination, the BEST the State could hope for was that the breath test was administered after 18 minutes of observation instead of the 20 minute required period. It wasn’t even that close.
After the arresting officer finished his testimony, instead of dragging the case out for another hour, I asked the judge if I could argue why the test wasn’t going to come into evidence.I had all I needed and my technical arguments dealing with the documents was going to be a waste of time. The judge has had a zillion cases with me and knew I knew what I was doing and appreciated that I could cut to the chase instead of wasting an hour. The bottom line was the test did not come into evidence.
The second bottom line was that the police officer provided the judge with few clues of my client’s impairment. As the judge said, she would have to guess. So my client was found Not Guilty of the 3 alcohol charges as well as the speeding charge as I kept the speed out of evidence as well. I just filed the expungement.