Maryland police have always been tough on drunk drivers, but the penalties for a DUI/DWI conviction are even more severe since Noah’s Law went into effect October 1, 2016. Now, in addition to potential prison time, fines, and driver’s license suspension, some offenders will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on their vehicle. You need a strong defense when you’re facing such harsh punishment, and one strategy is the use of motions to weaken the prosecution’s case against you. A Maryland DUI/DWI lawyer can tell you more about presenting these motions during the pre-trial phases of your case.
Motion Proceedings Before Trial: The time between your DUI/DWI arrest and your trial is known as the pre-trial phase. During this period, you have the opportunity to review the prosecutor’s case against you and determine whether there are any issues you can contest. If there are any factual or procedural weaknesses, you bring them to the court’s attention through different types of motions. Through use of pre-trial motions, you can assess the evidence against you and identify the facts that will be presented at your trial. An aggressive motion practice helps ensure fairness in the proceedings; plus, it may give you some bargaining power if you want to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecuting attorney.
Types of Motions: While the specific rules may vary in different Maryland counties, pre-trial motions typically include:
· Motion to Compel: When the prosecution is in possession of certain evidence that you need to prepare for your trial, you and your attorney may file a motion to compel turnover of the information. If granted, the prosecutor must provide you with access to the evidence, which may be used to support your side of the case.
· Motion to Suppress: If there is evidence against you that the prosecuting attorney should not be able to present in court for legal reasons, you use a motion to suppress that information from being introduced at trial. Motions to suppress are often based upon civil rights violations, such as an officer conducting an improper search. Where the search was improper, any evidence collected would be barred in court.
· Motion to Dismiss: There may be grounds for you and your lawyer to file a motion to dismiss all DUI/DWI charges against you, which would fully clear you of any crime. These motions often attack the strength of the case against you, as prosecutors must be able to prove certain facts in order to convict. A lack of probable cause to pull you over for drunk driving could be grounds for a motion to dismiss the charges.
While a general understanding of pre-trial motion practice in Maryland DUI/DWI cases is useful, you should trust a qualified criminal defense attorney to assist you with the process. The legal and procedural rules are highly complex, and your chances of success increase if you have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side. If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving and are facing harsh penalties, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to discuss your situation.
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