How a Prosecutor Prepares Your Maryland DUI for Trial

As a former Baltimore City Assistant State's Attorney I was trained by the State's Attorney's Office and the Police Department on how to prepare for a Maryland DUI trial.

Ever wonder how prosecutors prepare for your Maryland DUI trial?

Below is some insight into the minds of prosecutors as they prepare to prove you guilty of DUI in Maryland.

Arresting Police Officer

  1. Ask the officer how many times he has testified before

  2. Explain that the judge or jury must be able to visualize the event using the officer's description of what happened

  3. Go over the questions that you will be asking of the officer

  4. Remind the officer to be explicit about the bad driving

  5. Find out if there are any civilian witnesses

  6. Find out if the the officer used an interpreter

  7. Find out if there are any photos of the defendant, the car, or the scene

  8. Find out who made the stop, gave the field sobriety tests, transported the defendant, observed the defendant 20 minutes prior to the test, explained the DR-15, and gave the breath test

  9. Ask the officer if he has any additional notes regarding the defendant's performance on the field sobriety tests

  10. Remind the officer that the preliminary breath test is not admissible and that he should not mention it

  11. Find out what the officer's opinion is as to the defendant's sobriety

  12. Ask the officer if they made any preliminary observations prior to giving the defendant the horizontal gaze nystagmus

  13. Find out if the officer has the required documentation (any certifications of arresting officer regarding horizontal gaze nystagmus and field sobriety tests, breath operator, solutions and machine service, calibrations of the car or radar machine, printouts). Take these documents, review them to make sure they are the correct documents, mark them and be prepared to use them

  14. Review the DR-15 and check for problems

BAC Operator

  1. Review certifications

    1. Breath operator's certification card from the Maryland State toxicologist certifying operator as a breath operator (confirming certification on the arrest date)

    2. Maryland toxicologist certification for the intoximeter used in this case (compare the serial numbers and make sure certified on arrest date)

    3. Maryland toxicologist certification for the simulator solution used in the intoximeter (confirm that the solution certification number is the same on the certification as on the breath test strip)

  2. Review education and training received

  3. Review any recent repairs on the intoximeter and whether the instrument was operating properly at the time of the test

  4. Ask the breath operator how long they were with the defendant (20 minutes before the breath test?)

  5. Ask if the breath operator made any physical observations of the defendant
  6. Ask if the breath operator can give an opinion as to the defendant's sobriety

Fortunately for most people charged with a Maryland DUI, the prosecutors don't have enough time to properly prepare their witneses for trial. Why? Because the prosecutors don't know which cases are going to trial.

On any given traffic court docket there may be up to 10 DUIs for the prosecutor to handle. The Assistant State's Attorney has no idea which cases are going to trial and which are not.

This is a significant advantage for people charged with a Maryland DUI. Their private defense attorney has one case to handle, the State has multiple.

Prepare your Maryland DUI case for trial with your attorney and keep in the mind the things that prosecutors focus on when they are preparing to find your guilty of DUI in Maryland.

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