Monday, July 11, 2011

Client acquitted of reckless driving, telephone testimony allowed by the court

An alleged victim claimed that my client pulled parallel to her car from her right side and get moving to the left pushing her out of her lane and into oncoming traffic. Eventually there was an accident and both cars stopped. The police were summoned and investigated the matter but did not issue any traffic citations. The alleged victim took the unusual step of going to the Commissioner and filing a statement of charges claiming that my client drove recklessly and made an unsafe lane change.

My client represented himself in the District Court. Although he had witnesses in the car those witnesses were not available for his trial. At the District Court level the judge found him guilty of both reckless driving and unsafe lane change.

My client came to me and I recommended that he appeal the case to the circuit court. An appeal of a traffic case or criminal case from the District Court to the circuit court is de novo. That means that the defendant gets a brand-new trial. What happened down below should not influence the judge or jury above. I interviewed his witnesses and they gave favorable testimony. The problem is that both of his witnesses were in Oregon and it was too expensive to bring them to Maryland for trial. My law firm filed a motion requesting that these witnesses be allowed to give testimony by telephone and that request was granted.

The case was called for trial and when it was time to present the defendant's case, I called the witnesses from Oregon. They stated that my client had signaled his turn, made the lane change safely and several seconds thereafter the alleged victim began honking her horn and speeding up and slowing down in an erratic manner behind my client. There was testimony from both the alleged victim and the defense witnesses that the defendant was driving between 30 and 40 mph. Eventually there was a collision. There was no evidence of alcohol or speeding or other aggressive driving.

At the end of the case, the judge found that this driving was at worst negligent driving but certainly not reckless driving. My client was acquitted of reckless driving. That saves him six points on his Maryland driving record.


Marlin said...

It is usual for road issues to have two victims and no suspects. That is usually the claim. No one will accept the blame. This is where good lawyers come in. What they do is bring out evidence that would turn the tides of the case in the favor of their clients. I am glad that you solved the case with a win. True enough, your efforts in bring out reliable witnesses paid off. At the end of the day, the truth will always prevail.

Marlin Sayle

Alecia said...

Today, it is good that we have modern means of communication that can help us with our lives. With the right amount of resourcefulness, there’s always a way to find ways on how to solve a crime for as long as it’s legal. It’s just so ironic that a phone call helped solved a crime when it is also one common reason why there are road mishaps nowadays.

Alecia Longsworth

Mike said...
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Mike said...
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Mike said...

Good thing you've turned the tables around, Tom. Your client must be so proud of you. :) Driving is actually a privilege, it's not a right. One needs competent legal counsel to win a reckless driving case.

Mike Clark

Tracy Pierre said...

Being responsible for the accident is fine, but being accused of something that you’re not is a different matter. Your client must’ve felt really great after the trial. You did your best in order to prove that it wasn’t a case of reckless driving. Thanks also to those witnesses from Oregon. It’s just really shows how important it is to have reliable witnesses when you’re in a situation like this. Without them, you wouldn’t have been able to prove your client’s innocence.

Tracy Pierre