Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When a .07 Blood Alcohol Content Is Not a .07 Blood Alcohol Content

Recently I was presented with a fairly normal drunk driving case. The officer in his report stated that he saw the defendants vehicle lose control while going around the corner. After coming upon the defendant the officer smelled the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage, the defendant did poorly on the field sobriety tests and when the defendant elected to take a breath test results for .07 blood alcohol content. This is certainly sufficient information to charge driving while impaired in the state of Maryland. It also can have a disastrous consequence on the driving privilege of a driver who is under 21 years of age as my client was.

What is fairly normal on the surface can be different when the facts of the case are explored. In my particular case my client was a type I diabetic and has been such for over 12 years. At the time that my client was stopped by the police he was having a diabetic reaction based on an unusual set of circumstances. We were able to present a physician who had an expertise in diabetes. This physician was able to testify that the "alcohol smell" that the officer noticed was not actually alcohol but a byproduct of the diabetic reaction. Further, she was able to testify that the poor field tests were a result of the diabetic reaction which include dizziness and unsteadiness. Finally, she was able to give the opinion that what the breath machine read was not actually alcohol but ketones which again were a result of the diabetic reaction.

We had this expert in court and in court the prosecution dropped the driving under the influence as well as the driving while impaired charge. My client did not sustain a conviction at all.

Before the motor vehicle administration my client was facing up to a one-year suspension of his license as a result of the allegations. At the motor vehicle administration the expert testified consistent with the above. My client testified very credibly as did his father. At the end of the hearing the judge was persuaded that we had presented sufficient evidence as to cast into doubt the evidence presented by the state of Maryland. No action was taken against my client.

DWI usually means driving while impaired, for your defense attorney it should mean "defending with ingenuity". When you are selecting an attorney to defend you in a drunk driving case choose somebody who has the experience and insight to best represent you.

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