Criminal defense lawyers are fond of making analogies to explain themselves to non-lawyers. Analogies can be very useful in closing argument and I intend to discuss some of those analogies in a future blog. Today I want to discuss the DUI defense lawyer as a DUI mechanic or technician.
Every DUI case has component parts. The prosecutor must know how these parts fit together in order to build a successful case. The defense lawyer must also know how these parts are supposed to fit together in order to dismantle the State’s case. This is an integral part of our criminal justice system, and the defense lawyer acts as a check on the government to make sure the prosecution follows all of the rules and regulations, statutory and constitutional provisions before the fact-finder – a judge or jury – concludes the defendant is guilty.
It’s as if you brought your car into the shop for the mechanic to repair or rebuild your car. The defense lawyer is like a competing mechanic watching the actual mechanic. The judge is a supervisor. When the actual mechanic tries to take a short-cut, and skip a part he has in short supply, the defense lawyer/opposing mechanic objects, and the judge/supervising mechanic can rule that the prosecutor/mechanic cannot complete the repair without doing it 100% correctly.
A DUI prosecution is a highly complex kind of case. It involves many rules. Many defendants, lawyers, prosecutors, and judges, handling what seems like an endless stream of these cases can easily forget the complexity involved, and just focus on the facts of the case. This leads to guilty verdicts in many cases that need not necessarily end in convictions.
Every piece of the DUI case, from the stop, to the exit from the vehicle, the performance of the field tests, to the arrest, the administration of the breath or blood test, through the charging decision, trial, and sentencing (if guilty), involves a series of rules to which the prosecutor must adhere or risk losing the case. A good DUI defense mechanic, by knowing exactly what is required to get a conviction, and sometimes knowing this better than the prosecutor or judge, may be able to dismantle the prosecution, and win the case.
If you are facing serious traffic charges in Maryland state or federal court, call Leonard R. Stamm or Johanna Leshner of Goldstein & Stamm, P.A. at 301-345-0122 for a free consultation.