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Court clears rural Maryland police chief of DUI charge

Any drunk driving charge can be tough to fight in court. If drivers believe they did not violate the law, however, then they should assert their rights to contest the charges in court as soon as possible.

Consider the case of a rural Maryland police chief who was charged with DUI after being held at gunpoint by Somerset County sheriff's deputies. According to court documents, last June a deputy on patrol on U.S. Highway 13 noticed a pickup truck approach his vehicle from behind and come within just a few inches of his rear bumper. During the deputy's attempted stop of the vehicle, the pickup almost struck a building as it attempted to enter a carport. When the driver of the pickup tried to get out of his vehicle, he was stopped by the deputy. Records indicate that the arresting deputies, who were unaware that the driver was the Fruitland chief of police, held the man at gunpoint. The chief declined to take a field breath test and was arrested.

The chief's legal counsel used video surveillance of the incident to assert that the arresting deputies overreacted and that the chief did not act in a threatening or aggressive manner. During a routine walking test he did not stagger or sway or show signs of obvious intoxication. The court eventually ruled in favor of the police chief. The trial judge dismissed the charge, although the police chief still must be on probation for 90 days and pay $90 in court expenses and fines.

The case of the Maryland police chief shows that drunk driving cases can be dismissed through an aggressive criminal defense. In many cases, the same type of criminal defense can help an accused driver who seeks a plea negotiation for reduced DUI driving charges.

Source: USA Today, "Maryland police chief cleared of DUI/DWI charges," Vanessa Junkin, Dec. 9, 2014

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