September 2009 Archives

Starting October 1st, the State of Maryland will begin to impose new penalties against DUI and underage drinking offenders.The new DUI penalties are aimed at levying heavier punishment against repeat drunk driving offenders.  Specifically, any individual who is convicted of driving while impaired for a second time within a period of 5 years will be subjected to a mandatory 1 year suspension of their license.  The legislature has also increased what is referred to as the 'look back' period for repeat offenders.  In the past, Maryland Courts would consider a jail sentence in lieu of probation for any offender who had a prior DUI conviction over the past 5 years.  Under the new legislation, however, the 'look back' period has extended review for a prior DUI conviction to the past 10 years.

Whether you are accused of a crime in Maryland, Virginia, or the Didtrict of Columbia, the same rules apply, in most instances the State must inform you, and your attorney, of the identity of witnessess who will be testifying against you. A recent article in the Daily Record on August 27, 2009, wrote about this Maryland case, State v. Lancaster http and looked at this issue.

In Lancaster, the Defendant was allegedly in a group of armed men who robbed an Olney home after one of its residents used a counterfeit $100 bill to buy drugs from Lancaster's girlfriend. Before trial the Judge granted the State's request to bar Lancaster's lawyer from sharing the names of the State's witnesses with him. The Court reasoned that the substantial risk of harm to the witnesses outweighed Lancaster's right to know their names before trial.