July 2011 Archives

I-695 Speed Cameras

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most interesting man.jpgI don't drive to Towson often and when I do I usually use I-83 (sounds like a commercial for the most uninteresting man in the world). I heard about the speed camera in place around Liberty Road but I had not experienced it first hand until yesterday. Seeing it in action has inspired me. Let me start by stating that, as a Maryland criminal defense attorney, I have a general disdain for red light cameras and speed cameras. I think that they are unsafe and lower the standard of proof needed by the state to convict a defendant for a traffic violation. The speed camera at Liberty Road further supports my opinion. On its best day the I-695 corridor at Liberty Road is an area where traffic slows. More often than not, that section of road is a bottleneck causing epic rush hour traffic jams. Now there is construction going on at the exit for Liberty Road (slower speed in a construction zone is probably the rational for placing a mobile speed camera there). So we have a stretch of road notorious for traffic jams. Now add construction and a speed camera. This combination creates rush hour traffic jams in the middle of the day. The pace of traffic suddenly slows by 20mph because drivers don't want to get a ticket. The sudden decrease in speed and congestion creates dangerous driving conditions. Portner & Shure handles auto accident cases throughout Baltimore County and recently we have been contacted by numerous clients injured in rear end collisions at this very location.

Should Maryland Require Translation of DUI-Test Consent

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German Marquez, is a Salvadorian who was charged with failing to submit to a breath test in New Jersey. He successfully appealed his conviction in the state Supreme Court because he was read the statement warning him of the penalties he faced if he did not submit to a breath test only in English. The ruling of the state Supreme Court essentially levels the playing field for non-English speaking residents to that of English speakers. Until now, in Maryland and Virginia, drivers are deemed as having given implied consent to a breath test as a condition of being on the road. The American Civil Liberty Union feels that the prior lack of a translation policy meant non-English speakers were being held to a "higher standard" of being expected to memorize what is in the driver's manual. The ACLU has compared the need for translation of consent to a breath test to the need of translating Miranda rights and court proceedings, which the state's courts do provide.