A Baltimore District Judge has dismissed charges of driving under the influence in Maryland filed against Ryan Fox. Fox was stopped for speeding and charged with three DUI related offenses. The electronic ticket issued to him listed ‘driving/attempting to drive’ before each of the offenses. The inclusion of both phrases means two charges were filed for each offense, and a MD DUI defense attorney successfully argued that that such duplicitous charges are against the law.
The e-citation system replaced use of pen and paper, and it allows a law enforcement officer to swipe a motorist’s driver’s license and transfer citation information to the district court computer. The motorist is given a print out of the citation. The state police program software provided by the equipment manufacturer, meaning the specific wording is the responsibility of the state. A state police spokesperson says that the there is no problem with the e-citation system, and goes on to clarify that both chief and district court judges have been briefed on the e-ticket process. The Baltimore County State’s Attorney says that this is simply lawyers finding a new defense argument, though he said his office will research the issue.
Meng & Alpert, a law firm that focuses on Maryland DUI defense, says that duplicitous charges are nothing new. When pen and paper were used, a trooper would often not properly complete the form or improperly circle an offense.
Additional e-tickets issued for drunk driving in Maryland may be subject to the same ruling. In the case of Ryan Fox, the State’s Attorney intends to have the law enforcement officer redo the ticket and then plans to reintroduce the DUI charges.
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