All counties tend to treat DUI charges and DUI lawyers differently, a Howard County DUI is no different. Howard County has that bumper sticker that says “Civility in Howard County.” I am pleased to report that the absolute majority of Judges, perhaps more so than any other county, are just that, civilized, pleasant and fair. If you find yourself in the unenviable position of being charged with a DUI/DWI in Howard County, well at least it occurred in a jurisdiction that is geared towards fair trials and recognizes quality alcohol treatment and rehabilitation such as Columbia Additions in Howard County, Maryland.
Your DUI charges will be heard in the District Court of Maryland in Howard County, located off Rogers Avenue on Martha Bush Drive. The Circuit Court for Howard County is also located off Rogers Avenue so be attentive to which court house your going to. You would not proceed to Howard County Circuit Court unless you or your DUI lawyer demanded a jury trial in connection with your DUI charges or unless you received some very serious charges in connection to your DUI. If you were charged with the run of mill DUI offense and related traffic tickets, you’re in the District court.
Howard County District Court has five courtrooms and your DUI case can be heard in any of the five rooms on any given day. When you proceed to the courthouse and walk in, through the metal detector, you turn right, walk through another set of doors and your at the court rooms. In Howard County, your DUI court notice may have had a courtroom assignment on the notice but by advised that can change by your court date. Thus, seek out the bulletin board in the courtroom hallway and check for your name on the board; start with the courtroom you think your in and find your name. If its not there, just check the other courtroom assignment sheets until you do locate your name. You can then proceed to that courtroom and sit down and wait for your DUI lawyer to arrive. When your lawyer arrives, they will generally approach the prosecutor in the front of the room (right side table) and see where the case stands. That is, in order for the state’s attorney to prove the DUI/DWI case against you they must have all their state’s witnesses present in court. Importantly this includes the breath technician which is generally a Howard County police officer that operated the breath machine on the night of your arrest. If this person is not present or otherwise available in court on your trial date this can be beneficial to your DUI trial. Additionally, the arresting officer must also be present, he is either a Howard County police officer or a Maryland State Trooper working in Howard County. Either way, both or all of these officers must be present or otherwise available to the prosecutor or the state may have a problem proving your DUI case against you. If it turns out that all the police officers are not available to testify on your trial date the prosecutor generally becomes more amenable to reducing the severity of your DUI charges, this could even mean that your lawyer has a chance of getting around the DUI charges all together.
As the bumper sticker says, Howard County is a civilized and friendly jurisdiction. You should come to court dressed accordingly, this includes a tie and jacket or business casual wear. It is important to recognize the importance of your DUI charge in Howard County and handle it accordingly by securing a good lawyer that knows the ropes in terms of how the Judges react to any given set of DUI facts, what kind of alcohol treatment should be secured pre-trial, etc. Additionally, as is always the case, your communication with the state’s attorney or a judge, should be both brief (after checking with your lawyer first) professional and polite. Chances are likely that if your attorney has properly prepared you for your day in court, advised you of the do’s and don’ts of court, and has properly prepared your DUI case for trial, that your day will be easy, successful, and civilized.