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Drunk driving victim panel site of Maryland man's DUI charge

Maryland law requires some individuals convicted of driving under the influence to attend a victim impact panel regarding drunk driving. Those convicted of drunk driving offenses meet with DUI accident victims. An individual ordered to attend such a panel arrived at the location with another individual that allegedly drove him there. The observations of an officer at the forum ended up arresting the attendee for drinking on public property. The man who apparently drove him there was separately arrested for DUI.

After observing the alleged driver, he located the man required to attend the meeting in a vehicle containing a cooler of containing beer and an open container. Based on these observations, the 66-year-old man believed to be the driver and his 34-year-old supposed passenger were arrested. No information regarding what other evidence, if any, was gathered in order to substantiate the charges that were ultimately filed against the two men.

The officer apparently did not observe the man accused of DUI actually behind the wheel of the vehicle. Prosecutors will have the burden of proving that the man was (1) operating the vehicle and (2) driving under the influence while doing so. If they cannot establish these facts in court and beyond a reasonable doubt, the charges cannot stand.

Everyone that comes in contact with the criminal justice system is afforded the right to the presumption of innocence until and unless proven guilty according to the strict requirements of the court. Absent that, Maryland prosecutors will not be able to secure a conviction. The criminal defense team will likely review all of the evidence and circumstances surrounding this man's DUI charge and make a determination of the best way to proceed in order to achieve the best outcome possible for the client. Likewise, a similar effort will be necessary on behalf of the man accused of violating Maryland's statute concerning the consumption of alcohol on public premises.

Source: NBC Washington, Maryland Man Charged With DUI at Drunken Driving Forum, No author, March 13, 2014

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