My Howard County driving without a license client and I received a not guilty verdict in District Court after a bench trial.
How Criminal Defense Attorney Ross W. Albers won a Howard County Driving Without a License Trial
My client was charged with motor vehicle theft, theft of property between $1,000-$10,000, and driving without license.
The facts of the case were that a police officer received an alert that the car my client was driving was reported stolen. The officer pulled the car over and ask for my client’s license. My client’s boyfriend was also in the car.
My client provided the officer with an identification card, not a driver’s license. The officer ran my client’s information and discovered that she did not have a driver’s license.
As to the stolen car, my client told the police officer that her boyfriend had the car for approximately three weeks.
At the first court date, the State’s Attorney told my client and I that the police officer was available, or “on-call.” Turns out, the police officer was actually in Baltimore City on duty for the riots. Over my objection, the court granted the State a postponement.
Last week, we returned for our second court date. Initially, the State was offering my client a guilty plea to the motor vehicle theft and recommending jail time. I explained my client wouldn’t accept that plea because the State couldn’t prove that she knew the car was stolen. I advised that my client might be willing to accept a plea to driving without a license in exchange for a probation before judgment (PBJ). The State rejected our counter offer.
The case was called for trial and the witnesses were sworn-in. The court then took a brief recess.
During the recess, the State advised they would be willing to offer my client a plea to driving without a license. I advised that my client wouldn’t accept that offer because the State couldn’t prove its case now!
The State failed to provide a copy of my client’s driving record before trial as provided by the district court discovery rules. Therefore, the State had no evidence that my client didn’t have a license and couldn’t prove its case.
When court resumed, I made a motion in limine to prevent the State was introducing at trial my client’s driving record based on the State’s discovery violation. The Court agreed and granted my motion.
The one charge that the State could definitely prove against my client, driving without a license, was now unprovable because the State didn’t follow the rules of discovery. As to the remaining theft charges, my client was found not guilty because the State couldn’t prove she knew the vehicle was stolen.
Despite losing the case against my client, the Assistant State’s Attorney was able to get a conviction against the co-defendant boyfriend. The prosecutor did a great job, was easy to work with and made some great arguments as to multiple motions that came up during trial.
As a criminal defense attorney, you have to understand what the State needs in order to prove the elements of each charge. In this case, I knew that the theft charges were weak. I also knew that if the State didn’t hand me my client’s driving record before trial, then the State’s driving without a license case was over.
My client was happy and headed back home, hopefully not driving a car this time.
Schedule a Free Howard County Driving Without a License Consultation
Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney Ross W. Albers is a former Baltimore City prosecutor. The Law Offices of Ross W. Albers is based in Carroll County, Maryland and handles the following matters throughout Maryland: criminal, driving under the influence, peace orders, and personal injury. Contact the Law Office of Ross W. Albers to schedule a free consultation today!