Most defendants charged with DUI, DWI and other drunk driving crimes in Maryland do not realise their right to appeal and have a brand new trial. All misdemeanor criminal and traffic charges in Maryland are first tried in the District Court. If a defendant is not satisfied with the judge’s decision, the defendant can appeal to the Circuit Court. Under the Maryland Rules, this is called an appeal de novo. An appeal de novo wipes the slate clean and is a brand new trial. Whether the appeal is a new trial heard by a jury or a plea bargain before a judge, it completely replaces the original decision in the District Court. Often times in difficult cases, it is sound strategy to take a shot in District court and if it is not favorable, appeal.
As experienced Maryland DUI lawyers, we have found that in difficult cases, our clients often fair much better on appeal than in the original trial. This is usually due to the fact that the higher court is used to dealing with the most serious crimes and a DUI is, relatively speaking, not as serious as murders, rapes, and other crimes the higher court is accustomed to dealing with. It may also have something to do with the fact that delay is always a friend of the defense for several reasons.
For more information on Maryland DUI defense, please contact our experienced Maryland DUI lawyers.