A Maryland State Police trooper arresting a driver for DUI on a Friday night in Baltimore County is hardly a newsworthy occurrence. But when the same trooper arrests the same driver for the same offense just two hours after the first traffic stop it has to make your head turn. The first arrest happened just after midnight on Route 40 in Rosedale, an area northeast of Baltimore City. This stretch of highway is a hot area for late night police patrols, and officers are especially keen to impaired driving. On this particular night a trooper observed a woman driving 67 in a posted 50 mph zone on Route 40 and allegedly passing another car on the shoulder. A traffic stop ensued and the officer arrested the 33-year old female driver for suspicion of DUI. The Baltimore woman was also issued a host of other citations including negligent driving, reckless driving, open container and driving off the roadway while passing another vehicle. As is typical for most DUI cases the woman was processed at the police station and released a couple hours after the initial stop. What is not typical is that the woman decided to return to her car and drive home that same night.
The state trooper working that evening likely had an idea that the woman he arrested was not finished driving for the night. According to reports he observed her get back in her vehicle that was parked on a side street off 40. Police could have had the vehicle towed but they did her a favor and left it parked, which in hindsight was not favor at all. The trooper followed the woman for a short distance and then initiated another traffic stop at 1:58 a.m., less than 2 hours after and 2 miles away from the first stop. The same signs of impairment were observed and the woman was again arrested and taken to the police station. This time she received additional citations for driving within 12 hours after an arrest for DUI or DWI and willfully disobeying a lawful order of a police officer. Driving within 12 hours of a drunk driving arrest is a jailable offense that carries a maximum penalty of 60 days, and while it’s not that common, it is definitely an offense that a judge will not take lightly.
The woman will be summoned to appear for trial sometime in the next couple months at the district court in Essex. She may chose to resolve her cases in district court or request a jury trial and have the case transferred to Towson. In this type of situation the defendant and her attorney will likely be better served by trying to have the cases consolidated to the same trial date, which the clerk’s office will likely do considering the arresting officer is the same. Assuming the cases are set for trial on the same day a good defense strategy would be to try to enter into a plea agreement on one of the cases in exchange for the State dismissing the other. If the State agrees to drop one of the cases it may turn out to be the first case, as it would be reasonable to expect the prosecution to be firm on the charge of driving within 12 hours after a DUI arrest.