DUI and DWI

DUI and DWI

It’s clear that all across the country, law enforcement is taking DUI much more seriously. It seems like each year the laws become stricter and the consequences become more severe. Maryland law provides for substantial penalties if you are convicted of an alcohol-related traffic offense including both heavy fines, significant jail time and the loss of driving privileges. If you or a family member has been charged with DUI or DWI it is important to contact a lawyer immediately. Certain significant rights must be exercised within a short period of time or you may lose these rights. The Annapolis DUI and DWI attorneys at Fratus Brady understand how serious these charges are, and they have the experience necessary to handle your case correctly.

If you have been charged with driving while impaired or driving under the influence, the attorneys of Fratus Brady, LLC, will work diligently to investigate all aspects of the case against you by examining critical issues, including:

  • Was your initial traffic stop legal?
  • Was the police officer properly trained to administer a field sobriety test or breath test?
  • Was the breath testing equipment functioning properly?
  • Did the police officers involved in your case properly comply with all required rules and procedures?

There are several factors involved in a DWI/DUI charge that can be successfully challenged but your attorney must have the knowledge and skill to aggressively defend your rights and to guide you through what is a complicated process involving your interaction with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, the court system and the Motor Vehicle Administration. We prepare for each and every case as if it was going to be decided by a trial.

DUI and DWI

However, as we prepare for trial we make every effort to communicate effectively with law enforcement, the courts, prosecutors and the Motor Vehicle Administration to evaluate whether your case might be more favorably resolved without a trial. Either way, we are with you at every step of the process to ensure that you are treated fairly and with respect and to be certain that your case is resolved in a way that is as favorable to you as possible.

Let’s be honest: yes, there is a reason people don’t like lawyers but there is also a reason why people don’t like drunk drivers. It could be you, or your mother, father, son or daughter riding in the car that gets hit by a drunk driver. We know our clients did not hire us to be lectured or preached to about the evils of drunk driving and a lecture or sermon is not what you’ll get. But we also know that some of our clients will need help that has nothing to do with a courtroom and everything to do with a classroom or counselor’s office. This is why we also offer our clients the chance to find and enroll in an appropriate alcohol and/or drug education, counseling or treatment program before the scheduled court date. For some clients it may not be necessary, for others it might not make a difference, but for us, it means we still care about our clients and our community.

The legal implications of bad food at a restaurant

legal implications of bad food at a restaurant

Everyone has had at least one bad experience in a restaurant where the service or quality of food did not meet your standards. Over time we have come to expect and tolerate lower standards in the food service industry. Rarely does one walk out of restaurant with a feeling of satisfaction let alone that it was the perfect dining experience. While it is not possible to sue for bad service, the courts provide guidance on cases involving injuries due to bad food. One of the seminal cases relating to injuries caused by food in restaurants is Child’s Dining Hall Co. v. Swingler, 173 Md. 490, 197 A. 105, Md. 1938 in which a person was injured by a piece of tin stuck in a crab cake sandwich. The court discussed the different theories to impose liability on a restaurant.

The court explained why choosing the appropriate cause of action is so important by stating, “the question now presented is whether the restaurant keeper, in the serving of food, gives an implied warranty to the customer that its food is wholesome, free from injurious substances, of merchantable quality, and fit for human consumption. This question is so close and so greatly controverted that cases only similar in character are not helpful as precedents. To illustrate, a sharp distinction is made between the supplying of food in a restaurant, to be immediately consumed on the premises (together with those accompanying services afforded by the proprietor), and with those cases where food is sold in containers, or otherwise, to be taken away and consumed at some other time and place, or with suits against manufacturers, each class of such cases are the subject of much litigation and difference of opinion. There are numerous cases and diversity of opinion as to foreign substances or poisonous conditions of food contained in sealed cans, as well as upon the question here presented.” Id. at 492. In other words, the facts of the case will determine whether there is support for a breach of implied warranty or negligence action.

legal implications of bad food at a restaurant

The court held that typically a restaurant is liable under a theory of negligence and the case throughout the country “show the decided tendency in our state in dealing with cases of this character, not under the theory of contract, implied warranty and insurer, but under the theory of the want of due care and negligence. We hold that an action in tort in such cases as this affords to the injured person a convenient and adequate remedy, and disposes of the contention that the adoption of the negligence theory, rather than that of an implied warranty, would amount to a practical denial to those injured in cases from food adulteration, foreign substances, unmerchantable quality and injurious in their consumption. The theory of implied warranty, as previously pointed out, denies to the restaurant keeper an adequate defense; for, where it can be shown that he has served unwholesome food upon his premises, the obligations of an insurer is imposed upon him regardless of the care and prudence he may have exercised.” Id. at 503.

Even though most people simply refuse to return to a restaurant because of a bad meal the courts clearly recognize a cause of action if the restaurant fails to exercise the reasonable care in furnishing and serving food. Unfortunately this will not eliminate the wobbly tables, lack of ice in a glass of ice tea, or the server who would rather be somewhere else but it is a start.

DUI Deaths

DUI Deaths

In the early morning hours of May 15, 2011, a tragic car accident claimed the lives of three young passengers and severely injured another. The accident resulted from the 20-year-old driver’s intoxication after a night of drinking, which ended when the vehicle carrying the five occupants slammed into a tree.

Following the crash, the driver immediately fled, but he was arrested hours later, still with an alcohol level twice the legal limit. The driver pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter and one count of leaving the scene of an accident for the crash that killed three and injured another. The young driver received a sentence of 20 years in prison.

Sentence Review Panel

While anyone facing criminal charges should discuss their case with an experienced attorney, there are still options for those who have been convicted. In Maryland, an appeal of sentencing can take place without going to an appeals court. In this case, the panel heard arguments from both sides regarding possible reduction of sentencing and ruled to reduce the original sentence. This ability to hear arguments for reduction of sentencing allows those convicted in Maryland a different avenue to appeal sentencing decisions.

The review panel, consisting of three Maryland judges, significantly reduced the original 20-year sentence. The judges believed that the original sentence was too severe and extended beyond typical sentencing guidelines for such an incident.

The panel pointed to the fact that the other passengers willingly entered the vehicle. The judges also felt that the defendant should have been given more credit for the guilty plea at the original trial. The new ruling reduced the sentence from 20 to 15 years, with seven years suspended.