With sustained winds of 74 miles, Hurricane Irene pummeled the eastern seaboard and arguably two unfortunate Maryland drivers who were charged with DUIs as the result of traffic accidents that occurred during this natural disaster. Property damage via widespread flooding, beach erosion, loss of vegetation, electricity, modern modes of communication, and other conveniences, were experienced during and in Irene's wake. Jose Miguel Serrano and Marty Ray Hubbard, Jr. were two Maryland drivers not spared her disruptive effects. It is undisputed that the likelihood of a traffic accident or collision is exponentially increased when operating a vehicle in inclement weather, moreso during a natural disaster. While authorities cautioned motorists to avoid operating vehicles in these weather and road conditions, compliance is not always possible. Individuals who traversed Maryland's roadways during Irene's onslaught certainly faced aberrant-driving conditions. Despite this reality, both Mr. Serrano and Mr. Hubbard now face DUI charges. Arguably, driving conditions during and within the normalcy restorative period favorably mitigate charges of DUI and in many instances act towards a dismissal/exoneration of these charges.
DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol) is a serious criminal offense. The penalties of a conviction of a DUI charge could include imprisonment. Conviction on this offense requires the State prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant: (1) drove, operated, moved, or was in actual physical control of the vehicle, and (2) at the time, the Defendant was under the influence of alcohol. A blood alcohol test result of 0.08 or higher at the time of testing is prima facie evidence of driving under the influence of alcohol. The steps you take to defend yourself against these charges may be the only acts that protect your rights, privileges, livelihood, and possibly keep you out of jail.