DUI on Federal Property

Like finger prints, no two criminal/DUI cases are exactly alike; because cases are all different, results can vary from case to case depending on a number of issues. There are DUI cases where the defendant was on Federal property, and the case is therefore subject to adjudication under the Code of Federal Regulations which unfortunately is substantially different from Maryland State Law. A drunk driving charge that occurs in a National Park is governed by the laws of the National Park Service, a Federal agency. Additionally, depending on the facility location, the state may also have concurrent jurisdiction meaning the charges could be brought under Federal Law Maryland State law.

The Assimilative Crimes Act states that cases outside of the jurisdictional territory of the National Park Service are adjudicated according to the state location of the Federal property, such as a military base. This can be problematic for the defendant, as the Federal law allows for harsher penalties then state law. For example, Federal law does not recognize probation before judgment. Thus if a defendant is charged under the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) and PBJ is not a possible outcome (like it is in Maryland), that means that a DUI defendant is subject only to a guilty disposition if his case is not won in court.

Overlapping statutes and multiple layers of government are always a component of the concept of "making a Federal case out of it." A Maryland Federal DUI arrest is as complicated as any, and it takes an effective and experienced Maryland DUI lawyer to ensure the defendant's rights are properly advanced and protected.

It is important for the defendant to understand that while they may be in the Federal system, a far more limited venue then state court, they still have rights. Many cases are prosecuted on borderline evidence regarding impairment because the Government prosecutors know that DUI defense from the defendant's perspective is always an up hill battle, ie. Judges and jurors are inclined to side with the police because of the nature of the offense.

There is no unique Federal DUI law, thus the standard of impairment in a Maryland Federal DUI arrest is .08. However, a police officer can build and normally does file a case against a defendant with a lower BAC concentration. The .05 standard is sufficient for a reckless driving conviction, and many courts set policy for charging anyone who registered at .03 or greater. Furthermore, it only takes reasonable articulable suspicion of impairment to stop a vehicle or any other sundry traffic charge will suffice, for example, a simple seat belt violation is sufficient for a lawful traffic stop, which can then blossom into a DUI arrest.

If the arresting officer questions the individual before the arrest, arrest is indicated by handcuffing and informing the defendant he is under arrest, that information is generally admissible. If the questioning is done after the arrest, then Mirandizing the Defendant becomes necessary. It is always a good idea when speaking to the police to remember you do not need to answer any questions, and probably should not. The truth is, anything you say, can and will be used against you in court; and it is so used.

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