Of the 214 million licensed drivers in the U.S., thousands will drive drunk on any given day. The Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association found that 912 cases involving impaired driving were brought to state courts in 2015, and 832 had what the Maryland Coast Dispatch calls “positive outcomes,” or 91.2% — more than all other Maryland jurisdictions.
“These impressive conviction rates represent an allied partnership between our office and the men and women of our local law enforcement agencies that routinely take drunk drivers off our streets, put together strong cases and work hand in hand with our prosecutors to ensure that all are held accountable,” said Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a higher volume of travelers combined with more alcohol-impaired drivers cause nearly two times the number of auto accident fatalities during summer months than during the rest of the year combined. Still, Oglesby cites these findings as “impressive” and attributes the county’s success to the “amazingly dedicated” District Court staff.
In a recent Pew Research Center survey of 8,000 police officers, 93% said that they have become more concerned about the dangers of the job, and there’s no arguing the dangers that come with combating drunk driving. Lindsay Richard, Ocean City Police Department spokesperson, praises the team’s vigilance in obtaining repeated positive outcomes.
“We are grateful to work with our partners at the State’s Attorney’s Office who share our dedication to removing drunk drivers from our roadways,” she said. “Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle collision deaths so our officers are dedicated to strictly enforcing impaired driving. By working together, we are able to keep our roads safe from drunk drivers.”
Brian Clark is just one attorney to specialize in Ocean City DUI cases. As a former prosecutor, he has seen almost everything that can happen from both sides of DUI cases. He recently noted that he wasn’t at all surprised at Worcester County’s DUI conviction success. He also says that each and every case is viewed as an absolute priority and treated with “extreme care.”
Clark also feels as though other counties’ DUI conviction struggles stem from lack of enforcement, among other factors. He says that other counties gloss over certain aspects that should really be a central focus of the entire process like they are in the Ocean City and Snow Hill Courts. Clark believes that each prosecutor, police officer, judge, and court staff member must work in harmony to maximize the efficiency of the process.
Ultimately, it seems as though other Maryland counties could stand to learn a lesson from Worcester County’s prioritization of high DUI case conviction rates.
“The police and judges, along with the prosecutors, know it’s an important part of their job to handle these cases correctly,” said Clark.