State v. Gary D., District Court of Maryland for Howard County

I represented Mr. D. on two traffic offenses in connection with a traffic accident that occurred on January 6, 2006 at the intersection of the southbound exit ramp of Interstate 95 and westbound Route 175.  He was charged with violating Trans. 21-403(b) for failing to stop at an entrance to a through highway and yield the right of way, and 21-901.1(b), negligent driving.  The maximum fine for each offense is $500.  While we could have entered guilty pleas in each, and asked for a reasonable fine, I was concerned with the potential civil liability a guilty plea may have caused.  In addition, after a review of the evidence, it appeared he had not violated the Transportation Code as charged.

The Case

On November 29, 2006, Mr. D. entered a plea of not guilty and proceeded on an agreed statement of facts before the Honorable Pamila Brown.    Both the State and the defense provided argument on the agreed statement of facts on the issue of guilt or innocence.  Judge Brown requested written argument from both the State and the defense.  I filed a memorandum in the case on the prevailing law, which was ultimately accepted by Judge Brown as the correct statement of the law and ultimately used as the basis to find Mr. D not guilty of both the charges.

The case depended upon whether the judge determined that Route 175, at the intersection of the southbound exit ramp of Interstate 95, was a “though highway” pursuant to Maryland Transportation Code 21-403(b).  We presented two legal theories to the Court that we believed supported our view that he was not guilty of the charges.  The first was that Trans. Code 21-101(x), defines a “through highway” and that the intersection of Rt 175 and I-95 did not meet that definition.  In addition, the roadway failed to meet the definition of a roadway that controls traffic by the placement of either stop or yield signs.

Verdict:

Not guilty on all counts

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