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State v. Thomas

Case Conclusion Date: 01.12.2010

Practice Area: DUI and DWI

Outcome: Not Guilty

Description: This case dealt with the importance of jurisdiction in a DUI stop. Most police agencies have limited jurisdiction in the State of Maryland so it is important to know which police agency participated in your stop/arrest and where you were driving at the time, (ie. what county.) The Maryland State Police Department has jurisdiction throughout the State of Maryland so they may effectuate a lawful stop essentially anyplace in Maryland. However, it gets interesting when a county police officer effectuates a traffic stop outside of his authorized jurisdiction. When a county officer is outside of his jurisdiction, that officer is no longer an authorized police officer and instead becomes a normal citizen. Consequently, if the officer is driving home and sees a car weaving (outside his jurisdiction), he is not authorized to stop that car under the color of police authority, but rather must call in to the local police agency and have that agency effectuate a stop. This procedure was not followed in this case, the stopping officer was outside his jurisdiction and consequently the stop was deemed illegal. If the stop is deemed illegal, then any evidence obtained is not admissible in court and the Government's case fails, which is what happened here.

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