Some lawyers identify a rating they have received. The truth: there is no official rating system for lawyers. Advertizing companies have created rating systems to get lawyers to pay them.
Lawyers must follow the Rules of Professional Conduct, which prohibit making a comparison among lawyers that can not be “factually substantiated” or create an “unjustified expectation” about the outcome of a case.
Lawyers can identify their education; describe their experience; and present some sample cases. Any claims suggesting some other kind of excellence may stray too far from the rules. The problem for those seeking to choose a lawyer is that advertising companies do not follow the rules of legal ethics.
Rating a Lawyer
To help you decide whether Matt Lavine is the best DUI defense lawyer for you, here is a partial list of recent cases:
Anne Arundel County – The defendant was standing along a road. His car had collided with a curb, breaking as axle. As he waited, a town police officer arrived to assist. Suspecting that the defendant had been driving under the influence (DUI), the town officer called a county police officer. The town officer left, and the county officer later arrested the defendant for DUI. At the station, a third officer recorded that the defendant refused to take the breath test. Police reports did not fully support this claim. On the day of trial, the case was dismissed because of the defense refusal to plead guilty.
Baltimore City – At trial, the arresting officer testified that the defendant failed the standard field sobriety tests. Under Lavine’s cross-examination, the officer admitted that the defendant had told the officer that he had physical defects that inhibited walking and standing. The officer acknowledged that he did not account for these conditions. Also, the officer admitted that he had a camera on his car but that he knowingly left the camera pointed away from the defendant. The Court found the defendant not guilty of DUI and DWI.
Baltimore County – Several State and County police officers surrounded the defendant’s minivan. When the defendant, a small, older woman, emerged, one officer escorted her to the back of her van while other officers searched the van, took the woman’s purse and searched the purse. They found prescription medicine and then charged the defendant with Driving Under the Influence of drugs. Lavine obtained the video and argued that the search violated the Fourth Amendment, rendering the drugs inadmissible and dismissing the case.
Cecil County – The police, responding to a domestic violence complaint, saw the defendant driving a car. After taking the defendant into custody, the police realized that the complaint was false. At the police station, the defendant was directed to perform standard field sobriety tests. Lavine filed a Motion to Suppress the field sobriety tests as they violated the defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights. The DUI and DWI charges were dismissed.
Frederick County – At trial, the State trooper testified that he observed the defendant’s vehicle weaving in and out of lanes on a highway. After stopping the vehicle, he stated, the woman driving responded incoherently and failed the field sobriety tests. Using the police video, Lavine cross-examined the trooper and showed that the defendant’s driving was not substandard. A jury found the defendant not guilty of DUI.
Howard County – At trial, the police officer testified that, while setting up a DUI checkpoint, he saw a truck blocking the roadway. Approaching the truck, he saw the defendant asleep with his foot on the brake and the engine running. The officer testified that the defendant smelled of alcohol was unsteady on his feet. On cross-examination by Lavine, the officer admitted that the defendant, handcuffed behind his back, walked about 800 yards, without assistance, following the police officer to the area where the defendant was interrogated. Lavine also proved that the defendant’s shifts at work had forced him to stay awake for more than 30 hours. Lavine argued that the lack of sleep, not a glass of wine hours earlier, had caused the defendant’s behavior. The jury found the defendant not guilty of DUI.
Kent County – At trial, the officer admitted that there was only one half-empty bottle of beer and the remaining five in the six-pack had remained unopened. The DUI was dismissed.
Montgomery County – Police officers arrived at the scene of a minor accident on I-270 and were informed that the defendant had fallen asleep while waiting for permission to leave. Officers interrogated the defendant and the lead officer made her go through field sobriety tests. The defendant was not released, and other officers searched he van, finding a prescription bottle filled with multiple pills in the defendant’s purse. Hours later, in the police station, the defendant was given a blood test, which revealed the defendant had ingested two medicines categorized as controlled dangerous substances. At a Hearing on Lavine’s Motion to Suppress all evidence, the officer testified as to the basis of his decision to detain the defendant and then search her vehicle. Using the police video, Lavine demonstrated that the officer had repeatedly stated, at the scene, that he had no reason to hold the defendant. The Motion was granted and all evidence of the drugs was suppressed. Without evidence, the prosecution was forced to dismiss the drug and DUI charges.
Queen Anne’s County – At trial, the arresting officer testified that she had stopped the defendant for weaving. She testified that the roads were dry and the defendant, after rolling down his window, kept turning away from the officer, which, she claimed was because the defendant was drunk. Under Lavine’s cross-examination, the officer admitted that the stop occurred in the middle of a severe rain storm. After the defendant and his wife testified, the jury found the defendant not guilty of DUI and DWI.
Washington County – On a cold Winter’s night, a deputy went to the vicinity of a break-in to hunt for the fleeing thief. At a nearby gas station, the defendant was sitting in his car and eating a sandwich. The car’s lights were on, the radio was blaring, and the engine was running. The deputy ordered the defendant from his car. Concluded that the defendant had been drinking, the deputy charged the defendant with DUI. Lavine argued that stopping the defendant, who did not match the description of the thief and was certainly not on foot or in any way acting in a way to assist in a getaway, violated the Fourth Amendment. The Court agreed and ruled the evidence inadmissible, thereby requiring a dismissal of the DUI and DWI charges.
Motor Vehicle Administration (Montgomery County) – Lavine won the return of his client’s license by demonstrating that the defendant’s concussion required the police to give the Breathalyser test, since the defendant had not knowingly refused the Breathalyser test.
Motor Vehicle Administration (Prince George’s County) – Lavine argued that a police officer, without authority to arrest, has no authority to require the defendant to submit to a Breathalyser test. The Administrative Law Judge agreed and reinstated the driver’s license of the licensee.
Motor Vehicle Administration (Washington County) – The licensee testified that he was forced to give six tests of his breath and the police officer appeared to be having trouble with the equipment. The Administrative Law Judge agreed to summons the officer who, at the continuation of the hearing, acknowledged that he had violated the relevant procedures. The driver’s license of Lavine’s client was thus reinstated.
Motor Vehicle Administration (Howard County) – The DR-15A form did not identify any basis for believing that the licensee had been drinking. The driver’s license of Lavine’s client was thus reinstated.
Motor Vehicle Administration (Anne Arundel County) – The DR-15A form did not identify any basis for believing that the licensee had been driving. The driver’s license of Lavine’s client was thus reinstated.
Motor Vehicle Administration (Howard County) – The licensee testified that the police officer told him that he would release the licensee if he refused the breath test. The police report confirmed the licensee’s testimony, and the driver’s license of Lavine’s client was reinstated.