A suspect in a hit and run involving a police vehicle in Baltimore County last week has been apprehended. Two hours after the accident, Maryland State Police arrested and charged Gaspar Botteon, 45, of Nottingham, with DUI, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and related traffic charges.
According to police, Botteon, who was driving northbound on I-95 in a white box truck, struck a marked patrol vehicle that was stopped at the 64.4-mile marker shortly after 4:15 p.m. The trooper, who was conducting a crash investigation, was inside the vehicle when the truck struck the driver’s side and ripped off the door. Botteon continued on I-95 toward Rosedale.
The vehicle and driver were located at approximately 6:15 p.m. northbound on Route 24 in Belair. Neither Botteon nor the trooper were injured. Botteon was arrested on suspected impairment at the scene.
Severe penalties for driving offenses in Maryland
As in most states, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in Maryland is 0.08%, and for commercial drivers it is 0.04%. But a driver may be charged with a DUI even if they have a lower BAC if their driving behavior appears impaired, or DWI, or if they are under the influence of any drug. The penalties on conviction of DWI are stiff, even for a first offender:
- First offense: $500 fine, up to two months in prison, eight points on the individual’s driving record and a six-month license suspension
- Second offense: $500 fine, up to one year in prison, eight points on the individual’s driving record, license suspension of nine to 12 months
People often do not realize the effect of additional charges that an individual may face after an arrest for drunk or impaired driving. If the suspect questions the officer, he can be charged with disorderly conduct, and open container laws can also add on penalties. A police officer engaging in search and seizure of personal items may also find incriminating evidence. Evading an officer in pursuit can also trigger felony charges.
Defenses against multiple charges
Being able to mount an effective defense against multiple charges, especially if the accident involved a collision with a law enforcement vehicle, requires skilled and aggressive legal representation. First of all, a prosecutor must prove intent to evade police. Finding irregularities with the manner in which the evidence was obtained, and questioning the validity of the chemical test or arrest procedures can often result in dropped charges or reduced penalties.