Worcester County Leads State With 91% DUI Conviction Rate

SNOW HILL — For the second year in a row, the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office has achieved the highest conviction rate for driving under the influence cases in Maryland.

The data is collected and compiled by the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Association each year. The association tracks the overall success rate on drunk-driving cases for each jurisdiction and the data collected for 2015 was released last week. Once the data was analyzed, the association determined Worcester County had the highest conviction rate in drunk-driving cases among all jurisdictions in Maryland.

According to the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Association, of the 912 impaired driving cases that were resolved in court in Worcester County in 2015, 832 had positive outcomes, although the criteria for a positive outcome was not defined. That represents a conviction rate of 91.2 percent for Worcester, which was the highest conviction rate in the state for 2015, or the latest year for which data had been analyzed.

For Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby, who was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, and his prosecutors, it was the second year in a row and the third time in four years his office has earned that distinction. Worcester County also had the highest conviction rate in the state of Maryland in 2012 and 2014. Neighboring Wicomico County had the second highest impaired driving conviction rate in the state in 2015 at just over 90 percent.

For his part, Oglesby this week pointed out the success is not his office alone and praised the work of the allied law enforcement agencies in the county for their diligence in bringing prosecutable cases to court.

“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,” he said.

Oglesby also praised his team of prosecutors and staff for their diligence in adjudicating impaired driving cases.

“Internally, these numbers are the collective effort of our amazingly dedicated District Court team comprised of prosecutors and administrative staff that never forget the importance of what we do and that our work can help save lives,” he said.

While the numbers reflect all of Worcester, a large percentage of the cases are generated in and around Ocean City. Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) spokesperson Lindsay Richard this week praised the department’s diligence in DUI enforcement and the State’s Attorney’s Office for getting positive outcomes in court.

“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.”

Attorney Brian Clark defends many DUI cases in Ocean City, across Worcester and around the state. He is also a former prosecutor, so he has pretty much seen it all from both sides of the aisle. Clark said on Thursday he is not surprised Worcester County was honored again with the highest conviction rates in the state.

“It’s been apparent to every defense attorney who regularly handles DUI cases in Worcester County that these cases are treated with extreme care and attention by the prosecutors, police, judges and court staff,” he said. “Other counties, due to many factors, let some things get overlooked that are really honed in on here in the Ocean City and Snow Hill courts. The police and judges, along with the prosecutors, know it’s an important part of their job to handle these cases correctly.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.