The Montgomery County prosecutor's office is reviewing whether they may file traffic charges against U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes (D-Ohio), who last month was stopped by police and failed three roadside sobriety tests.
Police previously said that Stokes would not be charged because the officer at the scene failed to give the congressman a breath test, which they said is required by Maryland law before a drunk driving arrest can be made.
State's Attorney Andrew Sonner, however, said yesterday that he has asked Ann Harrington, head of his office's District Court divison, to review the drunk driving laws and previous legal cases in Maryland to determine whether a person who has not been afforded a breathalyzer test may still be charged. Harrington is scheduled to meet on Monday with the police officers involved in the traffic stop to discuss the case, a police spokesman said.
Stokes has denied that he was under the influence of alcohol when he was stopped.
Stokes, 58, chairman of the House Ethics Committee, was spotted by a patrol car at about 2:15 a.m. March 25 driving down the wrong side of six-lane Randolph Road in Wheaton, police said. Police allege that the congressman then made an illegal U-turn, ran a red light and began to make another illegal turn. Stokes was stopped at that point and failed three roadside tests, police said.
Stokes showed the officer his congressional identification and was taken to the Wheaton police station, where the officer consulted with a supervisor and the Capitol Police, according to a Montgomery County police spokesman. He said Capitol Police advised that Stokes was immune from arrest under an article of the U.S. Constitution. A Montgomery County police legal adviser later said that the article did not apply in this case and that Stokes was not immune from arrest.