Anne Arundel County DUI Lawyer
DUI laws are enforced very aggressively in Anne Arundel. It is one of the pervading problems in the area and people are getting seriously injured or killed in accidents arising from drinking and driving. Given that individuals charged with a DUI could face severe penalties, defendants should speak with an Anne Arundel County DUI lawyer. A hard-working defense attorney could review your case and champion your defense.
Understanding DUI Charges
A DUI is a general term used to describe drinking and driving offenses. DUIs encompass not just driving under the influence, but other offenses such as driving while impaired. This may occur while being impaired by alcohol, drugs, and other substances. A DUI is more accurately described as being in control of a vehicle while under the influence or impaired. It is important to understand that one can be charged with a DUI even if the vehicle was not moving. A person could be parked by the side of the road with the car off and the keys in the ignition and if they were impaired, the individual could be charged with a DUI. For more information, reach out to a dedicated DUI lawyer in Anne Arundel County.
How DUI Cases Aare Handled in Anne Arundel County
In Anne Arundel County, DUI cases are handled by prosecutors in the district court and in front of a district court judge. All DUI charges originate in one of the two district courts, which is either in Annapolis or Glen Burnie. The location of where the DUI incident happened dictates which court an individual must go to.
The fact that a DUI carries up to a year in jail on a first offense is potentially intimidating. Other consequences that individuals may face with a DUI charge include:
- Losing their license
- Required to get an ignition interlock device in their vehicle
- Restrictions on travel
- Reporting to a probation agent
- Probation agent or other court officer supervision
- Alcohol classes
Unique Factors of DUI Cases in Anne Arundel County
Anne Arundel County is a pass-through county. It is centrally located in Maryland, and people have to pass through Anne Arundel from the Eastern Shore to anywhere else in the State. There is also the Baltimore/Washington Airport, which means a large number of out-of-town people traveling through the area. Also, the state capital is Annapolis, which is in Anne Arundel County.
How a DUI Attorney Could Help
A DUI charge must be handled very delicately and aggressively, and an experienced Anne Arundel DUI attorney knows what should be done from the beginning of the case. Certain remedial actions could be taken that may be considered very impressive to present to a judge and prosecutor. A skilled defense lawyer could also investigate the case and determine if there are any challenges to the charges themselves.
Regardless of whether the accused was impaired, it is the State’s burden to prove its case. An attorney will know what deficiencies may exist that would lead to a challenge. Also, a person’s legal counsel could be there for them on the day of court to represent them and advocate for them fully to obtain the best possible outcome.
Common Locations of DUI Stops
While there are no DUI checkpoints in Anne Arundel County, officers regularly patrol areas around bars that people frequent at night. They also patrol the main highways such as I-97, MD Route 50 and MD Route 100 since these areas are frequently traveled around 2:00 a.m., which is bar closing time on weekends.
There are no real checkpoints per se where people are randomly stopped and the officers investigate the drivers. Instead, the officers typically patrol the main roads for anyone driving erratically or poorly which would prompt a traffic stop for further investigation.
Benefits of Working with a Local DUI Attorney
In the event that an individual is charged with a DUI in Anne Arundel, a local attorney will know who the judges and prosecutors are. It is important to know the disposition, temperament, and preferences of a judge and prosecutor to prepare a proper defense for the defendant. Some judges are more interested in what kind of treatment someone has received while others are more prone to hold the police to a higher standard and are likely to acquit a defendant if they find the police did not follow proper protocol. Other judges may overlook police imperfections. Only a local attorney might have the insight to know what steps to take to get the best outcome in any particular case. Therefore, it is essential for defendants to call legal counsel as soon as possible.
How Prosecutors Handle First-time DUI Charges
A first-time DUI charge is typically handled with a little softer touch than subsequent offenses. With that being said, a first-time DUI offense is still serious and aggressively prosecuted if there are other aggravating factors, such as:
- If there was an accident
- If someone got hurt
- If there was a child in the car
- If the person was combative with police
- If the offender fled from police
How Judges and Juries React to DUIs
A jury is not lenient to the defendant and either find a person guilty or not guilty. It is the judge that may be lenient since only a judge imposes a sentence and the sentencing depends on the specific factors underlying the incident itself. This could include whether there was anything serious about the DUI and if the individual has a prior history. While those often matter as far as the judges go, and there are some judges that are more lenient than others, the specifics of each case are taken into consideration.
Potential Penalties of a First-Time DUI
A DUI carries up to 12 months incarceration, a $1,000 fine, and could lead to 12 points on someone’s license if found guilty. A DWI, which is a lower-level offense, carries 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, and eight points upon a finding of guilt. Individuals facing these penalties should reach out to a dedicated DUI lawyer in Anne Arundel County who could fight against the charges.
How Anne Arundel DUI Attorneys Build a DUI Defense
There are several ways of defending a DUI case. An attorney could help defendants complete certain tasks to mitigate the penalties they may face. Amongst others, these tasks include going to an alcohol awareness class and obtaining an assessment from the class. It should be noted that once an attorney interviews an accused person and reviews the evidence and documents they have, that is when they can start looking into defense strategies. The lawyer will also request discovery from the prosecutor to see what kind of evidence the state is using in the case.
Discovery is of all the evidence in a case used to determine what the police allege happened. Defense attorneys must view any video evidence and should be provided copies of all documents, reports, and records. All of these things come into play after only a full review of all the materials and interviewing the accused. After the attorney has all of the evidence and discusses the incident in depth with the charged person, they will determine what issues to raise and whether to go to trial.
Impact of a DUI Conviction on a Driver’s License
The effect of first-time DUI charges on a person’s driver’s license depends on whether they take a breathalyzer test and what level they blow if they take the test. At the very minimum, their license may be restricted for a maximum of six months. They could lose their license for up to nine months or be required to may have an ignition interlock device installed on their car for a period of one year.
If an individual is convicted and found guilty, they will accrue points on their driver’s license. While the courts do not give points, they do give a verdict. It should be noted that if the verdict is guilty, the Motor Vehicle Administration will give the points. In that regard, a guilty DUI will be 12 points, and a guilty finding for a DWI is eight points.
In either scenario, either suspension or revocation will be triggered due to point accumulation. A driver’s license suspension would in conjunction with any suspension because of a positive breath test. If the point suspension is due to a DUI or a DWI, the person could elect to get an interlock blow device in their car for six months to avoid the revocation or suspension.
How to Challenge a DUI License Suspension
The suspension of a person’s license on a first-offense DUI for the refusal to take a breath test may be challenged in a number of ways. A person could always elect to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program, which is a device installed in a person’s car. When the individual gets in the car, they must blow into the device. If they are free from alcohol in their system, the car will start. If not, the car will not start.
They could also challenge either the accuracy of the test or the refusal to take the test. A person may be able to file a request for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge, which would be in Hunt Valley, in Baltimore County, at the Office of Administrative Hearings. Here, they could challenge the suspension and show why a person should either not be suspended or should be entitled to a restricted license in lieu of a suspension.
Applying for Restricted Licenses After Being Charged With a DUI
After being charged with a DUI in Anne Arundel, a person would have to submit a request for hearing within ten days of the incident along with a $150 request fee. Upon completion of this step, they will not be suspended prior to the hearing date. The only way that a defendant may be able to request this hearing and possibly be granted this hearing is if they took a breath test and they blew under 0.15. For more information about obtaining a restricted license, contact an Anne Arundel County DUI county.
Getting Back License After a DUI Acquittal
If a person is acquitted of a drunk driving charge, they will not be convicted or receive any points. They should then be able to recover their driver’s license. It should be noted that when a person is losing their license pursuant to a positive breath test or a refusal to take a breath test, it is an independent, separate, civil proceeding that has nothing to do with the criminal case. Individuals could be found not guilty in the criminal case and still be subject to lose their license pursuant to a breath test or a refusal to take a breath test. This is an administrative sanction of the Motor Vehicle Administration and not a criminal sanction of the courts.
Biggest Mistakes to Avoid as a DUI Defendant
It is critical for defendants to take DUI charges serious and consult with an accomplished Anne Arundel County DUI lawyer.
The big thing to avoid doing if charged with a first time DUI is to think that it is no big deal and not take any action or consult an attorney. While a person may be under the impression that they can handle it themselves in court, there are things that might make a difference in saving a person’s license and in challenging the case itself. If someone is charged with their first DUI and they were not involved in an accident, they may not have to face jail time, especially if an attorney is advocating on their behalf.
Potential Diversion Programs or Probation Options for First-Time Offenders
While there really is no diversion program per se, individuals are typically placed on a period of probation after the case is over if they get a DUI. The judge will have them supervised and order them to report to an agent on a monthly basis. They will also be ordered to do various other things. These include:
- Completing an alcohol awareness class if they have not done one already
- Submitting to random testing
- Possibly completing community service while on probation
These steps are required to ensure that defendants do not commit another DUI and receive the help that they need.
Contact an Anne Arundel County DUI Attorney
If you are facing DUI charges, reach out to our office today. A seasoned Anne Arundel County DUI lawyer could fight for you and protect your rights. DUIs bring serious penalties and long-term consequences, which is why you should call a legal professional as soon as possible and set up a consultation.