Anne Arundel First Time DUI Charges

If you’ve been charged with a DUI for the first time, a DUI attorney in Anne Arundel County can help. Below, we discuss important things to know about first-time DUI charges in Anne Arundel County. However, to learn more, you can contact our law offices today and schedule your free consultation.

DUI Charges in Anne Arundel County

Driving under the influence can be broken up into two separate subcharges. There is the standard DUI charge, which is 21-902(a)(1). This involves a significant degree of impairment while operating a motor vehicle.

The other DUI charge is a 21-902(a)(2) offense called DUI Per Se, which means operating a motor vehicle with a breath alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. If the state can prove operation of a motor vehicle and they can prove a breath alcohol content in excess of 0.08, those are the two required elements for a DUI per se charge. Your level of subjective impairment is irrelevant to the DUI per se charge because the DUI per se just looks at the breath alcohol content.

First-Time DUI Cases in Anne Arundel County

There are two District Court locations in Anne Arundel County; one is Glen Burnie and the other is in Annapolis. Virtually all DUI cases start out in the District Court. You have the option as a DUI defendant to resolve it either in District Court or in Circuit Court. However, all of them will initially begin at one of the District Court locations either in Annapolis or Glen Burnie.

Typically, prosecutors are unwilling to drop first offense DUI charges like they would drop some other type of charges. They will try to go forward. Usually on a first offense, if the prosecution is going to make a plea offer, it will be to be to not oppose probation before judgment, meaning that they’re not asking for a criminal conviction. But it’s very rare for prosecutors to enter the charges nolle prosequi, which means dismiss them, or stet them, which would be putting them on inactive docket.

Penalties For Maryland First Time DUI Charges

First offense conviction for DUI has a maximum penalty of 1 year of incarceration and $1,000 fine. It’s very uncommon, almost unheard of, for any kind of first offender to receive anything like the maximum. However, that is the maximum for a DUI offense. There’s also a lesser offense in Maryland called DWI. The maximum penalty for first offense DWI is 60 days of incarceration and a $500 fine. But again it’s very rare for any kind of first offender to receive that type of sentence.

Probation and Jail Time

A typical first offense DUI in Maryland usually doesn’t involve incarceration. Any kind of incarceration of first offense DUI defendant’s is definitely the exception, and not the rule. Courts frequently on first offenses will grant defendants the benefit of probation before judgments, so they will strike the guilty finding from the defendant’s record and enter probation before judgment. Assuming that probation is successfully completed, there’s never an entry of that guilty finding.

First Time DUI Defenses

Well the first thing that a DUI lawyer is going to do is going to look at the facts of the case. Are there places to challenge the stop? Are there places to challenge the arrest? Other ways to get any kind scientific evidence usually in the form of a breath test excluded. So that’s going to be the first step in any kind of DUI analysis.

If there is any kind of available defense, then your lawyer should investigate that and should present it effectively to either a judge or jury. If the case is not one where there is a winning defense, then a lawyer can still be extremely valuable in helping select a judge, advise which judge is reasonable, and which is not, as well as in presenting mitigation to the court and guiding a defendant through the process of obtaining treatment and how to make their case appear in the best light to the judge.