Baltimore First-Offense DUI Lawyer
Getting charged with a DUI for the first time can be a particularly stressful experience. While Baltimore does aggressively pursue DUI cases, it may be possible for the charges to be reduced or avoided with proper representation from an experienced Baltimore DUI lawyer. By working together with a DUI attorney, you will be kept informed of all court proceedings, your rights, and what options are available to you as you navigate through the charge.
Prosecution of First-Time DUI in Baltimore
Baltimore City prosecutors prosecute DUIs very aggressively. It is rare for them to dismiss a case or place a case on an inactive docket. They will usually seek a finding of guilt, but occasionally they will not oppose probation before judgment. That said, there is more opposition to probation before judgment from the prosecutors’ office on first-offense DUIs in Baltimore City than in most of the surrounding jurisdictions.
First-time DUI charges are heard in the district court in Baltimore. There are three district court locations in Baltimore City: 700 E. Patapsco, 5800 Wabash and 1400 E. North Avenue. Wabash and Patapsco both have parking on site, and North Avenue has street parking all around the courthouse. Cases can also be transferred to the circuit court in Baltimore City, which is in downtown Baltimore.
Leniency in Prosecution
The treatment of first-time DUI offenders varies significantly from judge to judge in Baltimore City. Some judges tend to grant most first offenders probation before judgment, while others never grant probation before judgment for DUIs. There is such wide variation among judges in Baltimore City that there is no single answer to that question.
Again, there is so much variation among judges and juries in Baltimore City that you really need to assess on a case-by-case basis whether it makes sense to have a judge trial or a jury trial for a DUI in Baltimore City.
First-Time DUI Penalties in Baltimore
The maximum penalty for a first-offense DUI is one year of incarceration, a $1,000 fine, and 12 points on your driver’s license. However, it is extremely uncommon for a first offender to receive anything like the maximum, especially if they have the help of an experienced Baltimore DUI lawyer.
Probation and First-Time DUI
Prosecutors never offer diversion programs for DUIs. Occasionally, the state will offer probation before judgment in exchange for a guilty plea, but Baltimore state attorneys frequently remain silent regarding probation before judgment rather than being explicitly not opposed to it.
Building a Defense for First-Time DUI
The first thing that any DUI lawyer is going to look at is the stop of the vehicle. Some of the questions that might be asked are:
- Why did the officer come into contact with that vehicle?
- Why did the officer then expand the investigation into a DUI investigation?
- What kinds of indicators of impairment caused the officer to suspect that the driver might be under the influence of alcohol?
Then, the field sobriety test will be investigated, as will the breath test if one was conducted, and any other evidence generated by the officer. The idea is to look for any opportunity to challenge the evidence or the admissibility of that evidence. Hiring a lawyer who has handled DUI cases before will be extremely beneficial for someone’s defense. A lawyer with experience will know what evidence to look into and what defensive strategies to employ.