Calvert County DUI Attorney
A DUI arrest in Maryland can be the start of a long, arduous and potentially life-changing legal process. If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence in Calvert County, you may be confused and intimidated by the proceedings that will follow. In these circumstances, you need the guidance that comes from working with an experienced Calvert County DUI lawyer.
Under Maryland law, Calvert County drivers can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) when their blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, measures at 0.08 or higher. A DUI conviction will result in 12 MVA points applied against the driver’s license, leading to instant revocation. In addition, the court-ordered fine could be as high as $1,000, and accompanied by up to one year in jail. Therefore if accused consult with a Calvert County criminal lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.
When You Are Stopped Under DUI Suspicion
After being stopped by law enforcement, if the officer believes you may have been drinking, you may be asked to participate in a field sobriety test – a series of physical exercises designed to indicate possible intoxication. You may be also asked to submit to a roadside breathalyzer test. Participation in both the field sobriety test and the roadside breath test is entirely voluntary under Maryland law.
If you fail (or refuse to participate) in either test, you may be arrested and taken to the police station, where you will be offered a chemical test under the implied consent law. Unlike the roadside tests, if you refuse this test at the police station, your driver’s license can be confiscated and suspended for up to one year, even if you are not later found guilty of DUI.
After your arrest, you will receive important paperwork that lists all the charges against you, a paper that will serve as your temporary driver’s license and a form to request an administrative hearing regarding your driving privileges. The DUI process in Maryland has two components: the administrative component that governs driving privileges, and the criminal component that governs legal penalties such as fines and jail sentences. You will need to defend yourself against both components.
It is important that you return the request for an administrative hearing, along with the $150 hearing fee, within 10 days of your arrest or your driving privileges will be automatically suspended until your case is adjudicated. At your hearing, if your BAC was between 0.08 and 0.14%, the administrative law judge has the option of granting a restricted permit allowing you to drive to and from work, school, any alcohol treatment classes you may be ordered to attend, and your court hearings. Contact a DUI lawyer in Calvert County to assist you with these administrative MVA proceedings, as well.
Penalties for DUI Convictions
Calvert County judges have discretion over the sentencing phase of a DUI conviction. Depending on circumstances, the judge can order any combination of the following:
• Fines of up to $1,000 for first offense and $2,000 for a second offense.
• Jail sentence of up to one year for a first offense and two years for a second.
• Mandatory alcohol education classes that can range from six months to one year in length.
• Supervised or unsupervised probation.
• Community service.
Most judges will order you to pay court costs as well.
If this is your first offense, your Calvert County DUI attorney may ask the judge for Probation Before Judgment (PBJ). If you are given PBJ, you have the opportunity to complete a period of probation and comply with other conditions of your sentence. If you successfully complete this period with no other offenses, your finding of guilty will be struck and you will have a clean record.
Work with a DUI Attorney in Calvert County Today
A DUI conviction can permanently affect your life. You will have a criminal record that may prevent you from obtaining certain jobs or a security clearance. You will likely lose your driver’s license for a significant period of time, and when you get it back, you may be unable to get insurance—at the very least, your premiums will skyrocket. The conditions of your sentence may cost you your job. If you are charged with a DUI in Calvert County, your first course of action should be to contact a Calvert County DUI lawyer experienced in defending these charges to help you achieve the best outcome.
To help avoid the penalties from the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and to learn about MVA hearings, read this.
Visit our page on the Calvert County courthouse for more information before your hearing date.