Caroline County DUI Attorney
Don’t wait. Contact a Caroline County, MD DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the defense options you have when facing serious DUI or DWI charges in Maryland. Our legal team is standing by to assist you.
In Caroline County and throughout Maryland, driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a criminal offense. Maryland laws set BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) limits at 0.08% for all motorists aged 21 years or older. However, the state has a strict zero-tolerance law if a driver under 21 years old has enough alcohol in his or her system to have a 0.02% BAC. Either way, if you are charged with driving while intoxicated, please contact a Caroline County, MD DUI lawyer today.
DUI Cases in Caroline County, Maryland
As a Maryland DUI lawyer can tell you, the zero-tolerance policy in Caroline County serves as an effective tool for combating the real danger involved in underage drinking and driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics indicate that 33 percent of all deaths of individuals between 15 and 20 years old are caused by motor vehicle accidents. In addition, one-third of those fatalities are related to alcohol.
A DUI suspect has the same rights under the U.S. Constitution as those arrested for other serious crimes in Caroline County. A DUI carries with it the potential of severe punishment, if the suspect is convicted, so those accused should make sure they have access to top-quality legal representation to protect their rights. Every DUI case is handled in two separate legal arenas – the court process, which imposes criminal penalties such as jail time and fines, and the MVA process, during which license suspensions and other administrative penalties may be issued.
MD DUI Charges and Penalties
There’s no need to enter into the court process without an experienced Caroline County, MD DUI lawyer by your side. However, below are some things you should consider about the charges and penalties you may face.
Driving with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit in Caroline County is considered to be driving under the influence (DUI). Knowingly refusing to take the breath test also has consequences. The refusal provides the prosecutor the opportunity to admit your “consciousness of guilt” as evidence at your DUI trial (Maryland Law 16-205.2).
According to Maryland law, the prosecutor has two available options to prove DUI charges. The first option is for the prosecutor to show evidence that the driver violated Maryland “per se” law with proof that his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) was over 0.08%. Under this theory the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle does not need to be impaired. Second, the prosecutor can provide other evidence that the driver was under the influence, and his or her normal coordination was substantially impaired due to their consumption of alcohol.
The consequences involved in a first offense Maryland DUI charge can be a potential suspension of the driver’s license, along with $1,000 fine and up to a one-year jail sentence. A second offense brings with it a two-year jail sentence and a $2,000 fine. Any Maryland DUI conviction can result in 12 points being placed on their Maryland driver’s record, which will likely increase their insurance premiums.
For more information on Caroline County Courthouses, visit the link.
The MVA Process
To avoid having their Maryland driver’s license automatically suspended, arrested drivers will also need to deal with the MVA process. Within 10 days after the individual’s arrest, he or she will need to request an MVA hearing. If the driver does not request a hearing, his or her license will be suspended automatically.
The MVA hearing is held at the OAH (Office of Administrative Hearings) in front of a judge. If the request for the hearing is made within the specified time frame, the suspension of the driver’s license will automatically be stayed pending the final outcome of the administrative hearing.
The penalties involved can vary greatly, based on the evidence gathered at the time of the driver’s arrest. If the test results taken around the time of the arrest proved that the blood-alcohol concentration of the driver was higher than 0.08%, and there are no legal or technical defenses against the accuracy of the test results, the judge will likely suspend the license. However, if the breath test result is lower than 0.15%, the judge may consider modifying the suspension and granting a work permit.
However, a skilled Caroline County attorney can offer a defense that might include calling into question the accuracy of the chemical test result. In addition, your Caroline County, MD DUI attorney might be able to prove that the statement by the arresting officer lacked material elements as required by Maryland law (16-205.1), that the officer could have lacked jurisdiction during the arrest, or that the officer stopped the vehicle on private property.
Other possible defenses could include the failure of the officer to appear after their subpoena, or the officer’s failure to advise the arrested driver of all of his or her rights. It could also be that the arresting officer did not comply with the standard two-hour limit when obtaining the driver’s chemical test results.
The Importance of a Caroline County DUI Lawyer
A Caroline County DUI arrest can be a stressful experience that brings with it a lot of confusion and fear. The easiest way to deal with the charges is to speak with a Caroline County, MD DUI attorney. Our DUI team may be able to find alternative solutions to avoid a jail term, including attending an alcohol education program and/or the installation of an ignition interlock device.