Charles County DUI Attorney
Being charged with Driving under the Influence (DUI) in Charles County is serious, and those who are convicted face a litany of penalties including the loss of their driver’s license, costly fines, and even jail time. Charles County DUI statutes are set by the State of Maryland, and these laws can be complicated. Therefore, it is crucial that anyone who is charged with DUI in southern Maryland contact a Charles County DUI lawyer.
DUI Enforcement in Charles County, MD
Charles County is located in southern Maryland and is part of the Washington, DC metropolitan area. It is also one of Maryland’s fastest growing counties – due in part to its close proximity to Washington, DC – which allows many of the residents of the county to work and attend events in the nation’s capital. This means that a number of Charles County commuters hit the road every day on their way to and from work, traveling along the snaking pipeline of highways and local streets that link the two regions. As such, DUI enforcement is strict, and local law enforcement officers are on the lookout for vehicles that provide them with reasonable, articulable suspicion to conduct a DUI stop.
Although it’s technically possible to defend yourself in a DUI matter, having an experienced Charles County DUI attorney on your side is one of the best and simplest ways to ensure your rights as a defendant are thoroughly protected.
What an Attorney Can Do
As everyone knows, the best way to avoid a DUI charge in Charles County, or anywhere for that matter, is to abstain from consuming alcohol if you have to drive. Nonetheless, many of us have enjoyed a stop for happy hour cocktails with co-workers, or enjoyed some wine with our supper, before commencing with the long commute home. Having simply consumed alcohol does not automatically mean you are guilty of driving under the influence. Maryland law requires certain criteria be met in order for a person to be charged with such an offense. And that same law provides specific rights to those who are suspected of DUI. Those rights include:
- The Right to Remain Silent – The right to remain silent begins before you are even charged. Although it is important to remain polite to the officer, you do not have to tell them if you have been drinking or how much you have had to drink. Should the officer ask those questions, simply inform them that you prefer to speak to an attorney before answering.
- Field Sobriety and Preliminary Breath Tests – Drivers can refuse to submit to field sobriety tests or a preliminary breath test at the scene of the traffic stop, though that refusal will likely result in your arrest. Nonetheless, by refusing the tests you may eliminate a segment of evidence that could be used against you in court. Even if you submit to the test, a knowledgeable Charles County DUI lawyer may be able to challenge the accuracy of the device, as well as certification of the operator and/or the testing equipment.
- Right to an Attorney – If you are arrested for DUI in Charles County you have the right to an attorney. Once you have been booked into custody, you must be permitted to contact a lawyer before answering questions or providing a statement. If the officer fails to allow you to contact an attorney that could result in your case being dismissed.
- Inaccurate Testimony – Everyone makes mistakes and it is common knowledge that eyewitness testimony has been found to be unreliable in many instances. Whether it is the testimony of a police officer or an eye witness, there is always the possibility that the statements they make can be flawed or inaccurate and should be challenged.
- Unlawful Stop – In Maryland, the officer must have probable cause to believe that a traffic law has been violated or that other criminal offenses have occurred before stopping a vehicle. If the officer cannot document reasonable suspicion, the stop could be deemed illegal by the court and your case could be dismissed.
These are but a few angles of defense that a qualified Charles County DUI attorney will consider before fighting your DUI charge.
Maryland DUI Penalties
Because the penalties for DUI in Charles County can be significant, it is critical that you contact a qualified and experienced DUI attorney immediately. Maryland statutes include the following penalties for DUI:
- First Offense – possible one year jail sentence; up to six month license suspension; and fines up to $1,000.
- First Offense with Passenger 16 or younger – possible two year jail term; up to one year license suspension; and fines up to $2,000.
With each additional offense the fines, jail time, and license suspension periods increase. Whether this is your first offense, or perhaps one in a series, it is critical that you secure a DUI attorney who understands the complexity of Maryland law and who grasps the importance of avoiding such blemishes on your record and the tarnishing of your reputation.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge, contact our Charles County DUI lawyers for a free consultation. They will take the time to explain your rights and what options may exist in your DUI case. An experienced Charles County DUI attorney is the best ways to secure the advice and the guidance you will need during this ordeal.