Columbia, MD DUI Attorney
When you’re facing a DUI charge, it’s important to remember that you have options. Call a Columbia, MD DUI lawyer to discuss your defense opportunities and figure out how to make the most of your time when preparing for trial or your MVA hearing.
The personal and professional consequences of a criminal record following a DUI conviction generates a stigma with staying power. Both the immediate legal penalties and the collateral consequences can be a tremendous imposition on your life, and collectively can be debilitating. However, with the help of a qualified Columbia, MD DUI attorney, you can fight your DUI charge and protect yourself from costly ramifications. Here is more information on DUI charges in Howard County generally.
DUI Arrest Process in Columbia, MD
Many people envision a DUI arrest as the result of a heavily intoxicated driver veering recklessly across the road. The truth is that a number of DUI arrests result from a minor traffic violation, such as a rolling stop or an improper lane change. These kinds of driving behavior can be considered suspicious by a police officer, and can suffice as reasonable articulable suspicion – the legal burden in order for you to be lawfully stopped.
If you are pulled over, it is important to remember that police can only arrest you if they have established probable cause – the heightened legal standard that is necessary for a lawful arrest to have taken place. Do not give them a reason to suspect you. You do not have to account for your activities, and you do not have to tell officers whether you have been drinking or how much you have had to drink. Provide police with your identification, but decline to speak further without the advice of your Columbia, MD DUI lawyer. In such a situation, law enforcement personnel are not in fact looking out for your best interest, but rather, are often looking to make an arrest.
If you have been arrested and charged for driving while impaired (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) in or around Columbia, Maryland, a Columbia, MD DUI attorney can help. Whether this is your first DUI or DWI or a second, third, or subsequent offense, an attorney can evaluate your case, make recommendations for a course of action, and diligently represent you in court proceedings. With so much at stake, you owe it to yourself to retain competent legal representation.
Maryland DUI and DWI: What’s the Difference?
DUI and DWI are two common terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are actually different charges. Whether you are charged with a DUI or DWI depends on the results of a breathalyzer test, a test administered by a police officer which determines your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In Maryland, if your BAC is between 0.07 and 0.08, you are presumed to be driving while impaired (DWI). If your BAC is 0.08 or higher, you are presumed to be driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. Of course, anyone under 21 years of age is forbidden from having any amount of alcohol in his system. Maryland has a zero-tolerance policy for anyone under the age of 21 who has been consuming alcohol, which means their BAC cannot be above 0.02. Having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle and drinking and driving with minors in the vehicle are additional alcohol-related infractions that can lead to enhanced penalties.
Overall, a DWI is less severe than a DUI, but neither is to be taken lightly in the least. In addition to various collateral consequences associate with drunk-driving convictions, the immediate legal penalties for both DWIs and DUIs include:
- Jail time
- Suspension of one’s driver’s license
- Community service
- Alcohol education classes
If you have more than one DWI or DUI, the penalties become more severe; jail time, community service requirements, and fines may all increase. In some cases, a person’s driver’s license may be revoked completely. Naturally, a DWI or DUI conviction can have consequences in your life both personally and professionally and can be a formidable obstacle in securing a loan, employment, or the reinstatement of privileges such as obtaining a driver’s license. Having an attorney as your advocate throughout civil, administrative, and criminal proceedings can be invaluable to the preservation of your freedom, financial stability, and driving privilege.
Contact a Columbia, MD DUI Attorney Today
If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI, you need to know your options. Contacting a Columbia, MD DUI Lawyer is the first step in handling your case. Your DUI lawyer will assist you by explaining Maryland DUI/DWI laws in depth, making recommendations for pleadings, and representing you when your day in court arrives. Our DUI attorneys can negotiate for the mitigation or complete dismissal of your DWI/DUI charge and help you get back on the road.