Frederick County First-Offense DUI Lawyer
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a very serious criminal charge, whether it is a driver’s first, second, or even third offense. These charges could affect the rest of your life and they may result in severe consequences. If you have been charged with a first-offense DUI in Frederick County, a drunk driving defense lawyer may be your best option to protect your rights and future.
How are First-Time Drunk Driving Charges Handled?
If there are no egregious or aggravating factors, a first-offense DUI will generally be dealt with using a lighter approach than either subsequent offenders or cases with aggravating factors. An example of aggravating factors is if there was a car accident, injuries to another person, or if there was a child in the car. While prosecutors typically do not seek jail time on a first offense, the presence of any of these aggravating factors may change this situation.
For the most part, DUI charges originate in district court. District court is the lower-level court of the two trial courts that host trials in this county. The other one is circuit court, but DUIs and misdemeanors originate here, and they are heard before a judge. Regardless of which court a defendant ends up in, it is wise to have a seasoned DUI attorney at their side to fight for the best possible outcome.
What are the Penalties for a Driver’s First DUI?
The maximum penalty for a first-offense DUI in Frederick County is one year incarceration, a $1,000 fine, or both. On a first offense, prosecutors do not typically seek jail time, but it is all up to a judge. Aside from incarceration, there are many significant consequences that a court could impose.
A convicted driver could be placed on probation for up to three years and pay up to a $1,000 fine, not including monthly supervision fees. Additionally, a judge could order an ignition interlock requiring a clean breath test to start and continually operate the vehicle. There might also be alcohol education requirements which could cost several hundred dollars, and many drivers must attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving impact panel.
The consequences on someone’s driving privileges differs depending on whether they are a Maryland license holder or not, and whether they took a breath test or refused. At a minimum, if somebody blows over a 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) or refuses, then they are subject to a six-month sanction or suspension of either their license if they are a Maryland license holder or at least their ability to drive in the state of Maryland if they are an out-of-state holder.
That suspension period could be longer, depending on factors, or they might elect for the state interlock program in some instances. In others, they could request a restricted license to limit their driving ability in the state of Maryland without being suspended outright and without having to get the interlock itself. The way first-offense DUI charges in Frederick County are handled varies based on the specifics of the situation, but having a lawyer to guide a driver through the potential consequences could help ensure that they are prepared for trial.
Preparing a Defense for a Driver’s First DUI
The first defense is to simply try to refute what the prosecution is alleging by challenging the facts and evidence. However, if the evidence is there and there are no significant flaws to fight, then the secondary approach is to mitigate the potential penalties. In that type of defense presentation, everything directly depends on the underlying factors of the case as well as the prior record of the individual. It is difficult to know what actions to take and how to build a strong criminal defense, but by working with a seasoned attorney, defendants may improve their chances of either refuting the charges or minimizing the damage done on conviction.
Let an Attorney Help Fight a First DUI Charge
There are a lot of different variables that come into play in any drunk driving case, and a person’s first offense is no different. The consequences could haunt a driver for the rest of their life, making it more difficult to hold certain jobs, secure loans or housing, and it may even lead to incarceration. If you are facing a first-offense DUI charge in Frederick County, call a dedicated drunk driving lawyer today and start building your case.