Maryland DUI Lawyer

Drunk driving charges such as driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI) can result in administrative, civil, and criminal penalties, even if you are underage. If you are facing one of these charges in the state of Maryland, it is in your best interest to seek the advice of experienced legal counsel. With solid defense from one of the Maryland DUI lawyers at our firm, you may be able to avoid or lessen some of the legal and financial consequences.

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A Maryland DUI Lawyer Can Help

An experienced Maryland DUI attorney will review the facts of your case in their entirety and, from those facts, craft an individualized defense strategy to ensure the best possible outcome in your case. We are well-versed in defending individuals charged with DUI and DWI, and our attorney draws on his many years of experience as an administrative law judge. His legal acumen and intimate knowledge of the Maryland criminal justice system make him a valuable asset to anyone facing these charges.

Probation Before Judgment (PBJ)

If you are a first-time offender, it may be possible to avoid some of the debilitating, aforementioned consequences of a DUI. This can happen via probation before judgment or PBJ. This opportunity is afforded specifically to persons charged with a first-time offense and is subject to certain parameters. Defendants who adhere to the terms of their supervised probation will avoid some of the negative consequences of a conviction.

In fact, PBJ does not lead to conviction at all, which means the defendant not only avoids jail time but also escapes a DUI conviction reported on his or her driving record, points against their driver’s license, and the increased insurance rates one can accrue from a conviction. One of the primary reasons first-time offenders may want a local DUI lawyer in Maryland is because skillful local attorneys usually know prosecutors and can negotiate for clients to get PBJ.

Understanding the DUI Stop

In order for you to have been lawfully arrested and charged with DUI in Maryland, a police officer must have made a lawful stop. In order for the stop to have been conducted legally, the officer must have had reasonable articulable suspicion, which is a burden less than probable cause and fairly easy for an officer to demonstrate. As Maryland DUI lawyers have seen in countless cases, one of the most common ways that officers form reasonable articulable suspicion is through observing minor traffic violations. Such violations might include swerving into another lane, speeding, or other erratic behavior. These violations, in addition to other observations, can lead an officer to suspect that you are driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

If you have been pulled over, it is usually very clear whether or not the officer suspects you have been driving under the influence. The questions the officer asks, the field sobriety tests you are asked to take, and the preliminary breath test using a PBT that may be requested of you are all designed to demonstrate your impairment. They are not intended to prove your sobriety.

If you are pulled over and suspected of driving while impaired or driving under the influence, your words and actions will likely be used against you in court. As such, it is important to know your rights and what you should and should not do in the event of a DUI stop.  If you remain cognizant of these considerations, however, it could go a long way to helping your defense in the event of criminal prosecution:

  • You have the right to silence. You do not have to answer officers’ questions about your activities, whether or not you have been drinking, or how much you have had to drink. Though you should always remain polite, you should also be firm about not answering any questions without having a Maryland DUI attorney present. Your right to avoid self-incrimination begins immediately, even before an arrest and before you are read your Miranda rights.
  • You do not have to submit to field sobriety tests or a roadside Preliminary Breath Test. These tests are not designed to help you prove your innocence, but rather to give arresting officers some indication of your level of intoxication. If you refuse these tests, you will likely be arrested. However, there is an equally great likelihood of arrest if you do submit to the tests and you fail to perform to the officer’s satisfaction. When you refuse to submit to field sobriety tests, you at least avoid providing evidence that can bolster the prosecution’s case and be used against you. This, in turn, makes it easier for your attorney to craft a strong defense and to maximize your chances for a successful outcome.
  • You have the right to counsel from a defense attorney. If you are arrested for drunk driving, your first call should be to an experienced lawyer who can advise you of your rights, protect you from a violation of those rights, and help build a case for your defense. An arrest sets off a chain of events that can be confusing and overwhelming for anyone not familiar with the relevant areas of law. A drunk driving lawyer with our firm can help you navigate the criminal court system as well as administrative hearings with the Motor Vehicle Authority (MVA). Call as soon as possible for a free, initial case consultation.

DUI Defense Strategies

Probation before judgment is not the only tool your DUI attorney has to help you avoid a criminal conviction. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and the case against you, lawyers may be able to make the following arguments for your defense:

  • Illegal traffic stop;
  • Improper police procedure;
  • Failure to advise you of your rights regarding Maryland’s Implied Consent law;
  • Lax maintenance or shoddy calibration of equipment designed to detect and measure blood alcohol content.

DUI Law and the Criminal Justice System

In His Own Words:

As illustrated by the aforementioned, DUI law is a complex area of practice and DUI cases tend to be extremely multi-dimensional and require keen legal insight. There are civil, administrative, and criminal penalties, which can all be impacted depending upon the specific circumstances of your case. Moreover, your defense options will necessarily change depending upon whether you submitted to chemical testing, were pulled over as a result of a DUI roadblock, or whether or not you were driving on a suspended license at the time of you arrest, among a variety of other factors.

Penalties for DUI in Maryland

The maximum penalties for a first-time conviction include:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • $1,000 fine
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Increased insurance premiums

The penalties for a DUI are subject to the particular facts of a person’s case. For instance, if you are arrested for driving under the influence and are a recidivist (repeat offender), the civil, administrative, and criminal penalties are more severe. Some other factors that can worsen the penalties for a DUI charge include the transportation of a minor, causing an accident, and causing bodily injury to a pedestrian, passenger, or other motorists. Moreover, there are numerous collateral consequences associated with a DUI conviction, one of the most debilitating of which is a person’s employment status. A DUI charge can lead to a criminal conviction, which can have a negative effect on a person’s current employment and his or her future employability. As such, it is paramount that you contact a skilled Maryland DUI lawyer if you are facing drunken driving charges.

Again, because every case is unique, some cases will have MVA hearings and some cases will not. But all cases are going to have at least one district court appearance. And some cases, like in Prince George’s County, for example, will have usually multiple appearances.”

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Contact a Maryland DUI Lawyer

When looking for a Maryland DUI lawyer, it is important to consider a variety of factors. However, two of the more salient are the attorney’s experience in the practice area and familiarity with the nuances of the Maryland criminal justice system. Experience and familiarity with the local court system is difficult to fully grasp without first-hand experience. When you call a local attorney who has successfully tried cases in the court system, you know you have hired someone who understands the process and can use that knowledge to build you a strong defense.

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