Maryland DUI and Accidents
In the state of Maryland, driving while impaired (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) are extremely serious criminal charges that come with harsh and long-term penalties. Over 10,000 people were killed in auto collisions involving drunk driving in 2012. If you are involved in an auto collision while you were drinking and driving, the penalties become exponentially more severe. However, you do not have to lose everything simply because you have been charged with an offense. By seeking legal advice from an attorney who has experience with Maryland DUI and accidents cases, you will have a much better chance of resolving the case in a successful manner and protecting yourself from the potential negative consequences of a conviction.
DUI and Accident Arrests
There is no question that being arrested for DUI or DWI, particularly following a traumatic car accident, can be a confusing and frightening experience. Not only do you face the criminal repercussions of being charged with a crime, but you also may be held responsible for the property damage or potential injuries caused by the crash. However, law enforcement officials are required to follow certain procedures in the course of determining your intoxication level and the actual arrest.
DUI Laws Can Be Complex After an Accident
The majority of people that are arrested for DUI are not aware of all the complex laws regarding this issue in the state of Maryland. They do not understand the rights they have when being handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car. For example, when a person is suspected of DUI or DWI in Maryland, they are not legally required to perform field sobriety tests. It is difficult for people to know whether or not their rights have been violated during the arrest without the help of a skilled DUI attorney. They can examine the situation from beginning to end in order to identify weaknesses in the officer’s conduct that could help you avoid a conviction.
Portable Breath Test
Some people are asked to take a portable breath test (PBT) on the scene when an officer suspects that they have been drinking and driving. This test is extremely different from the chemical breath test that will be performed when they arrive at the police station after being placed under arrest. The officer in charge should let you know that there are no legal ramifications for refusing to take the PBT and that the PBT results will not be admissible to be used against you in court.
However, if the results ended up being favorable for you, you may then use them in court in order to help prove your innocence. This makes it confusing for people to decide whether or not they should take the portable breath test. Since many individuals can become scared following an motor vehicle accident, their instinct is to comply with an officer’s demands in an attempt to avoid being arrested. Unfortunately, police officers try to gather as much evidence against you as they possibly can and will take any opportunity to charge you with an offense.
Possible Consequences of DUI and Accidents
Even though you may not feel impaired, you should always think twice about getting behind the wheel of a car after having a couple alcohol beverages. If you find yourself involved in an auto collision and you have been drinking alcohol, you could be facing extremely serious consequences.
First Time Penalties
A first-time DWI offense puts you at risk for spending up to 60 days in jail and paying a $500 fine, while the penalties for a first-time DUI offense increase to up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. There may also be consequences from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), which means you could potentially lose your driving privileges for a certain period of time.
MVA Hearings and Criminal Proceedings
There are two components to any drunk driving offense in the state of Maryland: the MVA hearing and the actual traffic court appearance. In some cases, the hearing in front of the Motor Vehicle Administration may be even more devastating for an individual than the criminal trial.
Some of the consequences that you may face include the loss of the ability to drive, the installation and the maintenance of an ignition interlock device, as well as certain driving restrictions. It is essential that you find diligent and competent representation for any type of drunk driving charges to attempt to avoid these negative consequences if at all possible.
A DUI Attorney Can Help
If you were involved in a car accident after drinking alcohol, you do not want to face the potential consequences of a DUI or DWI conviction alone. A defense attorney has extensive experience fighting to protect those who have been accused of drunk driving. He can help you explore your options for defense and help you to avoid the significant negative impact that a conviction would have on your life. Call his law office today for a free consultation.