Maryland DUI Laws
DUI law is multi-dimensional, complex, and fact-intensive. Below is a brief discussion of some of the specific intricacies of DUI cases and examples of how an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer can prove invaluable if you are facing such charges. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office today.
Furthermore, local county practices can change how DUI enforcement, prosecution, and defense is handled from county to county. You should make sure your DUI lawyer is comfortable wherever your case is being heard.
Driving in Maryland
Driving in the state of Maryland is a privilege, not a right. As such, engaging in dangerous or criminal conduct while on the road can place that privilege in jeopardy. Driving Under the influence (DUI) or Driving While Impaired (DWI) are criminal offenses that can negatively impact your ability to drive by nature of the administrative penalties associated with the two offenses. Furthermore, if you are driving without insurance, registration, or if you are operating a vehicle with a suspended license, such factors may enhance the administrative and criminal penalties that you will face. To learn more about driving in Maryland with respect to DUI, please visit the following page: What is “Driving”?.
One of the ways that law enforcement has attempted to crack down on drinking and driving is through DUI checkpoints. These are fixed checkpoints in which law enforcement personnel specifically stop vehicles for the explicit purposes of determining whether or not a motorist has been drinking. More information on these checkpoints, including their constitutionality, can be found here: Maryland DUI Roadblocks.
When you are pulled over by a police officer on suspicion of drinking and driving, the law enforcement officer will, depending upon the circumstances, attempt to establish probable cause to make an arrest. One of the ways in which police officers do this is through the administration of field sobriety tests. Three tests have become standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA), including the Walk-and-Turn, One-Leg-Stand, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus tests. As such, police officers must administer these tests in accordance with codified procedures.
Depending upon the specific facts of the case, a DUI conviction can result in administrative, civil, and criminal penalties. These penalties include, but are not limited to, suspension of driving privileges, license points, heightened insurance premiums, fines, and incarceration. The consequences of a criminal conviction also extend beyond the immediate legal penalties. For example, a person’s employment prospects can be jeopardized, they may face academic suspension at school and they could see their ability to qualify for certain loans and rental agreements negatively impacted. In sum, a DUI conviction can be a tremendous imposition on a person’s livelihood.
As already mentioned, there are administrative penalties associated with a DUI – most notably, your right to drive. Under most circumstances, if you are arrested for DUI and have a Maryland driver’s license, your license will be confiscated by law enforcement. It is in your best interest to retain legal counsel and schedule a Motor Vehicle Administration Hearing (MVA) hearing within ten days of the order of the suspension. At this hearing, which is held at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), the status of your driving privileges will be determined. It is recommended that you retain legal counsel, because such an attorney will be well-versed in administrative law, the burden of proof, and the introduction of evidence. Here is additional information regarding MVA hearings.
Right to Counsel
Being charged with DUI in the state of Maryland can trigger a tremendous amount of anxiety and uncertainty. This is understandable, but it is important to know that you need not suffer through the situation alone. You have the constitutional right to legal counsel if you have been charged with a DUI, and a Maryland DUI lawyer can prove invaluable in this situation. You should look for an attorney with an in-depth understanding of the Maryland criminal justice system, and one who offers a free initial consultation to discuss the facts of your case.
Lastly, we have provided a legal overview of the DUI definitions, presumptions, penalties, and violations all together on one page for your convenience.