Alternative Punishments and Aggravated DUI in Maryland
Alternative punishments include probation, fines, and alcohol education classes, which most lawyers would encourage their client to do in advance of court because that looks a lot better to judges. It is much easier to explain to a judge that your client is taking the charge seriously when they have, in fact, sought treatment.
Steps To Take Before Appearing in Court
Primarily, I would encourage them to seek alcohol treatment. Seeking alcohol treatment is the single most important thing that an individual charged with a DUI can do prior to court. If Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings are a part of their treatment plan, then they can do that. I don’t separately refer people to AA and the courts generally don’t look at AA in the same way that they look at a paid alcohol class.
If an individual walks into court after only have attended AA meetings, they are not adequately prepared for court. AA in addition to treatment certainly doesn’t hurt and if the individual feels that they have a drinking problem, then AA is a great program to become involved in, but in terms of preparation for court, AA is not necessary. Then again, everything is done case by case.
There is nothing written in the statutes or the law that says a person has to do X, Y, and Z in order to receive a sentence that does not include jail time. If the case is not aggravated, then doing a state-certified alcohol education program is probably sufficient, but that depends on the jurisdiction and the individual judge.
Some judges don’t want to hear the defendant say anything. Other judges do want to hear what their underage defendant has to say. It is important to have a lawyer who knows the judge so that they know what the judge wants to hear. It’s important to have a lawyer who doesn’t just know the law, but who knows the jurisdiction where you’re being judged as well.
Aggravated Factors in Maryland DUI
There are a couple of ways in which a DUI could be aggravated. The reason for contact is a factor, for example if an individual was involved in a serious accident then that is more aggravated than if they had been pulled over for a bad tail light. The person’s BAC is another issue. If an individual blows a .08 BAC, it looks a lot better than if they blow a .28. Their demeanor when interacting with the police also matters, for example being polite and cooperative is better than assaulting the police officer. Another factor is the person’s history. First offenders are treated radically different than second offenders and third offenders.