Montgomery County Felony DUI Charges
DUI charges are rather common in Montgomery County and throughout the rest of Maryland. Law enforcement officials are growing increasingly vigilant with respect to potential DUIs. Below, a Montgomery County DUI lawyer discusses the potential for DUIs to turn into felony charges and how the defense works to fight these charges. To learn more about felony DUI charges in Montgomery County, call today to schedule a consultation.
Can a DUI Ever Be a Felony Offense in Montgomery County
It is extremely rare for a DUI to also be a felony. The most common time a DUI charge rises to the level of felony is if somebody causes serious bodily harm or death. Those are charges that are going to be charged as homicide. They are not actually charged as DUIs, but they are DUIs that become felonies.
Processing Felony DUI Cases
Felony DUI cases, unlike regular DUIs, will begin in the circuit court. Regular DUIs in Maryland begins in the district court, which is the low level court in Maryland. You have the right to have your case heard at the circuit court, and that is in the defendant’s discretion. Felony cases are native to the circuit court. They begin at the circuit court, and that is where they stay until a resolution.
Importance of Experienced Legal Counsel in Felony DUI Cases
Experienced counsel is extremely important. When there is serious bodily injury or death involved there is a very, very high likelihood of a significant period of incarceration, if convicted. Having a lawyer who knows how to get an acquittal or how to minimize the charges that you are actually found guilty of can have a huge difference in the outcome of the case.
Defending Felony DUI Cases
They are different in the sense that they are definitely going to be handled at the circuit court, if the element of serious bodily injury or death is involved. The elements of the DUI themselves are going to be very similar; however, there is a lot more to this, which is why it is important to have a counsel who know what they are doing in these kinds of cases.
First Steps To Take in Felony DUI Cases
In terms of crafting a defense, the first steps are going to be exactly the same. It is going to begin with interviewing the client to figure out exactly what happened, then looking at the evidence that the state has. Looking at all the discovery, any kind of videos, any kind of scientific evidence, chemical analysis, and things like that. Then we will compile a list of witnesses—people who saw it happen—or perhaps have expert witnesses that can challenge some aspects of the state’s case. The defense process is very similar between a misdemeanor and a felony. It is just the level of severity of the charges that is different.