Ocean City DUI Lawyer
DUI charges require a highly experienced criminal attorney to defend successfully. Police often violate the procedural safeguards associated with this crime, and their mistakes could be the basis for a strong defense. The prosecutor is required to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high burden of proof, so a powerful defense could make all the difference. If you are facing these charges, an experienced Ocean City DUI lawyer is ready to help.
Charges of Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) occurs when a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs while operating a motor vehicle. Under Maryland law, there are a variety of different DUI offenses a person may face, including:
- Per se DUI
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Driving while impaired by alcohol
- DUI while a minor is a passenger in the vehicle
- DWI while a minor is in the vehicle
- DWI or DUI while under the influence of drugs
While alcohol DUI cases are some of the most common, substances like illegal narcotics, prescription drugs, or even over-the-counter medications can lead to charges if a person is under their influence and behind the wheel. No matter the type of DUI-related charge, it is crucial that a defendant be represented by a knowledgeable attorney in the area throughout their case.
Understanding Per Se DUI Convictions
A per se DUI violation occurs if a driver has surpassed the legal limit of alcohol in their blood while operating a car, truck, or other motor vehicle. The legal limit in the state is a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If a person is at or over this limit, that person is automatically considered impaired, even without any other evidence of impairment.
Police will attempt to determine the driver’s BAC through different methods, such as:
- A roadside breath test
- Roadside field sobriety tests
- An official breath test at the police station
- A blood test
Each of these testing methods requires that law enforcement follow very specific procedures, and some even require a warrant under certain circumstances. A local attorney experienced in drunk driving cases could examine the evidence for any instances of police misconduct or error.
Under the Limit DUI Charges
Even when a driver is under the legal limit, they can still be charged with a driving while impaired (DWI) offense under state law. This occurs when a driver is impaired but is under the per se limit of 0.08% BAC. This requires that law enforcement put forth evidence that the driver was impaired despite the low level of alcohol in the defendant’s blood stream.
To show this type of impairment, officers will attempt to show proof of:
- Slurred speech
- Red eyes
- Odor of alcohol
- Inability of driver to concentrate
- Lack of balance or inability to stand
- Poor performance of field sobriety tests
Law enforcement officers are able to testify concerning what they observed in court in order to attempt to prove the defendant was impaired.
Penalties for Drunk Driving
DUI penalty structures are complex and depend on many factors. A first time DUI offense can result in one year in prison, twelve points on a defendant’s driver’s license, and up to $1,000 in fines. Additional offenses will lead to higher penalties, and factors such as transporting a minor while impaired could further enhance the severity of the crime.
Let an Ocean City DUI Attorney Take on Your Case
DUI charges can upend an accused person’s life, and a conviction could incur serious consequences. If you are accused of this crime, it could be crucial to enlist the assistance of a qualified legal professional as soon as possible. An Ocean City DUI lawyer could defend your rights and help you mount a strong defense. Schedule a confidential consultation today to get started.