Washington County DUI Attorney
Are you facing serious DUI charges in Western Maryland? Contact a Washington County DUI lawyer to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case and begin developing an aggressive defense strategy.
The laws in Washington County and Maryland are strict when it comes to suspicion of a DUI. Anyone suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol can be pulled over and tested. If an individual’s BAC, or blood alcohol concentration, is .08% or more, they will be arrested and charged with a DUI, while anything between .07% and .08% is considered a DWI in Maryland. Law enforcement officials also the right to arrest an individual even if their BAC is below .07% if the officer determines that the driver’s behavior displays an alcohol or drug impairment. In Maryland, both DWI and DUI are misdemeanor charges and can result in serious criminal penalties. If you have been charged with a DUI or a DWI, please contact a Washington County defense lawyer today.
DUI Charges in Washington County, Maryland
In Washington County, Maryland, a motorist convicted of driving under influence of drugs or alcohol could face any or multiple of the following penalties: a fine, time in jail, the loss of their license, higher insurance and points on their driving record.
Once you are charged with a DUI in Washington County, the officer will confiscate your driver’s license, suspending your driving privileges. You will then receive a temporary driving permit that will last 45 days while the officer mails your license and his or her report to the MVA of the state. Immediately upon your arrest, there begins a 30-day countdown for you to request a hearing on your suspension. If the arrested individual fails to set request a hearing, the suspension will be upheld.
The MVA Process
Your first hearing will be before an “Administrative Law Judge”. The ALJ is an attorney who is employed by the Office of Administrative Hearings. The impartiality of the ALJ is important, and is the reason you are judged by someone not employed with the MVA.
During this hearing with the ALJ, he or she will go over the evidence given to him by the officer who arrested you, as well as hearing your defense and any evidence you and your Washington County, MD DUI attorney may have gathered up. Once everything is presented, the ALJ will make his decision based on whether or not he believes that the officer was correct in detaining you, followed protocol appropriately, and respected your rights throughout the process. If the judge rules in the favor of the officer, your suspension will be upheld and you may be eligible for a restricted permit. If the judge rules in your favor, your suspension will not take place.
For a first offense DUI, the criminal penalties may be as follows: jail time of up to 1 year (up to 2 years if a minor was riding in the vehicle with you), a fine of up to $1,000 (or $2,000 if a minor was riding in the vehicle with you). Second time offense penalties include 1-3 years in jail (depending on whether a minor was riding with you in the vehicle), community service, a $2,000-$3,000 fine, a suspended license of up to 180 days, and completing the AEP. A third offense for a DUI adds a 4th year onto jail time if a minor was present, as well as taking the fine up to a possible $4,000, a license suspension period of up to 18 months, and repeating the same AEP program.
Speak with a Washington County, MD DUI Lawyer
Court hearings and MVA meetings can be complicated, so it is important to find well-qualified legal counsel when you or a loved one gets charged with a DUI. These kinds of marks on a driving record can cause big problems later on, so getting a high-caliber attorney who can help fight for the most favorable settlement possible can save a lot of trouble and avoid much in legalities later on down the line.
If you’ve been accused of DUI in Hagerstown or anywhere else Western Maryland, call the Washington County, MD DUI lawyers at our law offices for a free initial consultation.