DUI Charges in Wicomico
There are two categories of alcohol-related offenses in Wicomico. There is driving under the influence and driving while impaired. Driving while impaired refers to someone who is feeling the effects of alcohol, ranging from feeling slightly tipsy to feeling somewhat inebriated.
Driving under the influence, on the other hand, occurs when you have reached the point of being fully inebriated. A person who gets a DUI suffers heavier consequences with regard to sentencing than a person with a DWI, which is a lower-level offense. Either way, it is important to have an experienced local attorney by your side during the proceedings, as it will improve your chances of achieving the best outcome possible in light of the circumstances.
Burden of Proof
The prosecution’s burden of proof regarding impairment has a relatively low threshold. They must prove that someone was feeling some of the effects of alcohol. This could include proving that the driver at the time was slightly sluggish and their reaction time could be slowed. That would be sufficient evidence for a driving while impaired charge. However, a conviction for driving under the influence requires a higher burden of proof because it is a more serious charge.
Blood Alcohol Level
When it comes to being charged for driving while impaired or under the influence, it is important to understand that a person does not simply need to have a blood alcohol level of 0.8 or lower in order to drive. Anyone could still be charged if they blow under 0.8 but above 0. If the BAC falls within this range, the individual can be charged with a DWI.
In Wicomico, law enforcement officers make it a point to ensure that DUI regulations are carried out. Because Wicomico is close to Ocean City, there are a lot of travelers passing through on their way to the water. A lot of people visit and if there is alcohol involved, then accidents may happen. The police officers want to be very cognizant of who is drinking and driving, and thereby possibly posing a risk to the residents as well as individuals passing through the county.
DUI checkpoints are not extremely common in Wicomico. That being said, police officers tend to focus on areas that have a higher history and likelihood of incidences. For example, the side streets around the local liquor establishments have a higher police presence. Also, main highways leading through and around Salisbury that lead in and out of Ocean City are more likely to have law enforcement officers on them, patrolling the area.
One thing is a little different about Wicomico County than most other counties in Maryland: that is that many individuals charged in Wicomico County are not from that particular jurisdiction. Many are just traveling through, driving from one side of the state to the other. This is especially true during the summer time, due to the presence of nearby beaches. This can be slightly problematic because these are individuals who sometimes live hours away and have to travel back and forth for the court case.
How An Attorney Can Help
DUI cases are heard in district court and can be resolved there. The other option is to request a trial by jury, in which case the procedure will move to the circuit court. When the defendant is from out of state, this adds a layer of difficulty to an already complex system. Having a local attorney who is familiar with Wicomico laws can help facilitate the process of fighting the charges. In the case of a defendant who is from the area, an experienced attorney can be an invaluable asset when it comes to making decisions each step of the way and building a strong defense.