License Privileges After a First DUI in Wicomico
When you are charged with a DUI, there are two independent proceedings that are initiated against you. One is the criminal case and the other is an administrative component related to your driving privileges. The severity of the consequences to your driving privileges is dependent upon the level of the blood alcohol content that you provided on a test sample. If you refused the test, the sanctions will be greater. If you find yourself facing the revocation of your license due to a DUI in Wicomico County, it is important to contact a qualified first time DUI attorney who can advise and defend you as you face the court in these trying circumstances.
In the event of a refusal to take the breathalyzer test, a defendant faces a nine-month suspension of their driving privileges. If, on the other hand, someone did not refuse, but the test comes back with a result over the .08 blood alcohol content limit, then the penalty is a six-month suspension. There are pros and cons to both scenarios in terms of the overall penalties as well as how the case will proceed. In addition to the license suspension, there is also the possibility of having an ignition interlock installed in a car for one year so you can continue to drive.
Probation Before Judgment
The aforementioned penalties are independent of the criminal case. Because of this, someone can be found not guilty in the criminal case but could still face the suspension or interlock requirement.
In the criminal case, it is possible to receive what is called a probation before judgment, which essentially puts the defendant on probation before the case is even heard. If the defendant completes the probation without any further violations, the probation before judgment will have given them the opportunity to move forward without a conviction on their record. If, however, someone is convicted of a DUI offense, they will be required to have an interlock for a year pursuant to the conviction itself. This is separate from what happens in the administrative case.
Challenging a Suspension
It is possible to challenge the suspension of a license after a first time DUI. Someone can challenge a number of things:
- The procedure of the officer
- The legitimacy of the test
- Whether your refusal was proper if it was, in fact, a refusal
It is important to note that the pending criminal charge does not cause someone to lose their license. Rather, the conviction could lead to the revocation of a license. In that case, under certain circumstances, it is possible to apply for a restricted license. For instance, someone can complete an application for a restricted license only if their blood alcohol content level was between 0.8 and 0.15 at the time the breathalyzer test was taken.
How An Attorney Can Help
An experienced attorney can be invaluable when it comes to avoiding mistakes in the process. The biggest mistake is to wait until the last minute to get an attorney because there are certain strict deadlines that must be followed. For example, the administrative component requires that you request a hearing within 30 days. In fact, you have to request the hearing within the first 10 days in order to get an extension in order to drive until the date of the hearing; if you don’t, your license may be immediately and automatically suspended. If you were to wait three weeks after a DUI to retain the services of an attorney, and as a result had not requested a hearing, you may have a problem continuing to drive in the foreseeable future. Regardless of what the attorney can do for you from that point onward, the deadlines have passed.
As for the criminal case, a lot of it would need to be done in advance, whether it’s obtaining a subpoena for videos, a dash camera footage, getting records from the police or prosecutors – all of that takes time. Additionally, you need time to get treatment. You should not only start treatment but, in the best case scenario, be done by the time you have your court date. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to guide you through all these steps and more, advising you on the best course of action every step of the way.