Prince Frederick DUI Lawyers
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- Davis, Upton & Palumbo:
Two primary drunk driving charges
DWI, or Driving While Impaired, is the lesser of the two drunk driving charges. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or below, you can be charged with, and may be convicted of, this offense. DUI, or Driving Under the Influence is the more serious of the two drunk driving charges, You can be charged with DUI if your BAC is .08 percent or higher.
A DUI/DWI is actually two proceedings Ń criminal and administrative
An arrest for DWI or DUI will typically involve both criminal and administrative proceedings. Simply put, the criminal proceedings will determine whether you will go to jail as a result of the charge and the administrative proceedings will determine whether you will be able to continue to drive.
Criminal - If you are arrested and charged with a DWI or DUI offense, you will have to appear in District Court to answer to the charges. If you are charged with DUI, you also have the right to request a jury trial and have the case transferred to Circuit Court. If you are convicted of a DWI or DUI, you may be sentenced to jail and/or ordered to pay a fine. You may be placed on probation and ordered to attend alcohol counseling. In addition, if you are convicted of DUI and are not granted a Probation Before Judgment, the conviction will result in 12 points on your driverŐs license. Similarly, a conviction of DWI with no Probation Before Judgment will result in 8 points on your driverŐs license. Your license may be suspended if you accumulate more than 8 points in any two-year period and may be revoked if you accumulate more than 12 points in any two-year period.
Administrative - If you are stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired, the police officer may ask you to perform field sobriety tests, to take a preliminary breath test, or to take a Breathalyzer test. If you are unconscious or otherwise unable to consent to take a Breathalyzer test at the time of arrest, the police officer may require that you take a blood test to determine the alcohol content of your blood. If you refuse to take the Breathalyzer or blood test, or take the test and register a BAC over 0.08%, your license may be administratively suspended. If this occurs, you have the right to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. You only have ten days after an arrest for DUI or DWI to request a hearing in order to prevent your license from being suspended while you wait for a hearing to be scheduled. If you do not request a hearing within thirty (30) days after an arrest, you will not be eligible for a MVA Hearing. At this administrative hearing, your license may be suspended or revoked or you may be referred to the Medical Advisory Board. However, you may be eligible for and receive a Restricted License, which allows you to drive to and from work or to and from any alcohol counseling program you are attending. You also may be eligible to participate in the ignition interlock program, which will allow you to continue to drive.
Administrative and criminal penalties for a drunk driving conviction
Penalties for drunk driving in Maryland are increasingly harsh and have become more complicated over the years. They vary according to many factors, including BAC, the number of prior offenses, and whether an accident occurred as a result.
Criminal Penalties may include:
First time DUI:
* Fine up to $1,000
* Up to One year in jail for a First Offense
* Up to Two years in Jail for a Second Offense
* Up to Three years in Jail for a Third or Subsequent Offense
* 12 points on your driverŐs license record
* Revocation or Suspension of your driving privileges
First time DWI:
* Fine up to $500
* Up to Two months in jail for a First Offense
* Up to One year in jail for a Second or Subsequent Offense
* 8 points on your driverŐs license record
* Suspension of your driving privileges
Administrative Penalties may include:
Refusing to take a breath test:
* License suspension of 120 days for a First Offense
* License suspension of One (1) year for a Second or Subsequent Offense
* Refusal may be used against you in the criminal proceedings
Breath Test with Result of .08% or more but less than .15% BAC
* License suspension of 45 days for a First Offense
* License suspension of 90 days for a Second or Subsequent Offense
Breath Test with Result of .15% BAC or more
* License suspension of 90 days for a First offense
* License suspension of 180 days for a Second or Subsequent Offense
The penalties listed here are only the beginning. For related matters, such as vehicular homicide, the penalties can be much greater. It is important to talk with a defense attorney as soon as possible after any drunk driving charge.
- Pesetsky, Ian:
If you have been charged with a criminal law offense in Maryland, your goals are clear. You want to avoid jail and minimize all potential consequences.
Both the prosecution and a defendant have a right to request that
certain instructions be submitted to a jury when a trial court charges
the jury. A request for the instructions must be made in writing and
must be presented to the trial court prior to the trial court's charge
to the jury. The request may also be dictated to a court reporter in
the presence of the trial court and counsel for both parties.
- Lamson, LeBlanc, & Carmean:
Lawyers are trained to read and interpret statutes (laws). Depending on
your personal criminal background, there may be complicated sentencing
matters to consider. A lawyer can explain to you the possible outcomes,
and they will be aware of the individual sentencing patterns of your
10 reasons to consult an attorney when charged with DWI or DUI in Maryland
1. Explain the charge and its consequences.
Lawyers are trained to read and interpret statutes (laws). Depending on your personal criminal background, there may be complicated sentencing matters to consider. A lawyer can explain to you the possible outcomes, and they will be aware of the individual sentencing patterns of your local judges.
2. Obtain information about the "CASE".
A lawyer has access to most, if not all, of the information gathered about you by the police that the prosecutor will rely on in a trial. This helps you and your lawyer to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your defense, and ultimately will help to guide your decision as to whether or not to even have a trial.
3. Analyze your case: applying the law.
Your lawyer will evaluate your case to see if all of your constitutional rights were protected.
Was the stopping of your vehicle legal?
Did you voluntarily consent to be searched?
Was the breathalyzer machine working properly?
Did you understand your rights as they were explained to you?
These are some of the issues that your lawyer will be looking for. In addition to that, your lawyer is also trained to look for the things you did right during the stop, and may be able to use these clues to persuade the prosecutor to give you a better plea offer.
4. Help you decide whether to have a trial.
The Constitution of the United States guarantees you the right to a trial, where the State would have to prove you guilty of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. However, nearly all cases are resolved via "plea bargaining". This is a process where the charges are dropped, reduced, or otherwise amended in exchange for you making some type of concession to the State, i.e., pleading guilty, doing community service, etc. A lawyer is often crucial in this stage and can help you get the best "bargain" available.
5. Prepare you for trial.
If you decide to have a trial, your lawyer will help you gather evidence, round-up witnesses, and help make you aware of what to expect when you have the trial.
6. Suggest positive, pre-trial steps that you can take.
Often, there are positive steps that you can take pre-trial, which will be helpful in the event that your case results in a sentencing phase. A lawyer will be familiar with the types of programs available in your community, and will be able to provide you with advice as to whether you should consider participating in one.
7. Defend you during a trial.
Trials are often complicated and your lawyer will be able to assist you by providing your best defense. Your lawyer is trained in the rules of evidence, and will be able to help keep out information that may have come into evidence if you represented yourself.
8. Be your advocate at sentencing.
A lawyer can be particularly helpful at this stage because your lawyer is paid to advocate for you and is not afraid to speak on your behalf to the judge. Your lawyer will prepare a list of positive things to say about you, and will instruct you on how to arrange for other people to also say positive things about you to the judge.
9. Pursue post-trial motions.
Even if you are found guilty, sometimes the law allows a judge to go back and "strike" the guilty verdict. Your lawyer will know how this process works, and will protect your post trial rights by filing the appropriate motions.
10. Handle important administrative issues.
With drinking and driving charges, there are administrative matters in addition to criminal matters, that must be considered. Your lawyer may be able to help you to convince the appropriate government agency that you should be allowed to keep your driver's license, for example.
WHAT IF I JUST WANT TO PLEAD GUILTY? DO I STILL NEED A LAWYER?
YES. All of the above reasons still apply. Especially the sentencing and post-trial rights help that a lawyer can provide.