From 2003 to 2012, over 1400 people in the state of Maryland died in motor vehicle accidents involving drunk driving. Driving while under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense, and in Maryland, the first DUI conviction is usually termed as a misdemeanor. While a misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, the mark on your record can have lifelong, negative repercussions. A DUI offense can significantly raise insurance premiums, and affect employment and future career aspirations.
There are a few ways to prepare for a DUI charge and lessen the rate of conviction or severity of the penalty. The following article will explain the charges involved, the possible penalties associated with a DUI, and how an attorney can help.
Understanding Your Charge
A DUI charge in Maryland is precipitated by your blood alcohol level, or the result of a field sobriety test. A blood alcohol test can be administered via a breathalyzer, a blood test, or a urine test. Typically, a breathalyzer will be used because it is the quickest and easiest option for law enforcement.
If blood alcohol levels are .08 or above, you are considered legally intoxicated, and a DUI charge will result.
Next, you’ll be placed under arrest. An officer will take you to the police station, and from there, you’ll be photographed and fingerprinted. At this point, the DUI charge is in the system.
Below is a list of the possible repercussions you could face as a result of a DUI charge. The severity or chance of facing any of these depends on whether you are repeat DUI offender, and what your actions were at the time of the arrest.
- Suspension of license, points added
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, your license could be suspended immediately. Furthermore, a refusal to take a breathalyzer could result in the officer demanding a blood test at a local hospital. This is a much more invasive procedure, and it will not look favorable on you in your future hearing if you refused the officer’s initial request. Please consider a refusal carefully.
Also, your insurance company can add points to your license and raise your premium rates if you have a suspended license.
With a DUI conviction, you could be ordered to serve up to twelve-months in jail for a first-time offense, and up to three years in jail for any repeated offenses.
For a first-time DUI offender, you could be ordered to pay up to one thousand dollars in fines, and up to three thousand dollars for repeated offenses.
If you believe you’ve been wrongly charged, you must document everything that transpired during and after the arrest. A qualified criminal defense attorney can later use this information to avoid a conviction.
DUI’s convictions can be difficult to overturn, and the fines are steep and jail time is a likely possibility. If you find yourself running afoul of the law and have been charged with a DUI, you’ll need the services of a qualified DUI defense attorney or in severe cases, engaging felony criminal attorneys would be more appropriate.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Baltimore County, a DUI attorney in the city of Baltimore will be able to defend you more adequately than one who resides outside of Baltimore. Cases can vary greatly between judges, the police force, and case law in the Baltimore County jurisdiction. An attorney who represents clients in Baltimore County specifically will understand the various intricacies and nuances associated with practicing legal defense in Baltimore.
After a DUI charge, immediately contact an experienced DUI attorney. Research law firms and attorney reviews online, or ask friends and family for recommendations. Keep in mind that most attorneys offer an initial free consultation.
When you attend your initial consultation, be prepared with accurate, documented information. Your attorney will ask you a lot of questions regarding the time of arrest and what transpired. If the arresting officer did not accurately and lawfully follow procedure, it is possible to have the case overturned or the penalties lessened.
If there was a passenger or passengers in the vehicle when you were arrested, your attorney can use them as a witness. If possible, have your witness attend the consultation with you. Also, if you are taking any prescription medication, make sure your attorney is aware of these. Compose a list of your medications and the dosages. Certain medications can give a faulty breathalyzer result.
While getting charged with a DUI and facing the prospect of serving jail time is a scary possibility with a DUI conviction, it is rare. Even if you are found guilty of a DUI, a qualified lawyer can get your charges lowered. An attorney’s interests are getting the best possible outcome for their client, but your baltimore DUI attorneys must be well-armed, so be sure to give them as much information as you can during the consultation.