A DWI or DUI arrest can be one of the scariest things you go through in your life. The concern and worry that you face immediately after and as you approach the trial can cause great grief for anyone facing a drunk-driving charge.
As a Maryland DUI and DWI defense attorney, Randolph Rice has dealt with thousands of drunk driving cases during his career. He’s put together this list to help ease the worries for individuals facing a drunk driving charge in Maryland.
If you’re facing a DUI or DWI in Maryland, call his office today for help.
#1 I can’t believe I got arrested for drunk driving
You’re not alone. So far during the first two quarters of 2017 there have been 3,254 DUI arrest in Maryland. That’s on pace to reach the estimated 18,000 DUI and DWI cases charged for 2017.
We know it may be a shock to be facing drunk driving charges, but don’t panic, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for drunk driving arrests. With the help and guidance of a skilled DUI lawyer, you can resolve the matter with the best possible outcome under the circumstances.
#2 Will I be able to drive after my DUI arrest?
Yes, you will be able to drive after you’re drunk driving arrest in Maryland, but there may be some administrative penalties or sanctions that will apply to your driver’s license.
If you are not a Maryland licensed driver, the police will not confiscate your license and you will be able to drive in your home state as well as the other 49 other states.
If you were licensed Maryland driver at the time of the DUI arrest, and you had a breath test result of .08 or more or you refuse to take the test, the police will confiscate your license.
The police will issue a temporary license that will allow you to drive for 45 days after the DUI arrest. Depending on your decision to take the test or not take the breath test will dictate the next step.
#3 What if I didn’t take the field sobriety test on the side of the road?
There are no penalties for not taking the field sobriety test on the side of the road. Field sobriety test are tool used by the police to determine if you are driving under the influence (“DUI”) or driving while impaired (“DWI”).
It is merely an evidence tactic that the police use to build a case against you. There are no administrative penalties for refusing to take the field sobriety tests.
The police and the state’s attorney merely have less evidence to use at your trial.
#4 Why did the police arrest me if I didn’t take the field sobriety test?
To make an arrest for drunk driving in Maryland, the police only need to establish probable cause that you’re operating a motor vehicle and under the influence of either drugs, alcohol, or a controlled dangerous substance.
There are other clues at the police may use to establish probable cause for your arrest.
The police may point to your driving skills, the smell of alcohol on your breath or person, or your demeanor during the interaction with them.
If the police officer can establish probable cause then at that point in time they have a reason to arrest you for drunk driving. This doesn’t mean that you are guilty of drunk driving, it merely establishes a threshold of evidence for the police to make the arrest.
#5 What if I took the test at the police station?
For all drunk driving arrests in Maryland, there are administrative penalties and consequences for taking or not taking the test.
This is called the implied consent rule, when you became a licensed driver in Maryland or if you choose to drive on the highways and roads in Maryland you implicitly consented to these rules.
The rules state that if a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you are driving while impaired or driving under the influence, then the officer has the right to request that you take a breath or blood test.
If you take the test, there are some slight benefits. A test result of .08 but less than .15 may qualify you for a modified or restricted license.
This means that you can request an MVA hearing and your lawyer can argue before the administrative law judge that you are eligible for a restricted or modified license.
A restricted or modified license means that you can drive to and from work and any medical appointments during the suspension after the hearing.
#6 What if I refuse to take the breath or blood test?
If you refuse to take a breath or blood test, the sanctions are a bit stiffer. You still have a right to request an MVA hearing for the purposes of arguing that the officer did not satisfy one or more of the seven issues they can be argued.
Or you may accept the license suspension for the prescribed period of time according to the DR-15. And finally, you may be eligible to enroll in the ignition interlock program.
The ignition interlock program is a contract with the motor vehicle administration where you agree to place on your vehicle a device that controls the ignition system.
#7 What is the ignition interlock program?
If you would like to participate in the ignition interlock program, then you agree to have a device placed in your vehicle that controls the ignition for your vehicle. The device must remain in your vehicle for one year.
The device requires the driver to blow into the device at the start of the vehicle as well as during the operation of the motor vehicle.
If the device returns a result of alcohol greater than .25, the vehicle will not start or the vehicle will cease to operate. If a driver incurs more than three violations then the motor vehicle administration will suspend the driver’s license for 30 days and allow the driver to re-enroll after that suspension.
#8 What happens for a first offense DUI in Maryland?
A first offense DUI in Maryland is serious and requires extensive preparation for trial. An experienced DUI lawyer will guide you through the steps that must be taken prior to a first offense DUI trial.
Statistically, if a defendant completes the Regiment of required tasks before court, the judge will grant the defendant a probation before judgement or PBJ.
A PBJ in Maryland is not a conviction. In addition, points will not be assessed to the driver’s record and the PBJ record is not visible to the public.
Most DUI and DWI defendants will be required to participate in a period of probation.
#9 Will I be on probation after my DUI?
In almost every DUI or DWI case in Maryland, the individual charged will be required to complete a period of probation. Probation is determined by the judge who hears the case.
A District Court judge may place an individual on probation for up to three years, and if the case is heard by Circuit Court judge, then the probation can last for up to five years.
In most situations, individuals placed on probation for drunk driving are placed on probation of one year to two years depending on the judge and the jurisdiction.
#10 Will I have to Complete a Treatment Program After My DUI Arrest?
Yes, it is advisable that anyone charged with drunk driving in Maryland complete an alcohol treatment and or education program. Your DUI lawyer will arrange a program for you and provide the resources to complete the course.
Alcohol treatment courses in Maryland can run from 12 weeks all the way up to 26 weeks for outpatient. If the DUI charges are serious or the facts of the case require, your lawyer may recommend that you seek inpatient treatment.
#11 Am I going to jail for a DUI in Maryland?
It all depends on a number of factors. The severity of the intoxication can increase the probability of jail.
The facts of the case, including an accident or injury to another driver or pedestrian. Or the behavior and demeanor of the individual with the police officer may also dictate the probability of jail and a drunk driving case.
A skilled DUI lawyer can help to mitigate these factors and greatly reduce the chance of jail for drunk driving arrest.
#12 What are the fines for a DUI or DWI conviction in Maryland?
While the court may fine individuals up to $1,000 for a DUI or $500 for a DWI, defendants who retain a lawyer will typically see lower fines and court costs for their case. The judge for your drunk driving trial will determine the fines and costs. If you aren’t able to pay the fines and cost on the trial date, the judge may order that you pay the expenses during your period of probation.
#13 Can I remove a DUI or DWI from my record?
If you are found guilty or receive a PBJ, then the DUI will never come off your record.
If you are found not guilty, stet or the case is dismissed or nolle prosequi, then the DUI or DWI charges may be eligible for expungement.
#14 Will my insurance increase after a DUI or DWI arrest?
Your car insurance rates are dictated by your car insurance company. It depends on whether your car insurance company learns of the DUI or DWI arrest and the outcome in your case.
Most insurance companies, if they find out about the DUI or DWI conviction, will increase your insurance rates.
However, if you receive a PBJ, then your record will not show the DUI. However, it is not uncommon to see the refusal or acceptance of the breath or blood test on your DUI record.
Therefore, if the insurance company is savvy, they will be able to extrapolate that you received a drunk driving arrest and or conviction. You may have to just wait and see if your insurance company will penalize you for the drunk driving charges.
#15 Should I pay any of the other tickets?
No, you should not pay any of the other tickets you received along with your DUI or DWI charges. Since the DUI and DWI charges are must appears, your attorney may be able to use the other charges as leverage to negotiate a deal with the state’s attorney.
Maryland DUI attorney – Randolph Rice
A skillful drunk driving lawyer will prepare you and a defense for your case. Exploring every possible technicality that may have been violated by the police May provide a defense in your case. Don’t wait, contact our office today to speak with a lawyer at the schedule you’re drunk driving free consultation.