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Charged with DUI: What Happens in Maryland?

charged with a DUI what happens in Maryland

One of the most common questions I get, and it usually gets asked at a cocktail party or event where alcohol is served: What Happens If I’m arrested for DUI in Maryland?

Attorney Randolph Rice is a Maryland DUI and DWI defense attorney. Before he defendant clients charged with DUI and DWI in Maryland, he was an Assistant State’s Attorney for Baltimore County, Maryland. He prosecuted thousands of DUI cases and has defended clients charged with DUI since 2009.

Most people ask: How Do I Get Out of a DUI? The answer is, don’t drink too much and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle. That’s the easiest way, but most people aren’t looking for that answer. They want to know what they should do if they are pulled over and the police officer suspects they are driving while impaired or driving under the influence.

DUI Lawyer Baltimore

As I said before, don’t drink too much and then get behind the wheel of a car. Use the common ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. You think these apps would have changed the numbers for drunk drivers in Maryland, but they don’t seem to be making a big dent in the problem. Drunk driving is a problem, a person with diminished motor skills is behind a “missile” that that can injury and kill that person or someone else.

Uber was developed and became popular in 2014 and since then, there has not been a significant drop in DUI arrests in Maryland. The data below indicates that the numbers have gone more or less unchanged.

Impaired Driving Arrests in Maryland

  • Q1 of 2014 – 1496 Impaired driving arrests
  • Q2 of 2014 – 1630 Impaired driving arrests
  • Q3 of 2014 – 1767 Impaired driving arrest
  • Q4 of 2014 – 1562 Impaired driving arrests
  • Q1 of 2015 – 1500 Impaired driving arrests
  • Q2 of 2015 – 1636 Impaired driving arrests
  • Q3 of 2015 – 1934 Impaired driving arrests
  • Q4 of 2015 – 1702 Impaired driving arrests
  • Q1 of 2016 – 1614 Impaired driving arrests
  • Q2 of 2016 – 1720 Impaired driving arrests
  • Q3 of 2016 – 1892 Impaired driving arrests
  • Q4 of 2016 – 1591 Impaired driving arrests
  • Q1 of 2017 – 1639 Impaired driving arrests

So why aren’t more people using the ridesharing services and avoiding drunk driving arrests in Maryland? That is hard to say and maybe the availability of an alternative is not a deterrent for most people that plan on drinking and driving.

What Happens If Arrested for DUI

So you’ve had too much and you are heading home or going to another party of bar. You’re stopped for DUI (driving under the influence). Most people that are pulled over for DUI are stopped because they have violated a simple traffic law. And most DUI’s occur at night. What did your mother always say, “Nothing good happens after midnight.” This could not be more true when it comes to DUI and DWI arrests.

Police and law enforcement are looking for drunk drivers a night. People are leaving bars and heading home and this is a prime time for a DUI arrest. Some of the most common reasons individuals are stopped for DUI in Maryland are:

  • Speeding
  • Following too closely
  • Swerving
  • Failing to stop for a stop sign or rolling through a stop sign
  • Right turn where no right on red is allowed

There are some of the most common offenses, and these offenses lead to the police officer approaching the vehicle and smelling alcohol.

The Police Smell Alcohol

When a police officer approaches a vehicle, he is looking for clues. One of the the most common clues is the smell of alcohol coming from the driver or the interior of the vehicle. If the officer smells alcohol, his senses are tuned to, what else can I detect to proceed with a DUI investigation.

The Behavior of the Driver

The officer is looking for other signs or impairment such as slurred speech or bloodshot eyes. These are clues that the office will note and put in their report if you are charged with DUI.

If the officer has probable cause to believe that you have been drinking and it is impairing your ability to operate a motor vehicle, he may ask you to perform field sobriety tests or FST’s. FST’s are a serious of tests performed on the side of the road to assist the officer in determining if you have been drinking and to establish probable cause to make an arrest.

The FST’s

The FST’s consist of HGN, walk and turn and the one leg stand. Each test is used to determine if alcohol or another substance is impairing your ability to drive that vehicle. If the officer detects enough clues, then they will arrest you and take to the police station for further testing.

Once You’ve Been Arrested For DUI

If the office establishes probable cause to arrest, then they will take you the to police station and ask you to submit to a breath test. This is a test where you supply a breath or blood sample to determine the alcohol content in your blood. At this point, you can refuse to the take the test or submit to the test and the reading is provided. If you refuse or the test result it too high, then you license will be taken and give administrative penalties for the results.

At this point the office has the option of releasing you to a sober person or taking you to the commissioner for a bail hearing. From that point the officer will charge with and you await a trial date.

This is a brief description of the process and by no way covers every step. If you’ve been charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland, you need to speak with a DUI lawyer as soon as possible to determine the best course of action. Contact our office today at 410.288.2900 to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.

Click here to read the DUI penalties in Maryland.

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