- Experience – how many DUI or DWI clients and cases they have defended;
- Locality or Location of law firm – how far does the lawyer need to travel for the court appearances;
- Prior record – what is the prior criminal and traffic record for the individual charged?
- Complexity of the case – is the case straightforward or requires more work?
- Plea vs trial – will the case require a bench trial or jury trial or end with a plea?
- various other facts about you and the charges.
- Baltimore County DUI lawyer
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- Baltimore DUI & DWI lawyer
Make sure you contact our office if you’ve been charged and need legal representation.
- One of the biggest factors when it comes to the cost of a Maryland DUI lawyer is the experience of the attorney. (An attorney who has just finished law school and in their first couple years of practice may not cost as much as a lawyer who’s been practicing for more than eight years.)
- Young lawyers often will charge less than an older lawyer because they need more business and they’re trying to build a client base. This may be dangerous when selecting a Maryland DUI lawyer because experience is one of the key factors in a successful drunk driving defense.
- Driving while impaired defense lawyers that have been practicing for more than 8 years have handled potentially hundreds of DUI and DWI cases.
- Look for a lawyer or law firm with experience in the courtroom as well as knowledge of the drunk driving laws in Maryland or your State.
- A successful outcome is different for each driver facing a DUI or DWI charge in Maryland. Review the possible outcomes with your lawyer and discuss the probability of each disposition in your case.
How much does a DUI lawyer cost in Maryland?
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a DUI Lawyer?
Will DUI Lawyers Offer Payment Plans?
How Much Does it Cost for a DUI?
When do you Need an Attorney for a DUI charge?
Immediately. A DUI has many negative consequences which require professional assistance. Any criminal charges are serious but Driving Under the Influence (DUI) contains more than the usual pitfalls. Not only is there possible fines and jail time, but there are also administrative hearings, possible loss of license and if you drive for a living or need to drive to make a living, loss of job. As it is on your record, it can even affect your ability to obtain housing.
A DUI charge means you have been accused of having a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or greater. If the blood alcohol level is between .o4 and .o7 percent, this is considered driving while intoxicated or a DWI.
If you are convicted of an impaired driving offense, you face both criminal penalties and license sanctions. They are as follows:
Maryland DUI Lawyer – DUI Penalties in Maryland
For a first offense, you face up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. Twelve (12) points will be assessed on your driving record and your license may be revoked for up to six (6) months.
For a second offense, you face a $2,000 fine and up to two years imprisonment (with a mandatory minimum of five days). Twelve (12) points will be assessed on your license and your license may be revoked for up to one year.
For two convictions within five years, a mandatory period of suspension will be followed by a minimum required period of participation in the Ignition Interlock Program.
You may be required to participate in an alcohol abuse assessment and program.
If you are convicted of Driving while Impaired by Alcohol (DWI):
For a first offense, you face up to a $500 fine and up to two months imprisonment. Eight (8) points will be assessed on your driving record, and you face a 6-month license suspension. If this conviction is the result of a driver under 21, you will face a 1-year suspension.
For a second DWI offense, you face up to a $500 fine and up to one year imprisonment. Eight (8) points will be assessed on your driving record, and you face a license suspension of 9 to 12 months. If this conviction is the result of a driver under 21, you will face a 2-year suspension.
The penalties are substantially higher if you are transporting a minor at the time of the offense or for a third offense.
Generally, the higher alcohol level you are found to have the greater, penalties, administrative action, fines and consequences will be for you.
The cases are normally heard in the District Court of Maryland in the county where the citation was given. There are sometimes more than one District Court in a county, so make sure that you have the correct address.
The District Court of Maryland is different from the Federal District Court of Maryland, of which there are only two: one in Baltimore, MD and one in Greenbelt, MD. You would only have to go there if the charge occurred on Federal property, including National Parks.
The administrative penalties, which include license restrictions and points on your record are assessed and administered by the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). However, the number of points will be based on what you are or are not convicted of, so they are connected.
If you wish to appeal any administrative penalties, these are separate from the criminal case. Penalties can include suspension of license, revocation of license or ignition interlock program. Refusal to submit to the BAC test, when arrested will result in a suspension of your license for one year.
The ignition interlock program means that an electronic device is placed on your vehicle’s ignition system, so your blood alcohol level is tested before you start the car. If your level is above the allowed level, you will not be able to start the car. In addition, the failing test will be reported with further legal consequences that could include jail. You will also have to pay a monthly fee to have this service on your automotive vehicle
While it is not required to have an administrative hearing on any MVA penalties, it is required that you show up to Court for your trial date. Unlike speeding tickets, you must appear in court to face the charges. Failure to do so could result in an order to find you, arrest you and have you put in jail until you can appear before a Judge to explain why you weren’t there.
You do not have to retain an attorney when you do appear in court, but the Judge will certainly ask why you do not have one given the seriousness of the matter. You may request the case be postponed because you are without a lawyer.
The judge is not required to give you a continuance but will most likely do so if it is your first time in court on the charge. However, the judge is far less likely to postpone the case if it is the second or third time you have appeared without a lawyer. Without an attorney, the court may not think you are taking this matter seriously.
On the other side, your case will be prosecuted by an assistant state’s attorney for the county. They will have the case file with them, as well as the arresting officer who may be their only witness. If there was an accident, injuries or death connected with DUI charge, there will be more people involved, more urgency, and possibility of facing increased penalties.
Usually the assistant state’s attorney will wish to speak to you or your representative prior to the trial to determine what you plan to do, whether you wish to plead innocent or guilty and other administrative details prior to trial. After the trial, if you plead or are found guilty by the Court, the state’s attorney may have recommendations for your sentence, but ultimately the Judge makes the final decision.
DUI Jury Trial
Because the criminal penalties could be more than six months in jail, under Maryland law, you could request a jury trial. This generally does not happen, since it is far more complicated and involved to put on a jury trial in the Circuit Court (Maryland District Courts do not have the jurisdiction to have jury trials, so your case would be transferred to the Circuit Court for the County), as well as being far more expensive. The difficulty in representing yourself in the District Court is nothing compared to the complexity of a jury trial.
Why Hire a Baltimore, Maryland DUI Lawyer for Your Charges
Outside of general expertise of a being an officer of the court, there are multiple reasons to hire a lawyer as soon as possible once you are charged.Some of them are as follows:
- You will have an authorized legal representative to determine after your arrest the strength of the evidence against you.
- Once he/she enters an appearance your court case, the lawyer will receive all notices and information that come from the court and can tell you what they mean, as well as how to respond to them.
- Based on the facts in your case, the lawyer can develop a strategy that may work best for you, and tell you how to prepare for court.
- If necessary, your lawyer can review programs and actions that may improve your position with the court prior to having your court appearance.
- You will have someone who can provide you with general expectations as to what will happen next in the legal process.
- Your lawyer can also provide representation and advice with the MVA penalties. And take the necessary steps to protect your driving privileges
- On the trial date, your attorney will be able to deal with the assistant state’s attorney handling your case, determine if there will be offers or plea deals that may benefit you, evaluate evidence and extenuating circumstances, and if so, communicate them back to you, as well as explain what will happen next.
- Your lawyer will be able to proceed in court under the proper rules of procedure and evidence necessary to proceed in court.
- Your lawyer will be able to interpret and explain any rulings made by the court and what if any further steps needs to be done by you to comply with the court’s decision.
Any aggravating factors, such as previous charges or convictions, particularly in the last five years, greatly increase the risk to you of jail time/length of sentence and loss of your license. It also increases the probable necessity of a lawyer to guide you through the process with a resolution most favorable to you.
To summarize, because of the legal and economic impact of a DUI charges, you should consider obtain legal representation as soon as practical after your arrest to deal with all the issues that will arise.
For a more detailed response to any questions on DUIs or any other situations while driving impaired, please contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice for a consultation on your matter. We will be happy to assist you.