No one plans on being arrested for DUI in Harford County, Maryland. But if the unthinkable happens, make sure you hire an experienced Harford County DUI lawyer to protect your freedom and driver’s license. Since the enactment of Noah’s Law, also known as the Drunk Driver Reduction Act of 2016, the State of Maryland is cracking down on drunk driving. Harford County law enforcement is no exception.
The Harford County Sheriff’s Department along with the Maryland State police arrested less people from 2013 to 2015. This effort by the police and continued education has led to fewer DUI and DWI cases charged in Harford County. The statistics for Harford County Maryland DUI/DWI cases are as follows:
The education along with stiffer penalties for DUI in Harford County have certainly led to more arrests for drunk driving since 2013. The 2016 numbers have yet to be released, but of the trend continues, there should be less drunk driving arrests in Harford County.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we are constantly keeping up with the new laws and regulations as it pertains to drunk driving. Some related information for Harford County DUI cases can be found at:
Whether you’re charged with DUI, also known as “driving under the influence” or DWI, “driving while impaired,” the consequences can be dire. A DUI arrest and conviction in the Harford County District Court or Circuit Court can be devastating to a person’s freedom, license and potential job opportunities. It is advised that individuals charged with drunk driving should contact an experienced DUI/DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible after the arrest. In some cases, if the driver does not take action within 10 days, they could be precluded from operating a motor vehicle in Maryland.
DUI, or driving under the influence, is comprised of two elements. The State must prove the driver was 1) operating or attempting to operate a motor vehicle and 2) that the driver was either under the influence of alcohol or impaired by alcohol, drugs, drugs and alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). CDS does not always have to be an illegal drug. In some cases, the CDS can be a legally prescribed medication. Even if the driver was prescribed the medication by a doctor, that is not a defense to the crime of drunk driving in Maryland.
The DUI and DWI penalties in Harford County are the same throughout Maryland. There are two separate agencies that can punish a person for drunk driving. The Motor Vehicle Administration can impose sanctions against the driver’s privilege to drive in Maryland. The Court can impose a penalty of jail, fines, probation, and various conditions that must be completed within a prescribed time frame.
Below is a Maryland DUI penalties chart. The first column lists the various DUI crimes in Maryland. The second, third and fourth columns lay out the penalties for a DUI conviction. The fifth column assigns the points that can be assessed if an individual is found guilty and the sixth column includes any mandatory penalties for subsequent DUI convictions in Maryland.
DWI or driving while impaired in Harford County is a lesser included offense under the Maryland DUI laws. In Maryland, the legal limit is 0.08. However, if a driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) lower than 0.08, they can still be charged and convicted of DWI.
In most circumstances, a first time DUI conviction will result in a probation before judgment (PBJ). This will only occur if the defendant has completed a number of tasks before they appear in Court. In addition, if the defendant is represented by a DUI lawyer, the defendant will have a higher probability of receiving a probation before judgment for the 1st time drunk driving charge. Anyone charged with DUI or DWI in Harford County should retain a lawyer to defend their case. Not all 1st offense DUI cases result in a PBJ. Aggravating factors such as the driving behavior of the defendant, was there an accident or property damage and the behavior of the driver with the officer can all adversely affect the outcome in a DUI case.
If you are arrested in Harford County and are required to submit to a breath or blood test at the police station, the police officer will take or confiscate the driver’s license. The driver will be given a temporary license in the form of a piece of white paper. That paper has two copies. On the back of those documents, also known as DR-15a, the driver will have options to Request a MVA Hearing or participate in the Ignition Interlock Program.
If your license is taken by the police officer after a DUI arrest, you should consult with a Harford County DUI lawyer to determine the best course of action in your case. If you request a MVA hearing, there are limited grounds to challenge the administrative penalties that will be imposed by the MVA. In addition, if you elect an Ignition Interlock, the program runs for 1 year. During that year, the driver is required to obey all of the rules imposed by the Ignition Interlock Program.
Harford County has One (1) District Court location and One (1) Circuit Court location. The Courthouses are located in Bel Air, Maryland. Bel Air is the county seat for Harford County. 99% of DUI cases originate in the District Court. If a driver elects to pray a jury trial, then the case will be transferred to the Circuit Court for Harford County.
The Harford County District Court is located at 2 South Bond Street, Bel Air, Maryland 21014. The courthouse is open from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The courthouse is closed on Maryland legal holidays. The DUI and DWI dockets are typically held in the morning session, starting at 8:30 a.m. The courthouse does not offer a parking lot, however, there is ample parking on the street around the courthouse and there is a parking garage 2 blocks away (see map below for parking garage). The parking around the courthouse is meter parking, make sure you bring quarters. You will typically meet your Harford County DUI lawyer in the courthouse on the date of your trial.
The Harford County Circuit Court is located at 20 West Courtland Street, Bel Air, Maryland 21014. The Harford County Circuit Court is open from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The courthouse is closed on legal holidays in Maryland. The courthouse is comprised or 3 floors with courtrooms in the basement of the building. In addition to hearing DUI cases that have been prayed up, the Court will also hear felony cases and other civil matters. There is metered street parking around the courthouse and a parking garage 1 block away located at 6 S. Hickory Avenue, Bel Air, Maryland 21014 (see map below for parking).
A DUI or DWI charge is serious and can have lingering effects on your life. Most people don’t realize how dangerous a DUI or DWI conviction can be to their future. Employers may not hire an individual who has been convicted. Drivers may lose their license for longer than expected if the proper actions isn’t take. Harford County Judges are known to be tough on DUI and DWI case, often times incarcerating defendants who appear in Court. Don’t take chances with your freedom and license. Contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today to discuss your case and how the Harford County DUI lawyer Randolph Rice can help.