Do You Have to Attend Court for a DUI in Maryland?

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DUI, or driving under the influence, is one of the many types of drunk driving charges a person can face if they’re caught behind the wheel with alcohol in their system. In Maryland, if you’re charged with DUI or DWI, then it’s more likely than not that you are going to have to appear in court.

In Maryland, there are two types of traffic tickets under the Maryland Transportation code. The two types of tickets are

  1. Payable tickets
  2. Must appear tickets

Since drunk driving charges are classified as a must appear, then you are required to appear in court for your DUI charge. A payable ticket is one that you can pay before Court and without appearing. You can request a trial for a payable ticket, if you do that, then you would have to appear for Court.

It is not unusual for a police officer to issue payable and must appear DUI charges under the same arrest. You do not need to request a trial date for the payable ticket(s) if there is a must appear ticket.

DWI and Appearing in Court

This must appear rule also applies for DWI charges in Maryland. If you’re charged with DWI, or driving while impaired, then you are required to appear in Court for your trial date.

After a driver is charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland, the police officer will forward the documentation to the clerk of court. All DUI and DWI cases originate in the Maryland District Courts for the venue where the driver was stopped.

Therefore, if you were stopped by a Baltimore County Police officer then your case will originate in the Baltimore County District Court. Once the police officer forwards the paperwork to the clerk of court, the clerk will assign a case number and schedule a trial date.

When Is My Trial Date Scheduled?

A trial date is typically scheduled 45 to 90 days after the arrest for drunk driving. It is suggested that you speak with a drunk driving defense lawyer as soon after your arrest to begin the process of defending your rights. As there are administrative penalties that may be assessed for the DUI suspicion.

There is also an option to request an Motor Vehicle Administration hearing. If you are not eligible for a hearing or recommended by a lawyer that you do not request a hearing, then you will not have to appear for an MVA hearing.

MVA Hearing Appearance

However, if you would like to take the breath test at the police station and your results were .08 to .14, then you may want to request a motor vehicle administration hearing to seek a restricted license. Since a DUI or DWI charge is a must appear then your first scheduled trial date will be in one of the Maryland District Courts.

This is the trial date where you must make a decision to plead guilty or not guilty. If you choose to plead guilty, then you will be sentenced by the District Court Judge. If you choose to plead not guilty you may elect to have a trial before the District Court judge or you can choose to have a jury trial in the Circuit Court where you were charged.

If you elect a jury trial, it will be scheduled soon thereafter your District Court trial date. You must also appear in the Circuit Court if you would like to jury trial and at that point you have the option of pleading guilty or electing a jury by trial through a not guilty plea.

Maryland DUI lawyers

If you have questions about appearing for your DUI or DWI charge, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras today to discuss your options. You can schedule a free consultation with attorney Randolph rRice and he can explain the steps after a DUI or DWI charge and your best options.


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