Maryland DUI/DWI Lawyer
Being arrested for DUI in Maryland is one example of how the consequences of a simple mistake can linger for years or even haunt you for a lifetime. However, with quality DUI defense from a highly skilled lawyer, you can minimize the impact of a DUI conviction or even have the charge dismissed completely.
If you are arrested and charged with a drunk driving charge, the first step in building your defense should be to contact a Maryland DUI lawyer with the experience and resources to proficiently handle your case. Your lawyer will examine your case from all angles to find the best option for presenting your case in court. Whether disputing blood alcohol test analysis, challenging illegal police procedures, negotiating a reduced charge, or suggesting sentencing options such as probation and treatment, one of the attorneys with our firm will diligently represent your case to provide the best possible outcome.
If you are arrested for DUI, it is imperative that you act quickly to protect your rights and privileges. If you refused a breathalyzer or blew above a .08, your driving privileges will be automatically suspended on the forty-sixth day after your arrest. You only have ten (10) days to request a hearing with the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to attempt to alter that suspension. Failure to request a hearing within this limited time frame may result in the loss of your driving privileges for a significant amount of time. We can assist in submitting the request to the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings and can represent you at your hearing.
Drunk driving is punished harshly by the state, even as a first offense. A first offense in
- Up to one year in jail
- Fine of up to $1,000
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Possible imposition of 12 points on your driving record
Your DUI defense begins with your own actions. If you are pulled over and police suspect you may have been drinking, you will likely be asked to perform field sobriety tests or complete a roadside breath test. Most people do not understand that these tests are voluntary. You do not have to submit to field sobriety testing, but your refusal to take a test will most likely result in your arrest. While this seems like a harsh option to choose, remember that the field sobriety tests are designed to give the police and the State evidence that you are in fact impaired. If you refuse to participate in the tests, you reduce the amount of evidence they have to use against you at trial.
Fortunately, a skilled lawyer may be able to get your charges dismissed, or in the alternative, negotiate Probation before Judgment (PBJ) for DWI. Probation Before Judgement strikes the finding of guilt and will prevent the points from being assessed to the defendant’s driver’s license. This will not only protect your driving privileges, but also your insurance rates.
Maryland DWI Lawyer
When it comes to charges of drinking and driving, most people think of DUI, or driving under the influence. In the state of Maryland, however, there are additional alcohol-related charges one may face if he or she chooses to drive after drinking. In fact, one can be charged with DWI, or driving while impaired, even if his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) falls below .08, the legal limit for intoxication in drunk driving cases. Though DWI is considered a less serious offense than drunk driving, consequences are still severe.
Prosecutors will not take your DWI charge lightly, and neither should you. If you are arrested and suspected of driving while impaired, call a qualified DWI lawyer as soon as possible. Your Maryland DWI attorney can advise you about your rights and options and help you avoid making costly mistakes that could jeopardize your case.
Maryland DWI Penalties
DWI is punished harshly, even as a first offense. Though penalties are less severe than those associated with a DUI conviction, they nevertheless have a significant impact. First offense DWI can result in:
- Up to 2 months in jail
- Fine of up to $500
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Possible imposition of 8 points on your driving record
If you are transporting a minor at the time of your DWI arrest, you jail time could increase to 6 months and your fine doubled to $1000. Fortunately, a skilled Maryland DWI attorney may be able to negotiate Probation before Judgment (PBJ) for DWI. Probation Before Judgement strikes the finding of guilt and will prevent the points from being assessed to the defendant’s driver’s license. This will not only protect your driving privileges, but also your insurance rates.
DWI Defense in Maryland
Your DWI defense begins with your own actions. If you are pulled over and police suspect you may have been drinking, you will likely be asked to perform field sobriety tests or complete a roadside breath test. Most people do not understand that these tests are voluntary. You do not have to submit to field sobriety testing, but your refusal to take a test will most likely result in your arrest. While this seems like a harsh option to choose, remember that the field sobriety tests are designed to give the police and the State evidence that you are in fact impaired. If you refuse to participate in the tests, you reduce the amount of evidence they have to use against you at trial.
After a DWI arrest, if you refused the field sobriety tests or you blew above a .08, your driving privileges will be automatically suspended on the forty-sixth day after your arrest. You have ten days to request a hearing at the MVA to attempt to have your driving privileges reinstated. For this reason, it is critical that you contact a Maryland DWI lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights, restore your privileges, and defend you against your DWI charge.
Second DUI Offense in Maryland
Your initial arrest for a drunk driving charge can be a terrifying experience, and the second is no less traumatic. Penalties can increase, and you’re unlikely to escape conviction (even if you did so the first time). If you are concerned about at a second Maryland DUI conviction, choose a legal representative who understands the system and knows your options for defense.
Many individuals are not aware, but they can remain silent when a police officer pulls them over and asks questions. If an officer demands to know how many drinks you had, the officer is trying to start a case against you. The investigation begins the moment that law enforcement sees you driving. Each action that you take after that can be used against you.
A Maryland DUI attorney will make sure that your rights are protected at every step of the criminal justice process. For instance, he or she can question the legality of your pull-over, and examine the circumstances of the arrest and field sobriety tests.
If you face a second DUI conviction in Maryland, you may be looking at penalties such as:
- Up to two years in prison
- Up to $2,000 in fines
- The revocation of your driver’s license
In addition to the legal consequences, a second offense DUI conviction in Maryland can complicate your personal life and career. You might miss work due to a jail sentence, or be unable to drive to your job because your license was revoked.
A skilled attorney understands the issues that you face, and knows you need an advocate in the legal system. Since repeat DUI offenders can feel isolated when they are arrested for the crime, help from their defense attorney also needs to be supportive and meaningful.
Call Seth Okin today to go over the details of your case, and learn how this qualified attorney and his staff may be able to help you.
Third DUI Offense in Maryland
Have you acquired more than one Maryland DUI conviction on your criminal record? If so, your situation becomes more severe if you are charged with another offense. Facing a third charge can be anxiety-provoking, since the penalties from a conviction are stricter. The possibility of such penalties can cause you a great deal of stress.
A third offense of DUI in Maryland is taken seriously by police officers and judges. Because they wish to keep the roads safe, protecting the public from deadly accidents, prosecutors in these cases penalize repeat offenders vigorously. You need an experienced attorney for your day, or days, in court. Having legal representation may minimize the charges’ impact, and increase your odds of being treated justly by prosecutors.
If you faced penalties for your first two convictions, they were probably substantial. But there are even more serious consequences if a third conviction goes on your record. The maximum penalties for a third DUI conviction include:
- Up to three years in jail
- Up to $3,000 in fines
- The suspension of your driver’s license by the DMV
And it’s not only legal consequences that you may have to endure. Increased insurance premiums and loss of employment can also result from a Maryland third offense DUI charge or conviction. You may even see more stress on your personal relationships because of these legal issues.
Many individuals drive every day after having a few drinks. They seldom believe they will be the ones that get caught and go to prison. Unfortunately, this happens every day in our state. But unlike those charged with only one DUI offense, first time “forgiveness” is not an option if you’re repeatedly arrested for intoxicated driving. Such limited options make it imperative to have legal advocacy when you are looking at a third charge or conviction. Make sure the attorney you choose has an intimate understanding of criminal defense law.
A local and skilled Maryland DUI lawyer like Seth Okin can help you understand the case against you. He or she is also likely to get better case results than an accused person who lacks legal representation. Do not take the chance of being without an attorney under such important circumstances. Contact Seth Okin and ask how he can help you build the strongest defense possible for your case.
Maryland Ignition Interlock Device
The use of Ignition Interlock Devices is becoming more widespread in DUI/DWI convictions, as well as throughout the United States. These devices work in a way that is similar to breathalyzers. The devices are installed in vehicles whose owners are found by the MVA to have violated the Transportation Article. To start a vehicle with this device installed, the driver must breathe into it. Any alcohol detected on the driver’s breath ensures that the vehicle will not start.
Maryland Ignition Interlock Devices also ask for random tests while the vehicle is being driven. This prevents a sober person from “tricking” the device, and starting the vehicle. Such action could potentially let an intoxicated person operate the car. If the driver doesn’t provide a sample of their breath, the vehicle doesn’t shut down; that might create a hazardous road situation. Instead, it records the refusal and sounds an alarm until the vehicle is turned off.
You might be ordered to comply with an Ignition Interlock program in Maryland in order to keep your driving privileges. If so, you must pay for all costs associated with the system while it is installed in your vehicle. If you participate in the program, you must report to a service provider every month for calibration of the device. Each time that you do so, the device’s data logger is read. Information regarding the date, time, and alcohol level of each transaction is recorded. If you’re suspected of attempting to disable the device, this fact is reported to the MVA after each hearing. Random retest compliance data is also reported.
In order to prevent a “low start violation,” drivers with an Ignition Interlock device in Maryland have to start their vehicles 50 times in 30 days. If you will be starting your vehicle less than 50 times per month (because you are ill, or carpooling, for instance), the MVA requires you to notify them. You must do so in writing, stating that you will not be operating the vehicle. You must provide this notification prior to the instances, and give a valid and reasonable explanation.
If you violate the terms of the Ignition Interlock Device program in Maryland, there are consequences. For instance, the installation period is increased by one month after each violation is recorded. Four violations gets a driver excluded from the program – and their license suspended or revoked.
If you’re considering participating in an Ignition Interlock Device program, or already participate, get an attorney to help you understand its benefits and restrictions. This is the most appropriate way to comply with its requirements. Once you successfully complete the program, the device is removed, and you can drive independently on the road once again.
DUI Security Clearance Violations
Maryland DUI charges can have a profound and lasting effect on your life. A conviction can be even worse, burdening you for years to come in both personal and professional arenas. Even though your legal issues may be resolved, when you start to look for a job, your past can make things difficult for you.
Having the past affect your present is especially true in professions that ask for security clearance. In fact, certain employers including those offering government jobs may discard you from the pool of applicants because of a charge or conviction. But retaining an experienced lawyer may help avoid this issue, and help you reach your career goals unimpeded by a blemish on your record.
You may wonder what steps you can take to prevent issues surrounding charges and security clearance. The truth is, you need to talk to a local attorney about those steps. Each case is different, so you won’t know what to do until you receive legal advice. Make sure that the attorney you choose knows this area of the law well, in order to make your road to success as smooth as it can be.
Unfortunately, even with a lawyer at your side, driving under the influence issues can affect more than your potential security clearance; they can mean the revocation of any current clearances that you have as well. It depends upon your employers, but it’s possible for a drunk driving charge or conviction to mean a demotion. It can even mean job loss. If you’re facing situations like these, getting someone to work with the prosecutor may spare you a conviction, and help you avoid professional consequences.
Numerous variables come into play when a drunk driving case and security clearance are involved. Often, an employer’s policies are the most telling, and such policies can vary from government agency to government agency. They can also vary from employer to employer, and even from position to position within the same department. When it comes to Maryland DUI charges, it helps to have a legal advocate to handle the case. This can help you make sense of the variables involved.
Seth Okin and his staff have handled security clearance and driving under the influence cases before. They understand what you face, and what your options are. Call their office today to talk about those options, and have knowledgeable representatives answer your questions in a free initial consultation.
Maryland MVA Hearing
In Maryland, the circumstances of a DUI/DWI charge can instantly affect the status of your driver’s license. When you were being arrested, if you refused or failed a breathalyzer test, the result is an automatic suspension of your driver’s license on the 46th day after you were pulled over. The police will confiscate your license and issue a temporary one that is good for 45 days.
Afterwards, you must request a MVA hearing within ten days of your arrest. You’ll find it is one of the many administrative tasks ahead of you after a DUI/DWI arrest. After your hearing request is received, you receive an extension of your driving privileges. You are issued a temporary license and extension letter, and must have them with you while driving.
If you are charged with a Maryland DUI/DWI, but fail to request an MVA hearing within ten days, your driving privileges are suspended. If you request a hearing after more than ten days, but in less than thirty days, this may result in a license suspension, pending your MVA hearing.
Getting arrested for a DUI/DWI charge is challenging and stressful. In addition, having your license suspended is only one way such charges impact your life. Being unable to drive can also impact work, family, or lifestyle obligations. Even in the absence of a conviction for a DUI/DWI charge, you still may face consequences with the MVA.
During a MVA hearing, your attorneys can fight to prevent any suspension from being imposed. They can also question things such as whether you were adequately advised about MVA sanctions. This advisement is something that law enforcement is required to do when you take or refuse a breathalyzer test. Your legal representative can also challenge incorrectly administered tests.
Since things like MVA advisement and breathalyzer tests can affect the ultimate status of your license, having a skilled Maryland attorney to discuss them with prosecutors is very important. Your lawyer can also attempt to retain your driving privileges for work / school purposes during the period of your suspension. He or she can also ask for retention of your driving privileges by offering to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in your vehicle.
Finally, a Maryland DUI attorney can help you navigate the administrative quagmire that often comes with a DUI / DWI arrest. He or she can also examine your case from every angle, and make sure that your rights are being vigorously protected. Don’t put your license at risk. Contact attorney Seth Okin today.
Please call for a FREE consultation (410) 782-0742