Anne Arundel County First Offense DUI Lawyer
If you are charged with your first DUI in Anne Arundel County there are two District Courts, one in Glen Burnie and one in Annapolis where your case may be heard depending on where you were stopped. For this and many other reasons, it is important that you reach out to an Anne Arundel DUI lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you take the necessary steps to mitigate the damage of your charge. To discuss how a first offense DUI lawyer in Anne Arundel County can help you, call and schedule a consultation today.
How First Offense Cases Are Treated
In Anne Arundel County, all DUI cases including first offenses are prosecuted very vigorously. The head of the Office of the State’s Attorney has even released a number of press releases over the past few months saying that they will be prosecuting these cases to the fullest extent of the law.
Beyond the prosecution, you will find that the judges in Anne Arundel County are very fair in sentencing but also take these charges very seriously. Just like anywhere else you have some judges who are tougher than others, but in general the judges will be fair. With that said, they do ask for some substantive work to be done by you and your Anne Arundel County first offense DUI lawyer, whether you enter a plea or you take your matter to sentencing at a trial. Judges often want to see proactive work being done by the defendant to show them that you are someone who can be depended on not to be convicted or come back for a subsequent offense.
For a first-time DUI the maximum penalty is one year in jail and a $1000 fine. For a DWI it is 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
While there are no diversion programs, a simple first-time offender, with no extenuating circumstances is likely to find that that State would not oppose what is termed as Probation Before Judgment. This is a probationary period during which time you are not convicted but you certainly do have to comply with the conditions of probation.
How Can a Client Take Advantage of These Programs?
With regards to the probation period the important thing is to get together with your first offense attorney in Anne Arundel as quickly as possible and address the conditions which will be part of a probation. Those are an alcohol assessment and completion of an alcohol program. In some counties like Anne Arundel County they want to see that the program is completed either before or during, but certainly not after, the probationary period is over.
You are given a definitive timeline of months, usually 6 to 18 months, on a first-time offense, during which time you have the stipulation from the judge that you complete that program and other conditions of your probation. As long as you complete them and comply with the probation conditions you are given, the benefit of the Probation Before Judgment is that you will not have a conviction on your record.
Drivers License Penalties
If you are a Maryland-licensed driver and you are stopped for an alleged DUI, your license will be confiscated and you will be issued a temporary paper license which is good for 45 days. It will be suspended on the 46th day unless you request a Motor Vehicle Administrative hearing or you choose to enter the Ignition Interlock program. If after a DUI hearing you are convicted, you then will have to go for a second Motor Vehicle Administrative hearing based on the points violation or an alcohol conviction.
Challenging a License Suspension
You can request that in your Motor Vehicle Administrative Hearing and you can absolutely argue that your license should not be suspended.
Building a Defense
In order to build a defense for first offense DUIs an attorney will look at all the facts of your interaction with police, including:
- Why you were stopped
- What observation of behavior an officer made
- How the field sobriety tests took place
- Whether you were taken into custody
- And how you performed on any blood tests
Following the gathering of all this information, an attorney will cross-examine the state’s witnesses which will typically be the officer or the chemist. The defense must show either that the admissibility is inconsistent with some law or does not meet the element necessary for the conviction, or that the introduction of the evidence should not be considered due to an officer or the chemist not complying with the standard conditions which they must strictly follow. If that can be shown, then the evidence may be suppressed.
You should be looking at every detail of the case from the stop to the issuance of the citation. In so doing, you may be calling into question the reliability of those individuals who are testifying for the state.