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Seth Okin on DUI Drug Cases

Criminal Lawyer Seth Okin Talks DUI Drug Cases

The following blog is excerpted from a transcription of an interview with attorney Seth Okin in which he discusses DUI offenses in Maryland.

Are DUI drug cases handled in the same manner as DUI alcohol cases?

Seth Okin: When it comes to DUI drug cases, they need to do a blood test. Drugs won’t show up on a breathalyzer. You can certainly submit to one if you’d like, otherwise they’re going to have to prove that you were under the influence of a drug. If you say that you weren’t on drugs and refuse to give a blood test, they can get a warrant for it and they can hold you. They will hold out for that blood test. I’ve done a couple of cases where the blood tests have come back for marijuana or something else and sometimes you need an expert to actually prove how much there was and how it was broken down. The body breaks down drugs very uniquely per person. Some people break down alcohol faster than others, but the blood test itself will show just how much was in your system at that time. Some drug cases are caused by allergy medicine that someone takes. Some people are more sensitive to those types of drugs, but the question is how much was inside someone’s system. When they do the blood test, if there is as much as a 25 percent variable, then in my opinion they are not very reliable. There are so many things that can go wrong.

What are the penalties associated with DUI drug offenses?

Seth Okin: The penalties are generally the same as for DUI alcohol. If you get a certain amount of convictions in a certain amount of time, then they will ask for enhanced penalties.

What programs are available for first-time offenders?

Seth Okin: Most DUI cases do not have diversion programs. You have to go to drug and alcohol counseling. If there is a situation where you try to plea or challenge a DUI and you fail and the individual is found guilty, then you really need an assessment. I try to get every single one of my clients to get a drug and alcohol assessment immediately so that they already have it. If they decide to start a program immediately or wait, it’s up to them, I can’t force them. However, I would highly suggest it. I would tell a client that it’s a good idea, but ultimately the decision comes down to what is required. If they do not want to take the classes, that’s fine. If they are found to be responsible in some way, shape, or form, even if they get probation before judgment, the judge will want them to get that assessment. There are individuals who don’t want to go to larger facilities; they may prefer a one-on-one program, so there are drug and alcohol counselors that they can go to as long as they are certified by the state of Maryland. There are a couple of wonderful individuals out there who do one-on-one programs and they are just as reliable.

Seth Okin is an aggressive criminal defense attorney who represents clients charged in Maryland. Call his Maryland law office to schedule a free consultation at (410) 782-0742.