College Park DUI Lawyer
For DUI charges in College Park and the rest of Prince George’s County, there is one very important piece in the entire process, and that is driving. A person must be either literally driving or physically in control of the vehicle. This may also mean they are parked on the side of the road but sitting in their vehicle, the vehicle is on, and the person is in the driver’s seat and maintains control of the vehicle. There are very few limited exceptions, but the person must be driving or in control of the vehicle and then under the influence, which would allegedly be from alcohol or drugs. Discuss with an experienced local attorney to better understand the specifics of the charge you are facing and how you should proceed.
Role of BAC in DUI Charges
In College Park there are two typical charges in most DUIs. The first one is a DUI charge which, on the traffic ticket is noted as a TA violation. This stands for Transportation Article Section 21, Sub-Section 902. Afterwards, the ticket would say A1 or A2 which means the person has been charged with driving under the influence. That means they are under the influence of a substance which is of greater power and control over the person. For further clarification on your ticket, speak with an experienced DUI lawyer in College Park.
There may also be the letter B on the ticket, which is for a DWI or driving while impaired. In College Park, a person can be charged with driving while impaired when they have a .06 or .07 BAC. In some rare cases, this can be a .05 BAC. Also, when a person is under the age of twenty-one or they are a commercial driver, they can be charged. There are special exceptions to the rules and federal regulations on what constitutes driving while impaired or driving under the influence when a person is under twenty-one or when they are a commercial driver, operating a commercial vehicle.
Enforcement of DUI in College Park
College Park law enforcement heavily enforce DUI laws. The University of Maryland is located in College Park, so there is a substantially high number of students living the area. In addition, there are numerous bars and clubs as well as lot of sporting events in the area. Law enforcement officers are well aware that there is higher probability that there could be a driver endangering the greater public in that area due to the use of alcohol or drugs. Therefore, the presence of enforcement officers is at a higher percentage in that community.
After a person is pulled over and police officers believe they may be under the influence, they will ask the person to perform a series of tests known as Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.
In Prince George’s County, for a person charged with a DUI, their first appearance will be scheduled at the Hyattsville District Court in courtroom number 4. They have very, very good judges and good state’s attorneys. The fact is, in Prince George’s County and in College Park, the level of enforcement is high and the officers come to court very well prepared because they see a sizeable number of DUIs throughout the year.
To further incentivize people against potentially driving under the influence a subsequent time, a person facing a DUI charge may also see penalties to their license and driving privileges. While it is possible to challenge these suspensions or penalties, it requires a very specific and different process at the MVA.
DUI checkpoints are used sparingly. They were very popular for a while but now the popularity has dropped off. DUI charges in College Park are very specific and must be proven and substantiated in court with specific testimony from law enforcement and documentation regarding the setup of the checkpoint. Not every entity is good about submitting all of those documents in a timely manner.
If there are any DUI checkpoints, they are found on major roads with a lot of activity and a high volume of travel in between bars. A good example could be Route 1; Chesapeake Highway could be another. They are sporadic and not very consistent. Also, they are not always in the same place because then drivers would expect them to be there. But from time to time, law enforcement uses checkpoints in a similar local area. If someone is curious, they can always research where these checkpoints have been in the past because they are published online.
Nuances in Maryland DUI Laws
The laws are very straightforward. Maryland is consistent with enforcement in every county. There is not so much nuance as there is a warning that Maryland spends a lot of money promoting safe driving, wearing seatbelts, and not driving drunk or buzzed. One of the things enforcement officers try to make very clear is that officers will pull a driver over for a traffic offense. There are some facts that are always important to remember in any DUI case that also apply to College Park.
When People Are More Likely to be Charged
Most DUI charges are written by officers on the midnight shift but DUIs can happen anytime. For midnight officers, DUIs are of a higher percentage because that is when people are returning from a night out. These officers are out looking for vehicles that demonstrate erratic driving along with other traffic violations that gain their attention. A simple transportation violation such as speeding will gain an officer’s attention. The later in the day it is, the more likely that an officer may suspect a driver is under the influence. Some of the indicators come from the first opportunity an officer has contact with a driver. That would be simply when the driver opens the window of their vehicle when the officer approaches and an odor comes out of the vehicle. Officers have been trained to note that immediate odor of alcohol which is a red flag. Regardless of when someone is charged with a DUI, they can expect that local prosecutors will try the case vigorously.
This phenomenon of DUI assumption can lead to unjust treatment. More often clients and potential clients say that the officer’s first question was, “Where were you drinking this evening or have you been drinking this evening?” It is almost a presumption that when a person is pulled over after 10 pm, they were out drinking. If someone is pulled over after 1 am they absolutely were drinking. That is not always correct. Some people work late in overnight shifts. There is nothing wrong with a person being in their vehicle at that hour. It is not against the law.