First Offense DUI in College Park
While DUI charges are always serious, local College Park law enforcement officials are especially vigilant due to the high population of college students in the area. The most important thing about a first-offense DUI charge in College Park is really the facts of the event. The first thing that has to happen is the officer has to see you driving, which has more than just one simple definition, for example, responding to an accident scene and being able to identify the driver. There has to be some reason for the officer to ask you to stop or make contact with you and the stop or contact has to be a legitimate, something that would be viewed as violating the laws of the Maryland Transportation Articles in some fashion.
During a DUI Traffic Stop
For a first-time DUI charge in College Park, just like anywhere, you are looking at a couple of things from the stop. One, did the officer literally stop your vehicle or was he called to the scene of the accident? That is where an officer will begin the investigation, so there has to be reason for the officer to make contact with you. Whatever that reason is, it has to be a legal, viable reason for the officer to approach the car and ask for your license and registration or for an explanation of what happened. There has to be a good, straight reason for the officer to have contact with you.
If an officer can make a good stop or contact, then he/she has reason to come to the vehicle and make contact with you, and that is when he would ask for your license and registration. That initial contact is extremely important, because if the officer has no business making that initial contact with you it is probably not a good stop.
Assessing College Park Police Questioning
If a College Park police officer sees you speeding or violating any traffic offense, they may have the right to stop your car. It is at that stop that they will walk up and ask for license and registration and then more often than not they will ask you, “Have you been drinking this evening? I smell alcohol. How many drinks did you have this evening?” Something is going to trigger his need to ask you further questions about whether you have been doing anything that could potentially be DUI related.
Nine out of 10 times you are going to be asked these questions when you are stopped at night, well after office hours. Usually it is where people have gone to happy hour and been out partying. It is fair to say that the officers believe that is what you have been doing. Avoid answering police questions — leave all the talking to a College Park DUI attorney.
If all this occurs and you acknowledge you have been drinking, they can ask you to step out of the vehicle. If they suspect that you have been drinking and there is an overwhelming or moderate odor of alcohol, they can still ask you to step out of the vehicle. This is when the whole process of the Standard Field Sobriety Tests for a DUI stop will begin. You will be asked to do several standard field sobriety tests and you may even be even taken to the police station to submit to a breath test.
Hiring a College Park DUI Attorney
It is important to understand that local prosecutors take these charges very seriously. College Park hosts the University of Maryland, which has a very large student population that resides on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods. Be very careful when fighting these charges because they are not just a slap on the wrist — they have the potential to leave lasting impact on someone’s criminal record.
When you get in touch with an experienced local attorney, they will take the time to explain your charges to you. During your free initial consultation, the attorney will review your case and discuss your case with you. From there, the attorney and client will discuss creating a strong defense to help mitigate repercussions following a DUI charge.