Prosecution of First Time DUI in College Park

Prosecutors in College Park take first-time DUI charges very seriously. Especially if the individual who is charged was stopped on the College Park Campus or near it, and they are a student there. The prosecution may believe the individual is under the age of 21 and they will then prosecute the case very sternly. Typically if someone has been cited for a DUI in College Park, Maryland, their first hearing will be in the District Court for Prince George’s County located at 4990 Rhode Island Avenue. If you are facing a first-time DUI charge in College Park, you should consult with a College Park first-time DUI lawyer, who can help you prepare a defense, contest the charges, and possibly limit the penalties.

Impact of a First Offense DUI

If it is a driver’s first offense for a DUI the prosecution will certainly take it into consideration, but it does not mean that the driver will get any leniency from the State’s Attorneys, especially for DUI. DUIs are probably one of the most visible crimes in the state of Maryland. Across the state, but especially in Prince George’s County, the State’s Attorneys have put a focus on curbing drinking and driving. It is an avoidable offense since a person can simply make the choice not to drink or not to drive, and not put both themselves and the greater public in danger.

College Park is a very high-volume area with lots of students and other people walking on the side of the roads or driving, so drinking and driving can put a lot of people in danger. The State’s Attorneys’ office is well aware of that. If someone is unfortunate enough to be caught, they can expect to encounter a focus area that is getting a lot of attention by the state, so leniency is not likely.

Penalties for First-Time DUI

For Driving Under the Influence in the state of Maryland, the first-time penalty is a maximum of one year in jail and a $1000 fine. The maximum penalty is not necessarily what someone will get, it is what they could face. When someone is charged with what is called DWI in Maryland, that is Driving While Impaired, it carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine on a first offense. That penalty is barring any aggravating factors such as a refusal to take the breath test or an accident. Those aggravating factors can actually allow the State’s Attorney’s office to enhance the penalty, which they will do by filing the required motion with the court.

Diversion Programs or Probation for First-Time Offenses

There are no diversion programs for DUIs, however, first-time offenders may be eligible for Probation Before Judgment. Probation Before Judgment is most commonly referred to as “PBJ” and involves a probationary period during which time, if the individual can simply abide by the conditions of probation as given by the judge and complete the probationary period, the PBJ stays in place and they can avoid a conviction on their record. A lawyer may be able to help a first-time offender get a PBJ.

Probation Before Judgment is not a conviction. Neither the court nor the MVA records it as a conviction. No points are put on the driver’s license. Their insurance company will not receive information that the individual was charged with a DUI. It basically gives the driver an opportunity to comply with the probation conditions, and by doing so, trade off a possible conviction for probation. If they successfully complete the PBJ, then they will not have a conviction and it will not affect them in the future.