Howard County DUI Sentencing
Even if you have already been convicted of driving under the influence there is still room for a Howard County DUI lawyer to make a difference at sentencing. The following is information on sentencing, how it is handled in Howard County, and what factors are taken into account. To learn more call and schedule a consultation with a DUI attorney today.
How Sentencing is Handled in DUI Cases
Sentencing is very tough in DUI cases in Howard County. For a first-time offender you should be eligible for Probation Before Judgment, but you have to bring something to the table to get it. Under the advice of an attorney or your own inclination, you can go to any assessment facility that is considered a respected and relieable assessment facility by the State of Maryland and Howard County, get an assessment for classes and attend AA or NA meetings to use as leverage for better sentencing, if possible.
An attorney will have a list of those assessment facilities and the ones that are specifically for Howard County. Some of the issues a judge would consider and look at with these assessments is whether you submitted to the questions honestly, were you given a reliable number, and whether you completed the recommended class hours for your category. Other questions include whether you completed that program or are still in the process of doing that program and whether you have you gone to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
Several of the Howard County judges will also ask that you write an essay to them or to your child, if you have children, on the dangers of a DUI. They may ask for you to complete community service. In some instances they may even order you to do one weekend in the local county jail, even if you get Probation Before Judgment. If it is a subsequent offense you may be looking at a weekend. It can even be longer. Depending on the facts of the case and the time between the DUIs, the penalties will be more severe.
Factors Considered in Sentencing
All sentencing is done by a judge in Maryland. The judge will consider factors such as what you have done to improve yourself, and in doing so can you whether you can be trusted not to endanger the greater public or yourself or the properties of Howard County.
An alcohol assessment, class education, AA or NA meetings, community service work and your total records all factor in. Judges want to see what you have done for yourself, what you are going to do, whether this was an honest mistake or a pattern, and many other things in order to determine your probability of breaking DUI laws again. In this regard an experienced Howard DUI lawyer is important as there is a lot which goes into the presentation of mitigation for these matters should you be facing a sentencing.
Appealing a DUI Case
You can appeal a DUI conviction in Howard County from the District Court to the Circuit Court if convicted or found guilty of your offense. However, if you are given an opportunity for Probation Before Judgment, you actually waive your right to appeal in order to accept this disposition. That is because Probation Before Judgment is not a conviction, because before judgment is entered you are put on a period of probation and as long as you comply with it there is no conviction on the charge. However, if you are found guilty you can certainly apply for an appeal to the Howard County Circuit Court and on your application to the Circuit Court you then have another opportunity for a bench trial or for a jury trial.
What Does it Mean to Appeal in Howard County?
It means that you will go to another courthouse for a de novo appeal, which means that the state’s case must be made all over again from the beginning and can be done in front of a judge or jury.