Howard County DUI Drug Lawyer
While most people associate driving under the influence charges with alcohol, drivers can also face DUI charges when impaired by drugs or controlled substances. If you have been charged with a drug-related DUI, a Howard County DUI drug lawyer can help.
Because drug-related DUIs can deal with legal or prescription drugs in addition to illegal substances, the standards for whether a person is actually impaired by a drug are not always clear and depend largely on the discretion and subjective judgment of the arresting officer. If you believe you have been unfairly charged with a drug-related DUI, it is important to begin working with a Howard County DUI drug attorney as soon as possible. Call and schedule a consultation with a DUI attorney in Howard County today.
Advantages of Hiring a Howard County DUI Drug Lawyer
There are numerous advantages to hiring a Howard County DUI drug attorney to be your advocate in combating wrongful DUI accusations. First, your Howard County DUI drug lawyer can examine the strength and veracity of the evidence against you. Unlike alcohol impairment, which can quickly be assessed with a portable breathalyzer, objectively ascertaining drug impairment or influence is much more difficult.
A driver may be required to give a blood sample in the hospital, sometimes long after having been pulled over initially. While alcohol’s effect typically dissipates over time, many medications have longer half-lives and do not “peak” until hours after taking the drug. In addition, your DUI drug lawyer in Howard County can look into whether your blood sample was handled properly or whether it may have been contaminated.
Your Howard County DUI drug lawyer also will have existing relationships or familiarity with judges, court personnel, prosecutors and possibly police involved in your case. This gives your attorney more insight into how judges may react to certain trial motions, or how prosecutors may have strategized in cases similar to yours. This knowledge can be beneficial when pursuing plea deal negotiations or asking for limited or modified driving privileges, for instance, and can be useful in helping a person prepare for what to expect in court.
The state has the burden of proof to show that a drug was found in a person’s system, or that there was an excess amount that put a person under the influence or made them impaired. They may make the argument that the impairment was beyond the state where a person can drive a vehicle safely.
The evidence, in this case, would involve the arresting officer’s observations, along with any testimony. There also has to be generally something from a drug recognition expert or a blood kit that shows that the individual was under the influence of a drug that impaired them so far that they could not safely operate a vehicle. A Howard County DUI drug attorney meanwhile may be able to assist in defending against this evidence and ensuring that an individual’s legal rights were not violated.
Impact on Driving
When a person takes their prescription medication or an over-the-counter medication and decides to drive, they may not realize the impact it could have on their ability to drive. Although they may simply be taking a medication simply for allergies, there can be a point where it hinders their ability to safely drive. Anything from Percocet to Benadryl can alter a person’s ability to properly and safely operate a machine, making them a danger to the rest of the public on the road.
A person can take the drugs that they are prescribed, but if they take a medication and are unsure of how it may affect them, it may be better to take it on a day when they do not need to drive to see how it impacts them. Additionally, the slightest change in the dosage of a prescription can have an adverse effect on an individual.
A change in the body can also have an adverse effect on the individual’s ability to break down that drug. For example, a person may take a medication before bed and expect it to be out of their system by the morning and that it would not affect their ability to drive, however, there can be a substantive change in their body that could have slowed the breakdown of the medication and therefore may impede on the person.
DUI Drug Penalties in Maryland
A first-time DUI drug offense involving driving while impaired by a Schedule 1 – Schedule V controlled dangerous substance carries a penalty of up to 1 year in jail and $1000 in fines under Maryland Code 27-101. If a minor was in the vehicle at the time, the penalty is doubled to up to 2 years in jail and $2000 in fines.
Subsequent drug DUI convictions following any alcohol or drug-related conviction carry heightened penalties, including up to 4 years in jail and $4000 for a driver with two prior convictions who was transporting a minor at the time.
Drivers with prior alcohol or drug-related driving convictions also face mandatory penalties of minimum jail time. Two convictions within five years requires five days of mandatory jail time, and three convictions within five years calls for a ten-day mandatory minimum jail sentence. Drivers may also be required to complete a drug abuse assessment and a court-ordered drug program.
In addition, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration imposes a 45 day license suspension for a first-time DUI, a 90 day suspension for a second DUI and a total license revocation for a third DUI – whether alcohol or drug-related.
Consult an Experienced Howard County DUI Drug Attorney
Drug-related DUIs may be treated similarly to alcohol-related DUIs by the court, but the investigation and defense of such charges needs to be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. Call today to discuss your case with a Howard County DUI lawyer.