Right to Counsel during a DUI Arrest

It could be considered common knowledge that if you are accused of a crime, you have the right to counsel to help you through the criminal process. This right is thankfully enshrined in the constitutions of both the United States and Maryland. Though this important protection is a wonderful thing, few people understand that most states do not extend this right to individuals who have been asked to submit to a chemical test during a drunk driving arrest. Chemical tests that are administered either with breath, blood, or urine are used to determine a driver’s blood alcohol concentration. The results of these tests can often be critical in proving guilt in a DUI case. The choice of whether to submit to such a test is thus an important one and carries serious consequences no matter what a person chooses to do.

Right to Counsel

Thankfully, Maryland’s law clearly states that once a person has been arrested, he or she has the right to consult with a Maryland defense attorney. That means that in Maryland, drivers who are being asked to take a chemical test have the ability to consult an attorney before making such an important decision*. The law specifically states that as long as a suspect can have his or her attorney present within two hours of the arrest, he or she can have the chemical testing delayed until the attorney arrives. So long as the wait does not result in an unnecessarily lengthy delay in the testing process, officers are required to allow suspects to reach out to an attorney, should they choose to do so.

This right to counsel is an important facet of legal procedure in Maryland. It is extremely beneficial to individuals who are accused of drunk driving to be able to seek guidance and advice from a qualified legal professional before taking action. Without the help of a skilled attorney, individuals may make mistakes that can severely harm their case and lead to the harsh penalties associated with a DUI conviction.

*This legal information may no longer be fully accurate. In MVA v. Deering, the Court of Appeals of Maryland found that if a person pulled over for driving under the influence is denied the opportunity to speak with an attorney before taking a breath test, this does not prevent the automatic administrative suspension of that person’s driver’s license. See MVA v. Deering, Court of Appeals of Maryland, (September 2013).

Contact a Maryland DUI Lawyer

Being charged with drunk driving is a scary and stressful experience. Any interactions with law enforcement officials can be daunting, but especially if you are scared of the impact that criminal charges could have on your life. If you have been charged with driving under the influence or driving while impaired, you should contact a Maryland defense attorney who can give you sound advice regarding the legal process and help protect you from the extreme negative impact that a conviction would have on your criminal record as well as your ability to continue driving. Skilled DUI lawyer Seth Okin has extensive experience with DUI cases and is well-suited to defend you in a court of law. Call his law office today at (410) 782-0742 for a free case evaluation.