Prince George’s County DUI Lawyer
Prosecutors and judges in Prince George’s County handle DUI charges very seriously. A DUI is probably the single highest transportation article crime that you can be convicted of. Considering that the maximum penalty for a first time DUI is a year in jail and a thousand dollar fine; which is the highest of all first time offenses, the state’s attorney is absolutely going to do his or her best to get a conviction.
With these factors in mind, it is important that if accused you consult with a Prince George’s DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your DUI case and begin building a defense. For information on how legal representation can benefit you, consult with an attorney in Prince George’s County today.
DUI Charges In Prince George’s County
Prince George’s County has two district courts. Depending on which side of the county you are cited in, that location would determine which of the two district courts you would go to. One District Court is located in Hyattsville, and the other is in Upper Marlboro. The location where the incident occurred and the citations were issued will determine which of the two district courts that your case would then be handled in. If you are unsure, a Prince George’s DUI lawyer can advise you on where your case will be held.
How First DUI Charges Are Treated in Prince George’s
A first time DUI offense is generally handled in a manner that’s a little bit more lenient than a second or third repeat offense. This is because first time offenses can happen to almost anyone. We all see alcohol in our everyday life, and judges have come to that understanding that it is incredibly prevalent.
However, the expectation is that when you have had a drink, you do not drive. While it may be lenient as compared to a subsequent offender, courts still treat these charges very seriously. Prince George’s County also houses College Park, where the University of Maryland is located. Because it is an area where there are a lot of college-aged kids, police officers can be hyper-vigilant in the area.
The first time is a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a thousand dollar fine.
In Prince George’s County, there is no DUI diversion program, nor is there a dedicated DUI court. Normally, however, there is the possibility of receiving a first time offender probation before judgment (PBJ), so long as there was no severe accident and no extraordinary circumstances. This sort of probation is supervised, and it comes with a certain set of conditions.
Getting the an experienced Prince George’s DUI attorney involved and allowing that attorney to help get you into the right programs can help you to be eligible for probation on a first offense.
Building a Defense For DUI Charges
Maryland DUI charges are very specific. There obviously has to be some evidence that shows that there was alcohol, a vehicle, and that you were the person driving that vehicle with some form of alcohol in your system. These are very specific charges, and there are absolute elements that must be met one by one. Thus, when you build your defense, it starts with answering a few important questions:
- What are the circumstances leading up to your DUI stop?
- What did the officer claim to have pulled you over for?
- Was it for speeding or was it for something administrative, like an expired registration?
When defending against first time DUI charges, a Prince George’s DUI lawyer first looks at the probable cause to stop the vehicle. Then, it is necessary to determine if there is any reasonable articulable suspicion from the officer that would provide cause to take you into custody and ask that you submit to a breath test. (Bloodshot, watery eyes and the odor of alcohol are usually the first things seen in any probable cause statement written for a DUI case.)
Ideally there would be some video footage of the standard field sobriety testing and an audio recording of the exchange between you and the officer. When an experienced Prince George’s DUI attorney reviews this sort of hard evidence, he or she will compare that absolute visual aid to the written statements of the officer. In court, if it can be demonstrated that the written information is different from what that video shows, that’s a very important part of the defense. Video is becoming much more prevalent now.