Treatment of DUI Cases in Prince George’s County

The severity and treatment of DUI cases in Prince George’s County are not to be ignored if you have been charged with a DUI. The state does not drop charges like these. They fight and would rather lose a case than let an accused person go free. Because of this, it is in your best interest to retain an attorney who could fight against the state’s evidence.

Why Prince George’s County Focuses on DUI Offenses

The recent focus and treatment of DUI cases in Prince George’s County stem from a number of reasons. The first and foremost is if the vehicle itself carries with it an enormous amount of power. A vehicle is an incredibly powerful tool and their immediate proximity to others on major roads could cause a cataclysmic effect on someone’s life, and not just one person, but many people. There have been a number of fatalities in Prince George’s County just over the last couple of months, and that concerns a lot of people. That much attention from the public, plus talking to their representatives and their local police, often gets a response. They are doing what the public demands.

Regular traffic enforcement throughout the day certainly knows local happy hour locations. There is a routine officers follow when pulling people over at certain locations and times of the day. People who have been pulled over may have had one drink, they may have spilled a drink on them, but the police are going to ask lots of questions. That enforcement comes from just good common sense and logic.

There is enough attention demanded by the greater public for officers to shift their focus to DUIs. If one would consider the crimes that are committed on a daily basis, and look at the overall numbers, traffic enforcement is by far the highest percentage. It just makes good common sense to enforce something that is in demand.

How Enforced DUIs in Prince George’s County Are

DUI laws are incredibly enforced right now. There are a number of specialized teams throughout counties (“A-Ride” or “Spyder”). These DUI enforcement teams operate both for the state and local levels throughout Prince George’s County. There is also the United States Park Police for federal property within Prince George’s County that could put a DUI driver in the Greenbelt Courthouse. There are major universities like College Park which gets a great deal of attention.

These roadways are going to see a high presence of officers, especially after six o’clock at night. If it is after eight o’clock at night and someone has been pulled over, they could bet that they are going to be asked if they have they had anything to drink this evening. The officers would go off the odors of alcohol or marijuana. The driver would be asked lots of questions, and at the moment, the driver may be honest and answer them all. If the driver affirms in any way that they had anything to drink, the officer would ask them to step out of the car. Enforcement is at a peak level, utilizing their strength and body cameras to really hammer home everything that they could to show they have a good strong case. The plan is to deter drunk driving, but in reality, all they do is keep pulling over more and more people and finding more and more excuses to do so.

The Severity of DUI Charges and How They Are Treated

DUI charges are taken seriously in Prince George’s County. The State’s Attorney’s Office is not going to drop a charge or walk away from one. They are going to try to prosecute each. They would rather lose than give up.

The courthouse where accused would be initially charged is the district courthouse. There is one in Hyattsville and one in Upper Marlboro. Hyattsville will always be in court room 4. In Upper Marlboro, it is always in courtroom 263 or 264, at the district level. If the driver is charged with DUI or DUI per se, the maximum penalties for each are a year in jail and $1,000 fine for a first offense. For subsequent offenders, the penalties go up because the penalties are greater than 90 days of potential incarcerable time.

An accused driver could demand to move the case out of the district court to the circuit court, where they would be given a status conference hearing as well as motion hearings and a trial. Trial could be a bench trial in front of a judge or a jury trial made up of 12 jurors. The State is going to do its best to try to resolve the case and make an offer in the district court. If the driver has a good attorney, that attorney could:

  • Assess their case
  • Review the State’s offer
  • Advise the driver of the pros and cons of accepting that offer
  • Assist the driver in making a good decision.

A lot of people would want to keep their case in the district court for a trial because if they have a trial in the district court and they lose, they could always appeal to the circuit court for disposition or a trial there.

If the defense wants to keep the charges in the district level, they must be lesser charges, or they advance to the circuit court level. There are a lot of ways to approach this, but at no time should they consider these charges anything other than serious. They should never expect to get a PBJ (“Probation Before Judgment”) and walk out. Courts are not handling these types of cases the way they used to.

Talk to a Lawyer Who Could Help

The treatment of DUI cases in Prince George’s County is unlike any other type of case. The severity in which the state regards endangering the public is something to take into account if you have been charged. Defending yourself with the help of an experienced attorney may be a way to mitigate the sentences the state might impose. Speak with an attorney today.