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DUI/DWI Attorneys in Rockville, Maryland
Getting stopped, cited, and arrested for driving under the influence or while intoxicated is one of the most common crimes that happens to many different people around our region. While getting arrested for a DUI may be a frightening experience, it does not have to ruin your life. Important decisions must be made immediately following your stop and arrest. The first decision should be made about who you hire as counsel to represent you through a DUI charge. It is imperative to hire an attorney. After the passage of Noah's Law in Maryland in 2016, DUI convictions and penalties have become more serious than ever before in our state. An attorney can help navigate the statutory minefield of a DUI charge, and all underlying charges that come with it.
There are typically two major hurdles to beating any DUI charge: (1) MVA hearing (2) Court hearing.
The MVA hearing is an administrative hearing heard in front an Administrative law judge that can make decisions regarding your ability to drive and enforceability of the tickets. The Court hearing will determine if there will be any additional punishment such as fines and/or incarceration.
Having an attorney is of utmost importance when defending your right to drive and avoid jail time at both of the hearings mentioned above. It also imperative that you seek legal counsel immediately following the incident so that your attorney can request an MVA hearing and begin requesting discovery, which is the State's case against you, from the State of Maryland for your court hearing.
MD DUI FAQs:
1) Should I refuse to blow?
The answer depends on the details of the case and your driving record. According to state law, if you test at a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more, you may be charged with a DUI and your driver’s license may be suspended. You can also face other penalties, including mandatory fines, and increases in your auto insurance rates. If you refuse the test, however, you can still have your license suspended for up to 120 days (if this is your first offense, or longer if this is not your first offense).
2) Should I tell the officer who pulled me over how much I had to drink?
Probably not. Even telling an officer you had "only" one drink can be used against you in the Court of law. Admit nothing, instead say "I prefer not to answer your questions" or "I need to speak with my attorney before answering your questions." Remain calm and polite, but do not make incriminating statements.
3) Should I plead guilty if I blew a .08%?
Maybe not. There are many procedural errors that officers can make which can impact your case. From testing methods to the actual stop, there is always room to review the State's case against you in discovery. It is important to have an experienced lawyer review these facts as presented to see if an error has been made.
4) What is the punishment if I am found guilty of drunk driving?
The maximum sentence for the charge of driving while under the influence (DUI) is one year in jail, $1,000 fine, or both; the maximum sentence for driving while impaired (DWI) is a jail sentence of 60 days, $500 fine, or both . While sentences may vary depending upon the judge who hears your case and even the county in which your case is handled, it is rare to receive jail time for a first offense. Normally, a sentence for a first offense is a probation before judgment (PBJ), if the charges cannot be dismissed.
5) What is a Probation Before Judgment (PBJ)?
A PBJ offers first-time DUI offenders a chance to accept probation instead of being convicted of DUI. A Probation Before Judgment is a disposition that allows the Court to remove a conviction from your record even if you have been found guilty in your case. There are restrictions for when and how a PBJ can be applied, so discuss these with your attorney.
6) Can I get my DUI arrest records, court records, and MVA records expunged?
You can only get an expungement of DUI arrest records and court records if your court case result is a not guilty, a dismissal, a nolle prosequi, or a stet. If your case result is guilty and you receive either a conviction or a probation before judgment (PBJ) you can only get court records expunged if you are pardoned by the Governor. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) does not expunge records of drunk driving convictions and PBJs.