If you find yourself facing drunk driving charges, an experienced attorney can guide you through the intimidating legal process and launch an aggressive defense on your behalf. Charges of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) should not be taken lightly. Maryland DWI and DUI convictions lead to criminal, civil, and administrative penalties that can affect you for an extended period of time. With solid defense from one of the Maryland DUI attorneys in our firm, you may be able to avoid or lessen some of the criminal and financial consequences. The maximum penalties for a first-time conviction include:
• Up to one year in jail
• $1,000 fine
• Suspension of driver’s license
• Increased insurance premiums
Certain circumstances, such as transporting a minor, causing a serious accident, or driving under the influence as a repeat offender, can worsen the penalties. With skilled defense strategies, members of our legal team might be able to get the charges against you reduced or even have your case dismissed.
For a first-time offense, sometimes the best outcome is Probation Before Judgment. Defendants who adhere to the terms of their supervised probation avoid some of the negative consequences of a conviction. In fact, PBJ does not lead to conviction at all, which means the defendant not only avoids jail time but also escapes a DUI conviction reported on his or her driving record, points against the driver’s license, and the increased insurance rates a reported conviction would bring.
Probation Before Judgment is not the only tool your attorney has to help you avoid a criminal conviction, however. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and the case against you, a Maryland DUI attorney may be able to make the following arguments for your defense:
• Illegal traffic stop
• Improper police procedure
• Failure to advise you of your rights under Maryland’s Implied Consent law
• Inadequate maintenance or faulty calibration of blood alcohol analysis equipment
While there certainly are a number of traffic stops in which an officer noticed erratic driving from an obviously impaired driver, many drunk driving arrests follow a traffic stop in which a driver was pulled over for a minor traffic violation. If you have been pulled over, it is usually very clear if the officer suspects you have been driving under the influence. The questions the officer asks, the field sobriety tests you are asked to take, and the preliminary breath test that may be requested of you are all designed to demonstrate your impairment. They are not intended to prove your sobriety.
If you are pulled over and suspected of driving while impaired or driving under the influence, your words and actions will likely be used against you in court. Therefore, it is important to remember a few basic facts that will protect your rights and will help give your Maryland DUI lawyer a solid foundation for your defense:
• You have the right to silence. You do not have to answer officers’ questions about your activities, whether or not you have been drinking, or how much you have had to drink. It is wise to remain polite, but do not answer any questions without the advice of your Maryland DUI lawyer. Your right to avoid self-incrimination begins immediately, even before an arrest and being read your Miranda rights.
• You do not have to submit to field sobriety tests or a roadside Preliminary Breath Test. These tests are not designed to help you prove your innocence, but rather to give arresting officers some indication of your level of intoxication. If you refuse these tests, you will likely be arrested, but there is a great likelihood of your arrest if you do submit as well. By not taking the tests, you avoid giving further evidence to the prosecution’s case, making DUI defense easier and maximizing your chance for a successful outcome to your Maryland DUI case.
• You have the right to counsel from a defense attorney. If you are arrested for drunk driving, your first call should be to an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer who can advise you of your rights, protect you from a violation of those rights, and help build a case for your defense. An arrest sets off a chain of events that can be confusing and overwhelming for anyone not immersed in the relevant areas of law. A drunk driving lawyer with our firm can help you navigate the criminal court system as well as administrative hearings with the Motor Vehicle Authority (MVA). Call as soon as possible after your arrest.
What you can expect in the wake of a DUI charge in Maryland, as told by DUI lawyer Ed Tayter via this transcribed interview segment.
“Well, in every case there’s going to be one mandatory sentence, instead of hearings. That’s the criminal case. You have to appear at a district court when your case is called. You have to be there. You have to handle that.
There’s also a voluntary set of hearings pertaining to a driver’s license. In those, you can have a hearing but you don’t have to have a hearing. If you don’t have a hearing, there’s going to be a suspension against your driver’s license. And if you do request a hearing, you can either challenge the underlying case against your license, or you can request some kind of modification of the suspension, either a permit that lets you drive to and from work and school or sometimes a permit that lets you drive anywhere as long as you have an ignition interlock equipped in your vehicle.
Again, because every case is unique, some cases will have MVA hearings and some cases will not. But all cases are going to have at least one district court appearance. And some cases, like in Prince George’s County, for example, will have usually multiple appearances.”
When it comes to your defense, you want an attorney who is immersed in the relevant law and who has the experience necessary to obtain the best outcome for your case. Before entering private practice, attorney Ed Tayter served as an administrative law judge, presiding over more than 15,000 driver’s license suspension and revocation hearings. His experience with both the criminal and civil consequences of an arrest gives Mr. Tayter the knowledge to deftly handle all aspects of your case. Protect your rights and your record by calling Maryland DUI attorney Ed Tayter for a free initial consultation and evaluation of your case.
Mr. Tayter serves as an attorney across the state of Maryland. If you are looking for a DUI or criminal attorney in the District of Columbia or Virginia, you can also visit DC attorney Jason Kalafat’s website or Virginia attorney Steve Duckett’s website for more information.