Driving under the influence, or DUI, is a serious charge in Maryland that can have significant consequences. If you have been charged with DUI, you may believe there’s no chance you can beat the case against you. However, that’s not necessarily the case, and it may be advantageous to fight the Maryland DUI charge you’re facing.
After your arrest, you can’t be sure exactly what the prosecution has against you. As a result, they may exaggerate their case or mislead you into believing they have more against you than they actually do.
Before deciding whether to fight the DUI charge, it’s essential to understand your rights and options. In this article, we will explore the consequences of a DUI charge and why it may be in your best interest to fight a DUI charge in Maryland.
Consequences of a DUI in Maryland
While many consequences can result from a DUI charge, here are some examples of how a DUI charge can impact your life.
Negative Effects on Your Driving Privileges
Being convicted of a DUI in Maryland can jeopardize your driver’s license. In Maryland, a first-time DUI conviction can result in a license suspension of up to six months, while a second conviction can result in a suspension of up to one year. (Md. Code, Transportation § 16-205.1, 21-902.2)
In addition, if you are a commercial driver, it can affect your driving privileges and livelihood. A DUI could result in losing your CDL for a year or more. It doesn’t matter if you are on the job or in your personal vehicle at the time of the offense. The DUI charge will still affect your CDL.
Additionally, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, which requires you to blow into a breathalyzer before starting the car. If the device detects alcohol on your breath, the vehicle will not start.
A DUI can have significant financial consequences. You may be required to pay fines and court costs, which can add up quickly.
Additionally, if you are convicted of DUI, your insurance rates will likely increase significantly. Depending on your driving record and insurance history, your rates could increase by hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually.
Also, if you are convicted of DUI, you may be required to attend alcohol education or treatment programs. You are required to pay for these programs, which can also be costly.
Legal and Social Consequences
In addition to the potential jail time and fines, a DUI conviction can affect your employment prospects. This is especially true if you work in a field that requires a security clearance or a clean driving record.
A DUI conviction can also affect your ability to obtain loans or credit. Many creditors see a DUI as it may be viewed as a sign of irresponsibility and will deny your credit request.
Finally, a DUI conviction can damage your reputation and relationships. Those around you may see it as a sign of poor judgment or a lack of regard for others’ safety.
How a DUI Attorney Can Help You Fight a DUI Charge in Maryland
Given these potential consequences, fighting a DUI charge in Maryland is essential. A qualified, experienced DUI attorney can help you explore options and build a strong defense strategy. Here are some ways hiring a DUI attorney can be beneficial.
#1. Challenge the Validity of the Traffic Stop
Police have to have reasonable suspicion that you’ve committed a crime or traffic violation to pull you over. If your attorney can demonstrate that the traffic stop wasn’t justified, all evidence gathered after the stop may be suppressed.
#2. Question the Validity of the Field Sobriety Test
Field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn or one-leg stand, are often used by police officers to assess a driver’s level of impairment. However, these tests are notoriously unreliable, and many factors, such as age, weight, and physical condition, can affect a driver’s performance. As a result, your attorney can challenge the validity of these tests and argue that they should not be used as evidence of impairment.
#3. Challenge the Validity of the Breathalyzer Test
Breathalyzer tests measure a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, these tests are not infallible, and many factors can affect the results, such as the calibration of the machine or the timing of the test. Your attorney can challenge the validity of the breathalyzer test and argue that the results should not be used as evidence of impairment.
#4. Negotiating a Plea Bargain
Sometimes negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecution may be in your best interest. A plea bargain can reduce the charges and penalties you’re facing and can help avoid a trial. Your attorney can review the plea bargain and advise you on whether it’s a good choice.
#5. Representing You in Court
If your case goes to trial, it is crucial to have an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side. Your attorney can present evidence and arguments to challenge the prosecution’s case and cross-examine witnesses to highlight inconsistencies or weaknesses in their testimony. Additionally, your attorney can advocate on your behalf to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the trial.
Let Jeremy Widder Law Help You Fight Your DUI Charge in Maryland
Overall, if you’ve been charged with a DUI in Maryland, fighting the charge with an experienced DUI attorney by your side is essential. The consequences of a DUI conviction can be severe, and a skilled attorney can help you understand your options and help create a strong defense.
At Jeremy Widder Law, we are ready to dedicate the time, resources, and energy into supporting you from beginning to end. We are committed to listening to your story and helping you decide on your preferred outcome. We have years of trial experience ready to put to work for you.
Contact us today for a consultation.