Maryland law is harsh when it comes to drunk driving, and understandably so. When people get behind the wheel when impaired by alcohol, they put everyone on the road at risk. When drunk drivers cause accidents, they can face extremely harsh penalties—particularly if they cause serious injury to the other people involved in the accident. These consequences can include significant fines and even lengthy prison sentences, so anyone accused of causing an accident while driving drunk needs to retain an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
PROVING INTOXICATION REQUIRES EVIDENCE
Over the years, the acceptable blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in drivers has decreased, enforcement efforts have increased, and police are constantly on the lookout for impaired drivers. Meanwhile, Maryland has increased penalties for drunk driving.
Remember, however, that drinking and driving are not against the law—drunk driving is. This means that prosecutors need to prove that a driver was under the influence of alcohol beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. This requires evidence of intoxication, which can include a driver’s appearance, odor, speech, statements, or chemical testing of the breath, blood, or urine.
This evidence can prove difficult to gather during the aftermath of a serious accident, and law enforcement often takes shortcuts to clear the scene of an accident. Police sometimes do not take the time they would with a typical DUI stop.
While an officer’s observation that you smelled like alcohol after an accident may prove relevant to a DUI investigation, it is not likely sufficient to establish that your BAC exceeded the legal limit when the accident occurred. This is not to say that a prosecutor will not try to bring a case against you anyhow, hoping that you simply plead guilty to avoid taking your case to trial.
For this reason, retain an attorney to represent you as soon as possible. Even in the face of additional evidence against you, a skilled attorney can often raise defenses, including:
- Challenging the legality of the initial traffic stop
- Arguing that the officer who arrested you was not qualified to administer sobriety testing
- Introducing evidence that you have or had a medical condition that could alter the reliability of sobriety testing or mimic the signs of alcohol intoxication
CALL OUR OFFICE TODAY TO SCHEDULE A FREE CASE EVALUATION WITH A MARYLAND DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY
If you are accused of causing an accident while you were drinking and driving, speak to an attorney as soon as you can. At Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC, DUI & Criminal Defense, we are committed to protecting the rights of people accused of drunk driving and other crimes. We work hard to ensure that every case we take is resolved as favorably as possible. To schedule a free initial case evaluation with a Maryland criminal defense lawyer, call Alpert Schreyer today at (301) 321-7277, or fill out our contact form.