When an officer arrests you for driving under the influence (DUI) in Maryland, you will likely face DUI charges in criminal court. Unlike most driving violations, DUI is a criminal offense, and a conviction will go on your permanent criminal record. While the criminal court may issue a sentence including probation, fines, time in jail, and other penalties, the consequences of a DUI can persist long after you complete your sentence.
One often an unforeseen consequence of a DUI conviction is that your criminal case can also land you in civil court. The following are only two examples of how a DUI conviction may send you into a civil court battle.
Some parents will do almost anything to spend as much time with their child as possible. For this reason, custody battles can often become adversarial and embittered. Generally speaking, the court presumes that joint custody will be in the best interests of the child unless circumstances exist that suggest otherwise. In some cases, a spouse may try to seek primary custody in a divorce or modify an existing custody order based on a DUI conviction.
Your child’s other parent may try to use your DUI conviction against you in different ways. First, if you had your child in the car when the arrest occurred, your spouse can argue – often successfully – that you put your child in danger. A DUI conviction may demonstrate a substance abuse problem, especially when coupled with other evidence of such an issue. In the end, a court may order that you may not drive your child any longer, which may make the current custody schedule impossible. A judge may also limit your visitation to supervised visits if there are concerns about the child’s welfare, whether justified or not.
PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS
If your DUI arrest stemmed from a car crash, there is a chance that someone suffered injuries in the accident. That person will then likely try to hold you liable for the full extent of their medical bills and other injury-related losses. Often, these cases make it into civil court, and a DUI conviction can make it simpler for the injured party to prevail.
Civil personal injury claims can be costly. Your car insurance company may cover a judgment up to your policy limits, but many judgments exceed consumer policies, especially since many drivers carry only the minimum amount of insurance required under the law. To make matters worse, you will not be able to discharge an injury judgment arising from drunk driving in a bankruptcy case under federal bankruptcy laws.
LET OUR MARYLAND DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEYS HELP YOU
The above are examples of how a DUI conviction can lead to additional legal issues down the road. All in all, a conviction can be costly in many ways, and you should always have an attorney who knows how to fight against your charges. Call the Maryland DUI defense lawyers at Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC, at (301) 321-7277 or contact us online to discuss your DUI or criminal case today.