Defending Clients Against Serious DUI Charges in the Bowie, Maryland, Area
Law enforcement officers arrest thousands of persons each year in Maryland on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, also called impaired driving. After an arrest, many people will then face criminal DUI charges, and you know that prosecutors will aggressively seek convictions for this offense. Not having the right defense representation can lead to unnecessarily harsh penalties or a wrongful conviction.
The prosecutor is not on your side, so you need someone who is. At Alpert Schreyer, LLC, our criminal defense lawyers know that many different circumstances can lead to DUI arrests and charges. We provide dedicated defense representation without judgment, so please contact our office to discuss your arrest as soon as possible.
You are driving home and, suddenly, you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. You pull over and the officer approaches your window, asking you a few questions. Suddenly, the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle and requests that you submit to a Breathalyzer test because he suspects you were drinking. While you can refuse to submit a breath sample, Maryland law sets out consequences for doing so because every driver has given implied consent to submit to chemical testing. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is more than 0.08 percent, the officer has probable cause to arrest you.
Even if your BAC is less than the legal limit or if you refuse a breath test, the officer can request that you participate in field sobriety testing (FST). Police can administer one or more of the three standardized FSTs to obtain probable cause to believe you are impaired and arrest you. If the stop results in an arrest, you will likely spend a few hours in jail, and the prosecutor may issue charges against you for DUI.
You can face DUI charges even without a BAC reading of 0.08 percent, as a prosecutor can base charges on an officer’s observations of intoxication.
Possible Penalties for DUI Convictions
As soon as you learn that you might face DUI charges, contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer. If you need to challenge an administrative license suspension, you only have a very short time to request a hearing with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). If you call right away, our attorneys will handle both the administrative side of your case and the criminal charges.
You need a defense lawyer who knows how to avoid convictions whenever possible. The harsh and lasting penalties for a DUI conviction in Maryland can include:
- First offense – Six-month license suspension, $1,000 fine, and one year in jail
- Second offense – One-year license suspension, $2,000 fine, and two years in prison (with a five-day minimum)
Lesser penalties accrue for conviction of driving while impaired (DWI) by alcohol, which applies when your BAC was between 0.04 and 0.08 percent. These penalties still involve costly fines, license suspensions, and possible jail time. Drivers younger than 21 can face charges and penalties for any amount of alcohol in their systems under the state’s zero tolerance policy for underage drivers.
In some situations, the court will order you to serve a term of probation instead of jail time. The court can even offer Probation Before Judgment (PBJ), which allows you to complete a period of probation before a guilty plea and, if you are successful, the court will dismiss your charges without a conviction. This is not automatically offered in every situation, however, and some people are ineligible for a PBJ. You need the right lawyer who can fight for a PBJ whenever possible to keep your record clean.
Many people believe that because Probation Before Judgment is an option in Maryland, they do not need to worry about a first-time DUI charge. However, the arrest and charge will still go on a background check, which can hurt many aspects of your life for years to come.
DUI consequences can reach far beyond a court-ordered sentence. Having a DUI on your criminal record can affect the following and more:
- Security clearances
- Professional licenses for doctors, lawyers, nurses, CPAs, pilots, and more
- College scholarships
- Eligibility for certain jobs
- Military sanctions
The possible consequences of a DUI conviction can last long after you pay fines and finish probation. You need a lawyer who will fight against a conviction whenever possible to prevent these long-term challenges.
Challenging DUI Allegations
An arrest for DUI does not mean you will automatically receive a conviction, even if your BAC was more than 0.08 percent. Our experienced DUI defense lawyers can challenge charges and present legal defenses on behalf of our clients in many ways, depending on the circumstances. Common defenses in DUI cases include:
- The traffic stop or arrest violated your Fourth Amendment rights because the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over or probable cause for the arrest
- The officer did not properly administer the field sobriety tests or the Breathalyzer test
- The forensic lab mishandled your blood sample, rendering the results unreliable
- Challenging the officer’s observations of intoxication
- Presenting another explanation for the appearance of intoxication, such as fatigue or illness
- Proving you did not have control over the vehicle at the time (for example, you were not driving as defined by law)
We can also engage in negotiations with the prosecutor and the court to reduce your charges or sentence, such as getting a PBJ instead of a conviction.
Contact Our Bowie DUI Defense Attorneys for Help Right Away
There are many ways the DUI defense lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC, can help in your DUI case. Our goal is to minimize the impact of a criminal case on your life. If an officer arrested you for DUI, do not wait to call (866) 444-6363 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.