The Professional Consequences of a DUI
Most of us are aware that Maryland law imposes significant penalties on people who are convicted of drunk driving. These can include fines, probation, the loss of your license, community service, and even jail time. But did you know that a DUI conviction can have significant professional consequences as well, many of which could last for years?
With so much on the line, make sure that your DUI case is resolved as favorably as possible. At Alpert Schreyer, our Maryland DUI defense lawyers are committed to defending the rights of people who have been accused of drunk driving. We have more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense and have successfully represented more than 1,000 people who have been accused of DUI in Maryland. To schedule a free case evaluation with a lawyer, call our office today at (301) 708-2677 or send us an email through our online contact form.
A DUI Conviction Can Affect Current Employment & May Make It Difficult to Get a Job
Maryland is an at-will employment state, which means that either an employer or employee may end an employment relationship at any time for any legally permissible reason. As a result, an employer typically has the right to terminate an employee who has been arrested for a DUI—regardless of whether the case is still pending. While this may seem unfair, employers are often worried about hiring employees who may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, and to many people, even a first DUI arrest is a sign of an issue.
In addition, if you are in a high-profile position, your employer may choose to terminate your relationship due to concerns with the way the public may view your continued employment—regardless of the way that he feels about your drinking habits.
Not only can a DUI affect your current job, it can also make getting a job more difficult in the first place. Ever more employers are making a criminal background check a standard part of the application process, and employers may have concerns about hiring someone who has been convicted of drunk driving.
A DUI Could Affect Your Career Before It Even Starts
Students may believe that a youthful DUI will not have much of an impact on their professional futures. This is decidedly false—many college or graduate-school students who are convicted of drunk driving find that their criminal record comes back to haunt them years later. In addition, schools may consider an applicant’s criminal history before granting admission, so a DUI could even hurt your chances of getting into the school you want to attend. Furthermore, if you plan to work in a regulated profession such as medicine or law, a DUI could harm on your ability to obtain a professional license and may result in having to disclose embarrassing details about your past to your licensing authority.
Legal Defenses May Be Available
If you have been arrested for DUI and are just now learning about the potential professional consequences of a conviction, you may feel as if you just made the biggest mistake of your life. The good news is that while a DUI is a serious matter, you can take steps to mitigate the fallout of your arrest. In addition, you may entirely avoid a conviction from appearing on your record.
Some commonly raised legal defenses available in Maryland DUI cases include:
- Establishing that the signs of intoxication had an alternative cause – Police officers are trained to look for certain signs of alcohol intoxication—signs that certain medical conditions, reactions to medication, or even something as simple as allergies can cause. If your arrest was based on the fact that you seemed confused, had bloodshot eyes, or slurred speech, it may be possible to argue that these issues were actually caused by something other than alcohol intoxication.
- The “GERD” Defense – In many DUI cases, the prosecution’s key evidence is the result of a breathalyzer test. These tests operate by taking a sample of a person’s breath and analyzing it for the presence of alcohol. Using the level of alcohol in the sample, the device then extrapolates the test subject’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or “GERD,” is a medical condition that causes the contents of the stomach to return back into a person’s esophagus. This can cause higher than normal mouth alcohol levels, potentially resulting in inaccurate breathalyzer results.
- Field Sobriety Tests Are Inaccurate – Evidence indicates that the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) does not help officers accurately determine whether a person is above the legal BAC limit. If the prosecution is basing its case on the results of field sobriety testing, it may be possible to cast doubt on the state’s assertion that you were drunk.
Because the availability of these defenses can be difficult for people without legal training to spot, anyone accused of drunk driving should have experienced lawyers thoroughly review their cases.
Avoiding a Conviction through Probation Before Judgment
Even if legal defenses are not available in your case, a lawyer may still help keep a conviction off your your criminal record. In Maryland, offenders can receive a deferred judgment—called probation before judgment—which is not a conviction and carries no points. It is completely at the judge’s discretion, so not everyone who is eligible for probation before judgment receives it, but the assistance of an attorney can significantly improve your chances.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Maryland DUI Defense Lawyer
If you were accused of drunk driving in Maryland, contact an attorney as soon as you can. To schedule a free case valuation with one of our Maryland DUI defense attorneys, call Alpert Schreyer today.