Defense Lawyers Helping Convicted DWI/DUI Drivers in MD Gain Admission to an Alcohol Diversion Program
A DUI conviction in Maryland can result in fines, jail time, and other serious penalties—not to mention inconvenience and extreme disruption to your life. Maryland law differentiates between driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI). Of the two, a DWI is the less serious charge.
A driver may be charged with a DWI in Maryland if his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is between 0.04 percent and 0.08 percent. However, if the driver’s BAC is 0.08 percent or more, the driver will be charged with DUI. One of the main differences between a DWI and DUI in Maryland is the potential penalty upon conviction. While a DWI conviction may result in a 60-day license suspension, a $500 fine, and up to 60 days’ incarceration, a DUI conviction may result in one year’s incarceration, a fine of $1,000, and a driver’s license revocation that can last for as long as six months.
While both DWI and DUI convictions can result in jail time, there may be other alternatives available, depending upon the circumstances of your case. Specifically, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to argue for your participation in a DWI/DUI diversion program. Assuming you successfully complete the program, your charges may be dropped and your case will not proceed forward to trial.
The experienced Maryland DWI/DUI criminal defense lawyers at Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC have convinced Maryland prosecutors, on numerous occasions, to recommend to judges that drivers be allowed to participate in DWI/DUI diversion programs, as opposed to serving jail time or paying large fines post-conviction. If you have been charged with a DWI or DUI in Maryland, you should contact our office and find out how we may be able to help you.
Collateral Consequences of a DWI/DUI Conviction
There is no disputing that a DWI/DUI conviction can have serious consequences on your life. Some of the most serious consequences that can follow a DWI/DUI conviction include:
- Loss of security clearance—If your job requires you to keep an active security clearance (e.g., a job with the federal government), a DUI arrest or conviction could result in you losing that clearance.
- Loss of a green card—If you are an immigrant to the United States when you are arrested for or convicted of a DWI/DUI, the government could decide not to review your work visa or green card. This is especially true if you have other unrelated criminal cases or convictions pending.
- Insurance rate increases—If you are convicted for a Maryland DWI/DUI, it is almost certain that your car insurance rates will rise significantly. Your health insurance and life insurance premiums could also increase significantly.
- Loss of employment—If you sustain a conviction for DWI/DUI, your job may have a policy whereby you must disclose your conviction to a human resources person. At that point, a supervisor or manager will make the decision about whether to retain you as an employee or let you go.
- Obtaining employment—If you have been convicted of a DWI/DUI, it may be difficult for you to find employment in some cases. Employers are increasingly turning to online resources to check prospective employees’ criminal records. If a prospective employer finds out that you were convicted or served jail time for a DWI/DUI conviction, that prospective employer may not hire you for the available position.
- Civil lawsuits—If your drinking and driving led to a motor vehicle collision that caused injuries, the injured accident victim could sue you in civil court for money damages. A judge or jury could also award the accident victim punitive damages in the civil case. Since many car insurance policies do not cover punitive damages, you may be required to pay those costs out of your own pocket.
How Alcohol Diversion Programs Work in Maryland
Various district courts throughout the State of Maryland offer alcohol diversion programs as an alternative to jail time and fines. The main purpose of these programs is to convince offending drivers to change their ways and not drink and drive. If you complete the diversion program successfully, your charges can be dropped, your case will be dismissed, and you will not be required to serve a jail sentence or pay a fine. Failing to successfully complete the program will result in the case status being switched to “active,” and a criminal trial date will be set.
Alcohol diversion programs vary from county to county in Maryland. Each county has different protocols and requirements. In order to qualify for most programs, drivers must ordinarily be first-time DWI/DUI offenders, reside in the county where the program takes place, be non-violent, have no prior criminal records, and not be on probation for any other criminal offense.
All program participants must normally attend for a period of six months. During the program, the offender must remain alcohol and drug-free and must agree to be tested throughout the program. Offenders may also be required to attend counseling sessions and report to a probation agent on their progress.
Call Us Today for a Free Case Evaluation with a Maryland DWI/DUI Criminal Defense Lawyer
Although alcohol diversion programs require a large time commitment, they are definitely a better alternative to sitting around in jail. When it comes to DWI/DUI diversion programs, an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer can be an invaluable help. Your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor and attempt to have him or her recommend to the judge that you attend this program, as an alternative to fines and/or jail time. The judge has the ultimate discretion to decide whether or not you may attend an alcohol diversion program.
It goes without saying that DWI and DUI convictions can have very harsh, unforgiving consequences. The experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyers at Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC can determine whether you may be eligible to attend an alcohol diversion program.