What is the Difference Between a Probation Before Judgment (Deferred Judgment) and a DUI Conviction?


What is the Difference Between a Probation Before Judgment (Deferred Judgment) and a DUI Conviction?In the state of Maryland, when you’ve been charged with a DUI, your lawyer might recommend that you accept a Probation Before Judgement (PBJ) disposition which is referred to as a deferred judgment. In the case of Probation Before Judgement, you are placed on probation with a certain set of rules, regulations, and guidelines you have to follow, much like probation for other crimes. There are some advantages as well as disadvantages to this disposition, although it’s still a better outcome than being charged with a DUI.

What is a DUI Charge?

DUI stands for driving under the influence, also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI). A DUI charge can have a substantial impact on your insurance costs, driver’s license status, and driver points. Those charged with a DUI may lose their driving privileges for 180-270 days. A DUI conviction can result in a jail or prison sentence in some situations. First-time DUI convictions may result in a penalty of up to a $1000 fine and one year in jail. If a minor is in the vehicle at the time, the penalties may double.

The Advantage of Deferred Judgement

If you’re offered a Probation Before Judgement (PBJ) you are put on probation rather than getting convicted.  So long as you abide by the conditions of your probation, you don’t receive a DUI conviction. You also don’t get the points on your license which puts you in a better position with the Motor Vehicle Administration.

The Disadvantage to Deferred Judgement

While it’s still better than a conviction, being on probation isn’t a great place to be. However, when probation prevents you from being convicted or going to jail, the choice is pretty clear as to which is preferable. The other issue with a Probation Before Judgement is that the incident isn’t expungable. This means that employers in the state of Maryland can access this information from Court records which can severely limit your ability to get a job, even though you were never actually convicted.

The Better Option

While a Probation Before Judgement is preferred, the better option still is to be acquitted of the charges. Whether this comes from the prosecutor dropping the charges, lack of prosecution altogether or winning at trial, being acquitted of your charges not only keeps your record clean but also helps you to avoid the rest of the legal nightmare that comes with being convicted of a DUI or receiving a Probation Before Judgement.  

DUI charges have a way of wrecking people’s lives in a short amount of time. From the loss of your license (and potentially your job) to staggering fines and the shame of being charged for driving under the influence…all these factors can have a profound impact on your life and/or your family. If you’re facing DUI charges then you need a skilled and aggressive DUI attorney at your side. Contact the offices of Alpert Schreyer to receive a free DUI consultation from one of our top rated Maryland DUI lawyers and protect yourself, your family and your livelihood from the ravages a DUI can inflict on your life.

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