If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Maryland, you are facing severe consequences. In order to have any chance of avoiding these consequences, you must fight your DUI charge by all means available. If you don’t fight your charge, you may get convicted and receive a sentence that impacts your life for years to come.
The Baltimore criminal defense lawyers at The Bishop Law Group have extensive experience with a variety of DUI and DWI cases. With more than 75 years of combined experience, we offer knowledgeable, aggressive representation for individuals facing drunk driving charges.
When you get a DUI in Maryland, what happens next is largely up to you. Here is an overview of the process of protecting yourself to the fullest extent possible:
1. Hire a DUI Defense Lawyer Promptly
Given the risks involved with facing a DUI charge in Maryland (more on this below), you will want to speak with a defense lawyer as soon as possible. When you hire a DUI defense lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will do everything he or she can to help you avoid unnecessary consequences. Your lawyer will also explain what you can do to improve your chances of a favorable outcome, and your lawyer will guide you step-by-step as you move forward.
2. Know What is At Stake
DUI charges carry severe penalties under Maryland law. If this is your first offense, you are facing penalties including:
- A $1,000 fine
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to a six-month driver’s license suspension
- 12 points on your driver’s license
- Mandatory alcohol abuse assessment and program participation
Having a DUI conviction on your permanent record in Maryland can impact your life in various other ways as well. It can make it harder to get a job, it can make it harder to get an apartment or home loan, and it can negatively impact your education if you are seeking (or planning on seeking) a degree.
3. Prepare for Your Initial Court Appearance
Your initial court appearance will be scheduled shortly after your DUI arrest. While this appearance is (or should be) largely a formality, you need to make sure you are prepared. If you aren’t prepared—and if you say the wrong thing in court—this could prove to be a costly mistake from which you aren’t able to recover.
Your lawyer can help you prepare for your initial appearance, and your lawyer can speak to the judge on your behalf. But, it is up to you to make sure you show up on time. If you don’t show up on time, the judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest.
4. Prepare for Your MVA Hearing
In addition to preparing for your initial court appearance, you also need to prepare for your MVA hearing. The MVA handles the driver’s license aspects of your DUI case, and you can lose your license even if you don’t end up getting convicted in court.
To get an MVA hearing (and the opportunity to protect your license), you must file a timely request. Your lawyer can assist you with filing this request and deciding how best to deal with the MVA.
5. Evaluate All Potential Defenses
There are several potential defenses to DUI charges in Maryland. But, not all of these defenses are available in all cases. You will need to determine which defenses you can assert based on the facts of your case and the evidence that is available. Did the police profile you? Did they improperly administer the breathalyzer or field sobriety tests? Did they fail to read your rights? Is there an alternate explanation for your driving behavior? These are all examples of issues that could give you defenses in your Maryland DUI case.
6. Consider Entering a Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program
Entering into a pretrial alcohol education program can be a good way to show the judge that you are taking your DUI charge seriously. However, if you weren’t actually driving drunk (and if this is a defense you intend to assert in court), then entering into one of these programs might not be your best option. Once again, your lawyer will be able to help you decide how to move forward.
7. Determine the Best Way to Resolve Your Case
Should you negotiate a plea deal? Should you challenge the admissibility of the prosecution’s evidence before trial? Should you ask a judge or jury to decide your fate in court? Once you get past the initial stages of your DUI case, you will face several strategic considerations, and you will need to make informed decisions based on the realities at hand.
A DUI conviction can turn your life upside down. You may be facing high fines, jail time, and lost driving privileges that can affect your ability to earn a living and provide for your family. If you are facing a DUI charge, it is crucial to find a DUI lawyer you can trust to protect your rights, your record, and your reputation. The Bishop Law Group can help.
Contact The Bishop Law Group today online or at (410) 390-3101. Our firm proudly serves clients throughout Maryland, including Baltimore, Ocean City, and other areas.