Have you been charged with DRUNK DRIVING
Also known as DUI (Driving under the influence)
Also know as DWI (Driving while intoxicated)
DRUNK DRIVING- You’ve heard about it…you may have done it once or twice. Now you’ve been accused of it. What you need to know is that in many ways these are some of the most complicated cases being handled by the justice system today.
- There are scientific principles at play in computing the amount of alcohol in your blood. The state uses blood and breath testing devices that compute your Blood Alcohol Level out to “one thousandths.” They use these results to create presumptions that you were unable to drive safely and are guilty of a crime. These tests are introduced by the prosecutor asking an expert a series of questions designed to establish the accuracy of the machine and the expert’s qualifications to administer the test. If you think that you don’t need expert legal assistance to challenge this type of evidence, you are kidding yourself.
- There are field sobriety tests that you are asked to complete (and are graded on) on the side of the road. Believe it or not, the tests administered were created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (known as “NHTSA”). There are very complex guidelines regarding how these tests are administered and scored. Police officers are sent to classes over multiple days to be trained how to give these tests. I, personally, have attended these same exact classes and have been a certified Field Sobriety Test Administrator for years. I was trained by the same expert that trains the officers. This is the type of assistance you need to be able to challenge the “Field Sobrieties.”
- There are also SERIOUS consequences regarding your ability to drive. People don’t want to hear this; but they need to know it. Jail and probation are one thing; but keeping your ability to drive can be the most important part of a Drunk Driving charge. You see, people often say to me “Just keep me out of jail and I’ll be fine.” This is simply the wrong approach. You need to actively worry about your ability to drive. If you are convicted in a Maryland court, the conviction will be reported to the MVA in Maryland and, if you’re from another state, your home jurisdiction. These “MVA’s” and “DMV’s” then usually suspend or revoke your license. If you didn’t pay attention, the reality often doesn’t set in until it’s too late: “All I got was a fine, but now I’m suspended and can’t go to work.” There can be much worse possible outcomes: Let’s say you are the family “breadwinner.” Your spouse and kids are at home while you work. You get a jail sentence because you are a multiple offender. You are able to persuade the sentencing judge that you’re a good candidate for “work release.” BUT…you don’t have a license to be able to leave the jail and continue working. Not only can you not get out of jail every day (which is a great benefit of work release), you lose your job and are unable to support your family.
- A corollary of the above regards the multiple potential penalties for Drunk Driving. You may not know (or believe) this, but it is true: There can be anywhere one to maybe six different penalties resulting from your Drunk Driving arrest and conviction. How can that possibly be? Well…I define penalty to include driving license and driving privilege problems. When you are arrested, chances are you either took or refused a breath test. There are suspensions for both of those events (That’s one). There is the potential suspension or revocation in your home state (That’s two). Then there’s a suspension or revocation of your Maryland license or privilege for point accumulation if you get convicted (That’s three). There’s a suspension or revocation in Maryland for the conviction itself (That’s four). There’s another suspension or revocation if you are under the age of 21 (That’s five). And there’s another suspension in the event if you had an alcohol restriction on your license (That’s six). Do you see how the ability to maintain your license or privilege to drive becomes so important?
You may not realize it but it’s not “some little DUI case.” It’s a serious matter that can have life changing consequences. And they enforce the DUI laws in this jurisdiction VIGOROUSLY.
What are the consequences of drunk driving?
DUI convictions have major complications and some can linger for many years. Many of us are aware of the short-term consequences, including temporary driver’s license suspension, charges and fines, high insurance premiums, court-mandated community service, participation in drunk driving education programs, and even prison time. If you are facing a DUI, the question is not, “do I need a lawyer?” but “who should I choose to represent me…”
If you need help, call Cullen Burke, (410) 723-6500
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