Ocean City DUI/DWI Lawyer
Being charged with Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) or Driving While Intoxicated (“DWI”) in the Ocean City area can be a stressful and life-changing experience. It has been said that DUI/DWI is the most common crime committed by non-criminals. Good people make mistakes, whether it’s as a visitor on vacation or a life-long resident of the area.
Unlike most criminal offenses in Maryland, a DUI cannot be expunged from your record unless the case results in a not guilty finding or all potential jailable charges are dismissed. Even if you receive a Probation Before Judgment (“PBJ”), which is a non-conviction with no points, you are not eligible to file expungement forms like most other criminal offenses.
Therefore, all attempts must be made to handle your case with extreme care and fight for the best possible result.
Driving while under the influence or DUI (Transportation Article 21-902 A, A2) is typically charged in drunk driving cases. The State of Maryland will attempt to obtain a conviction by proving that the defendant had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more and/or introducing other evidence showing that the defendant driver’s coordination was SUBSTANTIALLY impaired as a result of the consuming alcohol.
The maximum penalty for DUI is 1 year in jail and $1000 fine for a first offense. The potential penalties increase with each additional offense and a DUI will carry 12 points on your driving record with the MVA and could result in revocation of your license. Attorney Brian H. Clark is available to work with you toward resolution of your criminal case as well as procedures that could impact the status of your driver’s license (with could include ignition interlock issues).
Some judges will require the admission of the breath test to find a person guilty of DUI, while other judges will convict a defendant based on the defendant’s performance on Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. Brian Clark has handled countless of DUI cases, and his experience in local courtrooms informs his handling of every case. Ocean City DUI/DWI lawyer Brian H. Clark has successfully defended and prosecuted hundreds of DUI cases and has the information and experience you need.
Driving while impaired by alcohol or DWI (Transportation Article 21.902 B) is charged in most drunk driving cases in Maryland. The State of Maryland will attempt to obtain a conviction by showing evidence that the driver’s normal coordination was impaired to SOME extent as a result of the consumption of alcohol. The State can also attempt to prove it with evidence that the defendant’s blood alcohol content was between 0.07 and 0.08 at the time of the offense.
The maximum penalty for DWI is currently 60 days in jail and a maximum $500 fine. Penalties can increase with each additional offense. Typically, a DWI conviction will result in 8 points with the MVA. A PBJ will result in no points, but can cause other difficulties.
A person who has had a prior drinking and driving offense within the last 10 years is barred from receiving a PBJ per Maryland law. Consult Attorney Brian H. Clark for the restrictions on what qualifies as a prior offense and whether any exceptions may apply in your case.
A DUI/DWI Arrest in The Ocean City Area
Typically, these arrests occur later in the evening or early morning after a night on the town with friends at a local bar. They begin with the police officer stopping the defendant’s car for some observed violation of the law. To stop a car, a police officer is required to have reasonable articulable suspicion (RAS) that the person has committed, is committing or about to commit a crime. In DUI/DWI cases, it is usually a traffic stop for an illegal lane change, speeding, reckless driving or some records check that results in a tag or license issue that he must investigate. The officer may suspect you have been drinking due to your alleged bad driving, but much more is needed for a valid arrest.
Once the defendant’s car is stopped the police will conduct a mini investigation to determine if the violations they observed are the result of everyday mistakes or the consumption of alcohol. The police are trained to ask questions regarding your whereabouts and observe your responses to several requests. As well, they will seek to note if they smell alcohol on you or in the car and whether you admit to alcohol consumption. If the officer believes your speech and mannerisms possibly indicate alcohol consumption, then it will be noted in the report. At this stage, the officer must establish whether he or she has reasonable articulable suspicion (lower standard than probable cause or PC) to ask you to exit the car and perform Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST).
You are not required to exit the car if asked, but you will generally be arrested if the officer feels you are impaired based on the facts observed. These facts would include the driving characteristics, the initial encounter and your overall behavior. If you consent to exit your car and do the tests, then the officer will administer the Standard Field Sobriety Tests.
Maryland DUI Lawyer
If you’ve been accused of driving under the influence (DUI), working with a Maryland DUI lawyer can help you to defend yourself and recover from the charges as quickly as possible. The Maryland Department of Transportation reports that more than 24,000 people were arrested statewide for drunk driving over the course of a year. Maryland is a participant in a program called Checkpoint Strikeforce, which is described as a “highly visible enforcement and public information campaign.” This campaign involves sobriety checkpoints and aggressive patrolling by law enforcement officers. However, an aggressive approach to policing drunk driving can sometimes mean innocent people are arrested. It also means motorists can face harsh penalties even if they just have one drink too many. You need to understand your options for defending yourself if you are accused of driving impaired, and a Maryland DUI lawyer can help you respond to charges so you can fight accusations against you.
Still have questions related to DUI/DWI related matters? Check out our frequently asked questions related to DUI/DWI charges.