If you’ve just been arrested for DUI in Maryland, it’s in your best interests to learn as much as possible about what lies ahead so that you can take the proper steps to protect your rights.
One vital thing to understand is that a DUI arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. The arresting officer may have made you feel as if your sentencing were a foregone conclusion, but this is far from the truth. You still have rights, and an experienced Maryland DUI attorney can explain your options and take the necessary steps to protect your reputation and freedom.
A DUI conviction in Maryland can be serious, so it’s essential that you don’t sweep this incident under the rug or decide to plead guilty for the sake of expediency. There are even consequences associated with an arrest, which you can address with the help of knowledgeable legal counsel.
Temporary Circumstances Related to a Maryland DUI
Most people who are arrested for DUI in Maryland are released from custody without having to post bail. If there are exceptional circumstances and you have a bail hearing, you have the right to request that legal counsel be present to represent your interests. In many cases, this can help you secure a lower bail figure.
When you are arrested for DUI, it’s almost never in a convenient place, like your own driveway. In most cases, the arresting officer will order that the car be towed and held for at least 24 hours. Once you’ve been arrested, the police have the legal right to also search your vehicle, but most don’t do this unless they have a reason. After you’ve been released from custody, you can pick up the vehicle with payment and a photo ID as proof of ownership.
Immediate Steps to Take After a DUI Arrest in Maryland
A DUI arrest usually comes with an automatic driving suspension, the first 45 days of which you get a temporary drivers license. This means that you will be able to continue driving temporarily while your future privileges are determined. One of the things that you should immediately do is request a Maryland MVA hearing, asking the administrative law judge not to suspend your driving privileges. You only have 30 days from the date of arrest to request this hearing and avoid a license suspension at 45 days, so it’s best to do this immediately. In fact, if you request a hearing within 10 days you will keep driving until your hearing date, even if the date is set further out than the 45-day temporary license.
Another thing that you’ll want to do immediately after a DUI arrest is to speak with an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney. Your first hearing could be scheduled within days after the arrest, and this not something that you want to attend on your own. A skilled attorney can not only advise you of your rights and represent you in court but will also make sure that you don’t do anything that implies guilt or bars you from putting forth certain defenses.
Your attorney can help you retrieve your vehicle if you are facing roadblocks. They can also request an MVA hearing and explain to the judge why you should be allowed to continue driving. More importantly, your DUI lawyer will advocate for your rights in your DUI case, with the goal of securing you the most favorable outcome possible.
Potential Consequences of a Maryland DUI Conviction
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Maryland, the stakes are high. Not only is this event time-consuming, expensive, and embarrassing, but there are also some severe consequences for a conviction. The penalties for first-time DUI are up to $1,000 in fines, one year in prison, and 12 points on your driving record. The penalties multiply for each additional DUI as well as for those that involve special circumstances such as elevated blood alcohol content (BAC), commercial drivers, and drivers under the age of 21.
Speak With a Qualified Maryland DUI Attorney Now
While your situation may appear dire just after an arrest, a skilled Maryland DUI lawyer can protect your rights and may be able to help favorably resolve your case. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, some DUI charges can be challenged in court based on such things as an unlawful stop, bad evidence, or another violation of your rights.
Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney offers your best chance of a favorable plea deal, a dismissed case, an acquittal, or a reduced sentence. Jonathan Fellner, Attorney at Law, has been defending DUI cases in this area for more than 15 years and will do everything possible to protect your rights and liberty. Contact our Rockville office now at (301) 309-2000 or online to discuss your case.