Maybe you’ve just been arrested for DUI in Baltimore County, or maybe you were convicted of a DUI years ago.
Chances are, you are not as familiar with Maryland laws as an experienced Baltimore DUI lawyer, so you probably did not know the ins & outs of defending against a drunk driving charge.
We will go over some of the most helpful information to know when it comes to DUI’s and being stopped for suspicion of drunk driving. If you had known some of the following tips at the time of your arrest, they might have helped your case in the long run.
2 Easy Ways to Check Your BAC Before Driving
The best way to avoid a DUI conviction is to not drink and drive.
The problem is most people cannot in of themselves judge their BAC level and whether or not it is above the legal limit.
For years, people have been relying on faulty equations or sayings to judge the level of their sobriety. You may have heard the advice of only consuming one drink an hour, for example. Well depending on your body type and the kind of drink you are consuming, along with your tolerance level, this so-called “standard rule” may not apply to you.
Fortunately, new technologies are now available and affordable to those who want to be on the safe side of the law.
The state of Maryland funded and developed a free app that aims to help users determine their BAC. While the app, called ENDUI, is free to download, it only gives an estimate of your BAC based on your answers to the questions it asks. For this reason, it may not be entirely accurate. For example, the app will ask you what type of alcoholic drink you’ve been drinking. Depending on your bartender, the amount of alcohol that is actually in your gin and tonic may defer from the app’s standards.
Technology companies like Breathometer™, have designed accessories that work with your smart phone or digital device to accurately determine you BAC levels. These products are linked to apps that also estimate the time it will take for your BAC to reach 0 again, as well as offer to call a cab or check you into a nearby hotel for the night. While more accurate and advanced than ENDUI, these devices come with a larger price tag, anywhere from $50 to over $100.
5th Amendment Rights Apply
When stopped by a police officer, you are only required to show your license, registration, and proof of insurance.
You do not have to answer any other questions, especially if they are self-incriminating. For example, if the officer asks if you have been drinking, you have the ability to invoke your 5th Amendment right. You can either remain silent, or make the officer aware that you are invoking your 5th Amendment right.
The True Meaning of Implied Consent
When you applied for your driver’s license, you signed an agreement with the state. This agreement says that you give implied consent to DUI tests if you are pulled over with probable cause in MD. Refusal to do so results in an automatic license suspension.
However, the DUI tests involved in implied consent are chemical tests. Meaning, you only have to agree to breathalyzer, blood, and/or urine tests.
You can refuse to take the less reliable field sobriety test without the penalty of a suspended license.
Refusal of the FST is recommended because it is not an objective way to measure a person’s level of intoxication.
The trouble with a FST is that it is based on a person’s level of coordination, not their BAC. Primarily, the officer, who already suspects you of DUI, is looking for any evidence that will support his suspicion and the FST is one way to build the state’s case against you.
You Can Prevent an Automatic License Suspension
During a DUI arrest in Maryland, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license and issue you a “Temporary Driver’s License” that allows you to continue to drive for the next 45 days. After this temporary license expires, your license will be automatically suspended.
You are probably unaware that you can request a hearing before the MVA to extend your driving privileges. You must submit your request within 10 days following your arrest to ensure there is no interruption in your driving privileges.
If you did not request an administrative hearing before the MVA, you might have other options. If you can prove that driving is essential for you to continue your employment or education, you may be eligible for a restricted license.
In both scenarios it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced DUI attorney before proceeding.
An Arrest in Baltimore Does Not Mean an Automatic Conviction
The evidence may seem stacked against you, but an arrest for a DUI does not mean that you will be automatically convicted.
Every case is unique, but in all cases, it is the state of Maryland’s burden to prove that you were driving under the influence.
An effective Baltimore DUI lawyer will evaluate your case and advise you on the best way to proceed.
No matter what, it is best to consult with an attorney after your arrest. Accepting a plea bargain from the state without the counsel of an attorney might not be your best option.
An experienced DUI attorney will explain your rights, as well as your options. He will go over the possible outcomes, and strategize with you on how to get the one you desire.
Looking for a Reputable Baltimore DUI Lawyer?
Even if you were not aware of these things during the time of your arrest, an experienced Baltimore DUI lawyer may be able to help you with your case. Dilip Paliath has dealt with difficult DUI cases before and can help you evaluate your best options regarding your DUI case.