Maryland DUI Cases

There are many different aspects of Maryland DUI cases. As a result, defending against such cases could become complicated quickly. A person who is charged with any type of DUI offense should reach out to an aggressive DUI lawyer. They could review the factors surrounding your arrest and work to establish a credible defense strategy. If someone is convicted for a DUI offense, they could incur significant legal penalties as well as encounter issues when applying for jobs. Call and schedule an appointment with an experienced attorney to start discussing your potential legal options.

Understanding a DUI Offense Case

Maryland has a district court and a circuit court. The majority of Maryland DUI cases are typically heard in district court. Generally, the circuit court is for felony criminal cases and civil cases involving large dollar amounts. A trial in circuit court can be a bench trial before a judge or a jury trial. District court may be used for any case where the penalty is incident to arrest must be heard first in district court. It is generally for less serious criminal charges, misdemeanors, and low dollar amounts. In a DUI case, the charge is typically brought to the district court. However, if the defendant wishes, they may ask for the case be transferred to circuit court.

Bench vs. Jury Trials

DUI cases are typically bench trials. This means that the case is heard before a judge, and the judge alone determines the verdict. Generally, all DUI cases begin in the district court where they proceed with a judge and without a jury. However, if the person is convicted in district court, they have a right to appeal the case to circuit court. When an appeal is brought successfully it could lead to a new trial in circuit court, where the case is heard before a judge and a jury. Alternatively, a person charged with a DUI with a case in district court may elect to have their case transferred to circuit court. Typically, most requests to transfer a case to circuit court are granted.

Sentencing in a DUI Case

The sentencing for a DUI case typically will be handled at the conclusion of a trial if a person is found guilty or when a guilty plea is entered. If the judge who is presiding imposes the sentence, the state often will describe the sentence that they believe is an appropriate sentence.

When determining a sentence, the jury or judge will consider the facts of the case, either what was proven at a trial or what the person admitted to as part of their guilty plea. They typically will factor in the person’s behavior, how dangerous or reckless they were, how they were driving, if there was a collision, and how fast they were going. If the person was a little bit over the limit and otherwise obeying all the traffic laws but found guilty, that person’s case would probably be considered differently than someone who had a blood alcohol level of three times the limit and was going 40 miles over the speed limit.

Certainly, the person’s interaction with law enforcement is an important factor. For DUI cases especially, the judge or jury may want to see how the person responded to the arrest and what their behavior is at sentencing. If they took additional educational classes, attended AA meetings, attended alcohol treatment, or submitted to an analysis of their alcohol use or substance use, they generally will be looked at more favorably. There are other factors observed, such as a person’s driving record without the arrest, a person’s involvement in their community, their family, their prior criminal record or lack thereof, and any family, friends, or other members of the community who may offer testimony about the person’s character. All those are factors that the judge or the jury may consider.

Consult an Attorney About DUI Cases in Maryland

Convictions in Maryland DUI cases could lead to significant legal consequences. A person may incur substantial fines and a prison sentence upon conviction. Someone facing such charges should reach out to a seasoned DUI attorney to begin defending against the allegation. Schedule a meeting with a qualified legal professional who is well-practiced in Maryland DUI cases.