So... You've been charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Your driving privileges, your ability to work, even your freedom is at stake. You still, however, have rights that must be respected and options to navigate. We will ensure your rights are respected, and advise you on the best possible decisions going forward.
When stopped by an officer and you take a breathalyzer and / or sobriety test, you and the arresting officer must sign a lot of forms. Were they filled out accurately? Did you understand what you were signing? We can review your documents very quickly and tell you whether you were properly advised of your rights. However, even if you refused the test, you still have a right to a hearing.
Maryland law is pretty specific. If you are a first-time offender and don't take the test, you are required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car for 1 year, regardless of whether you blew over or above the Maryland limit of .08. The interlock is not required if you blew a .07 or less.
Even if you refuse the breathalyzer test, you still have a right to a hearing that would determine your right to drive other vehicles for employment purposes and not have an interlock device installed on your work vehicle.Maryland Law provides you can choose not to drive for 275 days or you have the option to have the interlock. However, your suspension will be for 2 years under Maryland's new law if it is a second offense. If you request a hearing, your suspension can be modified.
If you blew over the .08 limit but less than a .15, you should request a hearing. But you've got to submit the request form within 10 days. Hearing requests made between 10 and 30 days are granted only at the MVA's discretion. After 30 days, you are automatically subject to a 180-day suspension, depending on your test results. This is why hearing request is so important.
If you took the breathalyzer test, blew higher than a .15, and it is your second offense you would be entitled to obtain the interlock device system, which must be obtained within 30 days of receiving your tickets.
If you did not take the test and it is your second offense, you are still entitled to have an interlock installed. Although this is discretionary, much of it relates to your past record and needs to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. We can help you determine whether or not requesting a hearing is the right option for you. Remember - you only have 10 days!
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Many people ask whether or not they should enroll in an alcohol class prior to Court. You should view it as an insurance policy that looks good in the event you decide to request a hearing.
There are many differences across the various private and publically offered classes, however, and we are happy to help guide you to the appropriate class.
In addition, most Worcester and Wicomico County judges are requiring alcohol offenders to attend the Mother's Against Drunk Driving class ( MADD ). This is a 1-time, 2-hour course. There are other ways to get this referral besides a judge's order, though, and again, we are happy to explain them to you in consultation. Effective October 1st, 2016 even if you receive a PBJ from the Court, the MVA requires an alcohol course.
In October of 2009, the Maryland Legislature stiffened the penalties for under-21 DUI / DWI offenders. They also changed what the Courts can do regarding granting probation before judgment. We will be happy to explain these changes, as well.