Maryland DWI Defense Lawyer
Experienced DWI And DUI Defense Attorney In Baltimore, Annapolis And Throughout Maryland
DUI and DWI charges have become much more complex than “I was caught, what happens now?” Over the last 15 years, the Maryland Legislature and police in every county throughout Maryland have been trained to target individuals who may be driving while Intoxicated. The police have spent millions of tax dollars to set up procedures on how to stop, test, arrest and turn your case over to the State Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Maryland police produce manuals describing exact procedures to be used when giving field sobriety tests. The basic tests are:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (here is a website that provides good information about this test, http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/enforce/nystagmus/toc.html )
- Walk and turn
- Horizontal heal to toe
- Finger to nose
- One-leg stand
- Other dexterity creative test
Police use “indicia” to try and show that you appear to be under the influence of alcohol. Some of the basic indicia are:
- Defendant fumbled or had a difficult time obtaining and showing police officer their license or other care documents
- Police smelled a strong or moderate odor of alcohol (or other drugs)
- Defendant has bloodshot eyes
- Defendant had “mush mouth” when speaking
- Defendant stumbled & looked disheveled
What you say to the police officer also has an impact such as “I only had two beers.” It is extremely important that you contact my office immediately after you have been arrested. Trial preparation and understanding of the process will give you the best chance of a successful resolution in court as well as the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Dozens of important factors can influence the outcome of a case, including the level of penalties. For instance, the judge may wish to know:
- The defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level
- Who served the defendant alcohol
- Who was in actual control of the vehicle (which can lead to questions about the vehicle’s engine, parking brake and lights, the location of the vehicle, the condition of the defendant, and the location of the defendant within the vehicle)
- Whether the property was damaged or injuries occurred in relation to the incident, and whether the defendant had previous DUI/DWI convictions
Answers and evidence relating to these and other questions may determine whether the defendant is found guilty and what level of penalties he or she will face.
Timing is also important. Strict deadlines apply to defendants’ right to petition the MVA for an administrative hearing to prevent the suspension of their drivers’ licenses.
Because of the complexity of DUI and DWI cases, and because the outcome of your case is so crucial, it’s important to work with an experienced and diligent criminal defense lawyer following drunk driving charges.
If you face DUI or DWI charges in Maryland, contact The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC. We have helped thousands of accused people throughout Maryland. For a free consultation regarding your case and your rights, contact our firm.
“When [my lawyer] was finished, all the judge said was, ‘Thank you, sir, for your service.’ The fine and court cost was lower than the cost of the ticket alone. I was pleased with the outcome.”
Maryland DWI/DUI And Traffic Violations Lawyer
OK, you have been stopped, arrested, and charged, what now?
One of the first things I tell my clients who have just been charged is “take a deep breath.” It’s a scary and frightening thing to be taken into custody and actually charged with a crime. If you have been arrested in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, or Harford, each one of these jurisdictions treats a DWI offense a little differently.
DWIs have evolved over the years as to how the Legislature dictates punishment and procedure. Alcohol and traffic citations have become a frontrunner in Maryland political spotlight. The potential punishment of a conviction with an alcohol offense is enormous. Groups such as M.A.D.D. are now working with our judicial system to make sure DWI offenders are paying the ultimate price.
It is extremely important that your lawyer understand and thoroughly know how this system works. It is important to understand how each court will treat different scenarios that surround these offenses such as traffic accidents, refusal to take a field sobriety test. It is also important that you get started right away with the groundwork that is needed to protect your criminal record and driving record.
DUI charges can result in an automatic driver’s license suspension in Maryland. Multiple DUI convictions can result in revocation, which means that you will have to request and attend a motor vehicle hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings before you can get your license back. Traffic tickets can result in points against your driver’s license, which can result in driver’s license suspension if you accumulate too many.
The following links offer more information about DUI and traffic charges:
- DUI defense: Because of the complexity of drunk driving charges, it’s not simply a matter of, “I was caught, what happens now?” It’s important to work with an experienced and diligent criminal defense lawyer to minimize the consequences on your life. We have developed a procedure that, if followed, really works.
- Traffic violations: Tickets for violations such as speeding and reckless driving are more than an inconvenience. Paying a ticket will result in a conviction and loss of points on your driver’s license. If you ignore the ticket, your driver’s license can be suspended when it comes time to renew it.
- Driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license: It’s difficult to get by without driving in today’s society. As a result, many people who lose their driver’s license due to a DUI arrest or multiple traffic tickets choose to drive anyway. In Maryland, that can lead to criminal charges and an even longer suspension.
Maryland Traffic Violations Attorney
Don’t just assume you will get the conviction and points without talking to our firm.
While all traffic violations are frustrating and regrettable, many seem like they’re not worth fighting. Yet even a simple speeding ticket can result in driving points, increased insurance rates, and additional consequences if you receive another citation later.
Of particular importance is the speed with which you are charged. Maryland classifies speeding citations based on speed, and the Motor Vehicle Administration will assess points based on how fast you were allegedly traveling. If you have a CDL license is extremely important to make sure your record is kept clean, not just because of the potential penalties with the State but also because of your employer’s expectations.
Many judges on the district court level treat these citations differently. Some try to access severe penalties while others do not. It is very important that your lawyer understand and anticipate what is expected so you may get the best possible result.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your ticket and tell you how to fight the charges.
JC Law has successfully fought thousands of traffic violations for clients, including:
- Exceeding the speed limit/speeding
- Reckless driving
- Running a red light
- Failing to give a proper signal
- Driving too fast for traffic conditions
- Passing a stopped school bus or overtaking/passing an emergency vehicle
- Passing a vehicle at a crest or a grade
- Overloading a vehicle
- Hit and run
- Driving with an improper class of license
- Driving while not licensed
- Failure to report an accident
- Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer
A traffic or speeding ticket does not necessarily mean a conviction. Police officers make mistakes and, at times, even fail to appear at the hearings. I also undertake a full investigation to see if witnesses’ accounts vary with police reports and other evidence.
Please note that Maryland law has changed recently. The procedures in requesting a hearing are different than in the recent past. Please feel free to call us for a free consultation.
Maryland Suspended Driver’s License Lawyer
Charges of driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license usually result from a traffic stop. A routine check of your driver’s license will reveal the suspension or revocation. Many times a police officer on the road will randomly run your tag of the vehicle you are driving to determine its status. Once you are stopped they will inevitably make a determination about your license.
Most people don’t realize that a driving on revoked or suspended license carries with it a potential 60-day or one-year jail sentence and a fine. Multiple offenses can easily result in a conviction and jail if the case is not handled properly. Just as important is the fact that having a traffic/criminal conviction on your record can severely limit employment possibilities.
In some cases, people are not even aware that their driver’s license has been suspended. Simply forgetting to renew your driver’s license or failing to pay traffic tickets can result in a suspension.
JC Law has defended people in Baltimore, Catonsville, Annapolis, Bel Air and throughout Maryland who have been charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
Protecting Your Maryland Driving Privileges
In today’s society, it’s difficult to get by without driving. As a result, many people who lose their driver’s license due to a DUI arrest or multiple traffic tickets choose to drive anyway. In Maryland, that can lead to criminal charges and an even longer suspension.
Driving with a suspended or revoked license is a misdemeanor, which is far more serious than a traffic ticket. If you are convicted, you will have a permanent criminal record, which could potentially affect your employment.
As your law firm, our goal is to prevent a mistake from resulting in a criminal record that will follow you around for the rest of your life. The first step in resolving these charges is to deal with the issue that led to your driver’s license suspension or revocation in the first place.
Maryland MVA Hearings Lawyer
If you are arrested on suspicion of DUI in Maryland, you face a potential suspension of your driver’s license before you are even convicted of drunk driving. You have only 10 days (30 in some situations) from the date of your arrest to request a hearing with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to prevent a suspension. Most people don’t realize how important it is to hire an attorney to represent them at this hearing.
What Is an MVA Hearing?
An MVA hearing is an administrative action authorized under COMAR and various Maryland Statutes that gives the Motor Vehicle Administration the ability to sanction you for offenses such as a DUI arrest, too many points, suspensions, revocations, etc. Under the current laws, your driver’s license can be suspended even if you are later cleared of the criminal charge of drunk driving.
MVA hearings are very difficult to win if you represent yourself. An experienced attorney can advise you on how to prepare and present evidence favorable to you. An attorney can also use the hearing as an opportunity to review and challenge the Motor Vehicle Administrations’ case against you. For example, as your lawyer, I may have an opportunity to cross-examine the police officer who arrested you and find out if the stop was legal according to administrative procedures. If the police did not have a reasonable belief that you operated a motor vehicle while under the influence then the MVA may not be successful in their case against you.
- If your BAC was .15 or higher there are additional potential sanctions against you
- Even if your BAC was below a .05 there still could be potential criminal sanctions
- If you have a “out of state license” there could still be sanctions against you
- CDLs need to be protected because of enormous consequences
- Test refusals carry potential additional consequences and can be used in a criminal charge against you
- Police incorrectly advising you regarding test procedures can potentially lead to a “not guilty”