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Montgomery County First Time DUI Charges
Prosecutors in Montgomery County take DUI charges very seriously, even first offenses, and are very unlikely to dismiss a DUI case. Prosecutors would usually rather lose the case at trial rather than dismiss it before trial. Additionally, the court system doesn’t usually offer diversions or any kind of alternative to trial for DUIs unless they have some significant issues that will stop them from being able to prove the case. That is where a lawyer comes in. Depending on the facts of your case, an attorney in Montgomery County can explain your options and inform you of your options. Call today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case with a DUI attorney in Montgomery County.
The Biggest Mistakes To Avoid For First Time DUI Defendants
One mistake that many people make in first DUI cases is making any kind of admission to law enforcement. In lots of DUI cases, it would be very easy to get an acquittal if only the individual hadn’t talked to the police or hadn’t made admissions to either driving or impairment.
The other big mistake for first time DUI cases is individuals agreeing to perform field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are totally voluntary. There is no penalty for saying no to doing those tests. The tests are also designed for people to fail. They are not testing what you think that they’re testing when they administer those tests.
For example, the walk-and turn test isn’t really a test of your ability to walk a straight line and turn around and walk back like you’re not drunk. The walk-and turn test is actually measuring your ability to follow very small directions that are buried within the long list of directions that you need to follow to complete the test. Did you stand in the correct instructional position? Did you execute the turn with a series of small steps pivoting around a planted foot? Did you not begin the test until the officer instructed you to do so? It’s those kinds of clues in the test that make them really unfair. So those are the two big mistakes we see people making in DUI cases. They are making admissions and agreeing to perform field sobriety tests.
Where Are First Time DUIs Heard?
First time DUI charges are heard in the District Court in Montgomery County. There are two district court locations, one is in Rockville and one is in Silver Spring. There is paid parking available by both of the courthouses although sometimes you have to work to find a parking spot near Rockville. The parking garage near the Silver Spring courthouse usually has lots of spots available.
What Are The Penalties For A First Time DUI?
The maximum penalty for a first time DUI is one year of incarceration, a thousand dollar fine and 12 points in your driver’s license. In reality, first offenders in Montgomery County very rarely experience anything like the maximum. Typically, first offenders in Montgomery County receive probation before judgment so they don’t get any points. Incarceration for any length of time is uncommon for first offenses in Montgomery County and fines in Montgomery County tend to range anywhere between $100 to $400 for a first offense.
Probation or Diversion for First Time DUIs
The prosecution is very unlikely to offer diversion for a first offender. They will probably offer not to oppose probation before judgment for a first offender, but diversion programs are almost unheard of.
How Does Montgomery County Treat 1st Time DUIs?
There is certainly more of leniency compared to a second, third or subsequent DUI charge. That being said, courts take DUIs very seriously. Courts will generally impose some period of probation in Montgomery County. They will require completion of a Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel. They will expect timely payment of fines. That’s generally how courts will treat first time DUI charges in Montgomery County.
A DUI Lawyer Can Help
The first thing that a lawyer typically will try to do is find some way to get the case dismissed, either by an acquittal or convincing the prosecution that they absolutely can’t make the case.
The first thing an attorney will look at is the stop. Was there reasonable articulable suspicion for a police officer to stop my client’s vehicle? If your lawyer can find some way to get the stop suppressed, then any evidence that flows from that stop gets suppressed as well and the entire DUI case basically disappears.
The next thing an attorney looks at is probable cause for the officer to request that my client blow into breathalyzer machine. The officer needs to have some type of probable cause, more than just a simple belief that the individual who is asked to blow into a breathalyzer is impaired. If an attorney can challenge that, if a lawyer can argue that the police officer didn’t have that probable cause, then the test of the client’s breath would be suppressed, which would make it more likely to be able to get an acquittal. That’s how a lawyer would begin to attack a first offense DUI case in Montgomery County.