Harford County DUI Attorney
When driving in Harford County, police officers can pull your vehicle over if they suspect you are driving while under the influence of alcohol. Several things, including the administration of various roadside sobriety tests, in addition to a Breathalyzer test, could be used by the officer to determine your level of intoxication. If you find yourself in this situation, your first call should be to an experienced Harford County DUI lawyer, as they can use their extensive knowledge of Harford County criminal defense process to ensure your rights are protected and help navigate the judicial process with you. An experienced, local Harford County DUI attorney understands what you’re going through and can help you through this difficult time, as well as work toward an advantageous solution to your legal troubles. Call today and discuss your case with a DUI lawyer in Maryland.
Driving Under the Influence in Maryland
There are a few types of drunk driving charges that may be applicable if a person is arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol in Harford County. The most serious of these offenses is driving under the influence (DUI), and the lesser, but still serious, second charge is driving while impaired (DWI). The court system differentiates between these two charges based on the level of alcohol found in a person’s blood. This level, called the blood alcohol content (BAC), is usually determined through a Breathalyzer test that may be administered roadside. If a person has a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, he or she will most likely be charged with a DUI. If a person’s BAC is above 0.06 percent but lower than 0.08 percent, he or she will likely be charged with a DWI offense. This changes if the person in question is a minor under the age of 21, however. In that case, the highest BAC level allowed by law is 0.02 percent. For more info on the risks of underage drinking and driving, see this page published by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.
Many people do not know how many alcoholic drinks they would have to consume in order to reach a level at which a DWI or DUI charge would be warranted. This is because that ratio varies based on a person’s height, weight, rate of drinking, and even what they have had to eat prior to consuming alcohol. Three drinks in one hour for a smaller-framed woman could result in a similar BAC as four drinks in a larger-framed man. Because of all the factors that go into calculating one’s BAC, a person could be unaware they are operating a vehicle while over the legal limit. If you have been charged with a DUI offense, it is important you contact a Harford County DUI lawyer who can help you in defending your case.
When you are arrested for a DUI offense in Maryland, there are two types of penalties that will occur. First, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will impose restrictions on your license and ability to drive. This could result in temporary suspension of your license, points against your license, or, if you are a repeat offender, permanent suspension of your license. Second, the court will determine and potentially impose legal consequences for your charge. This could include one or more fines, jail sentencing, probation, and costs related to court. Although these are subject to change, the possible jail sentence for a person’s first DUI conviction is up to one year, and fine of up to $1,000. The exact combination of consequences is unique to each individual’s case. If convicted, you will have a disturbing criminal record that you will have to report to future career and educational professionals. When seeking legal representation, look first to one of our experienced Harford County DUI lawyers to assist you, as you may be able to avoid or reduce these consequences.
Harford County Courthouse
If your attorney is unable to secure a plea bargain that avoids a court appointment, your case will likely be held at the Harford County Courthouse at 20 West Courland Street in Bel Air, Maryland. There are various parking options located around the courthouse, but there is no guarantee that any one of them will have available parking spaces. These options included metered parking on the street near the courthouse and a parking garage nearby. Don’t let a full parking lot prevent you from arriving at your court date on time—leave early enough to allow yourself sometime to find a space.
The court is open from 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The court’s clerk is James Reilly, and he can be reached directly at (410) 838-4952 if you have any questions about the court or proceedings that happen there.
Directions from I-95 in either direction:
Take Exit 77B towards Bel Air. Bear right. Merge onto Route-924 at the first light. After about five and a half miles, the road turns into a one-way street. The courthouse will be on the left after three traffic lights, between Courtland and Office Street.
Contacting a Harford County DUI Lawyer
There are many ways an officer might determine you have been driving under the influence of alcohol. Although the officer utilizes sobriety tests and potentially a Breathalyzer test, their decision to arrest you on a DUI charge is largely up to their individual assessment of your intoxication level. During this process, you are still entitled to your civic and constitutional rights. Furthermore, there are many instances of misconduct or procedural missteps that could lead to a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
Many factors have to be taken into account by the officer and court in determining the outcome of a DUI charge, and having a lawyer with a background in defending DUI charges in Maryland on your side could help in reducing or dismissing your charges.