Rockville First Time DUI Charges
Even if it is only your first offense, you can expect that your case will be prosecuted seriously and that you will face fines and potentially jail time. The following is more information on what you need to know if facing your first DUI charge, and how a Rockville DUI lawyer can assist you. To learn more or begin building a defense for your case, schedule a free consultation today.
First DUI Offense in Rockville
If you are arrested for your first DUI charge in Rockville, you’re probably worried and confused. You have every right to be nervous. Even a first time conviction for this offense holds potentially life-changing consequences and can result in a suspension of driving privileges. Fortunately, our legal team will build a strong defense strategy on your behalf, which can help put your mind at ease as you go to court and face prosecutors. Contact a qualified and aggressive Rockville DUI lawyer with our firm to make sure that you are as prepared as possible.
Your Legal Rights
Before you even get to court, it helps to know your legal rights regarding the charges that you face. For instance, when officers approach your vehicle, you don’t have to answer their questions, except to provide your license and registration. Many people accused of their first offense don’t realize they can remain silent almost immediately. Under due process, you have the right not to incriminate yourself, even before police officers advise you of this right. You can also refuse to take field sobriety tests.
If you decide not to answer the officers’ questions and decline to perform field sobriety tests, you can help your situation by remaining calm and polite. You don’t want to antagonize them in this delicate situation, nor give them additional reasons to suspect intoxication. Know that simply handing over your driver’s license and registration is adequate cooperation. But without legal help, cooperation may not be enough to save you from harsh legal penalties.
The consequences for a first time drunk driving conviction in Rockville are serious. Listed below are the maximum penalties you can face:
- Up to one year of incarceration
- $1,000 in fines
- 12 points on your driving record
- Potential license suspension or revocation
These penalties can take a serious toll on your finances, license, and even your freedom. Having an experienced attorney by your side may help you avoid such dire consequences.
For a first time DWI offense (Driving While Impaired by Alcohol and/or Drugs), the maximum penalty is 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, and 8 points on your driver’s license could be assessed by the court. In either case, the court may also impose a period of up to 3 years of supervised probation.
Where First Time DUI Charges Are Heard in Rockville
First time DUI charges are heard in the District Court for Montgomery County, which is located at 191 East Jefferson Street in Rockville. The traffic docket is divided into two different courtrooms, either Rockville courtroom 413 or Rockville courtroom 414 where an associate judge presides over trials and other forms of resolutions for first time DUI cases.
Prosecution of First Time Charges
Prosecutors typically handle all DUI charges the same way. Reviewing the facts of the case, they determine whether the officer had a valid basis to stop a person’s vehicle, whether the officer had a valid basis to order a person out of their car, and whether the officer had properly advised an individual of his or her rights to take chemical breath tests. Based on this information, they determine whether or not they can prove the case.
Prosecutors differ on how they handle these cases based on whether the person’s DUI is particularly exasperating, like the breath test was very high, a bad accident was associated with the case, a small child was in the car, or if it is the person’s second, third, or fourth offense for DUI. These factors might change the way in which they arrive at a resolution on the particular DUI case.
Is There Some Sort of Diversion or Probation Offered For a First Offense?
A diversion program is never available for DUI cases in Rockville. Diversion programs are when the prosecutor has agreed not to pursue criminal charges against the individual by way of having them do community service or some other form of drug or alcohol education to avoid prosecuting them with the DUI charge.
This can happen in Rockville District Court whether it is your first, second, or third DUI offense. Prosecutors will almost always move forward on these criminal charges in the criminal court system.
Probation may be offered for first time DUI offenders, as most prosecutors as well as judges in the Montgomery District Courts System usually claim that first time offenders do not warrant a period of incarceration.
First Time DUI Charges in Court
DUI charges are treated seriously for first time offenders, whether their cases are heard by the juries or by judges. The reason is because DUIs are considered very dangerous crimes in the community. When somebody is driving under the influence of or impaired by alcohol, they can not only hurt themselves, but they can hurt many people around them.
If somebody was in an assault situation, for example, they might have engaged in or provoked a fight with somebody, but in DUI situations, where the community is at risk and had no interest in engaging in any kind of criminal conduct with a person, they are completely innocent people on the road impacted by this person’s bad decision making. For that reason these charges are treated seriously.
Even though first time offenders may not be incarcerated, the level of seriousness impacts the way that the cases are handled by the court because judges want the person to recognize if they have made a mistake just one time and help ensure that they don’t make that mistake again.
Judges will make a point to remind the person that even though they may not be going to jail on their first time DUI offense, they could be exposed to the possibility of jail time on subsequent offenses or any violations of the probation for first time offenses.