First Time DUI Prosecution in Somerset
DUI charges in Somerset County are heard in the District Court because a DUI in Maryland is considered to be a major traffic offense. There is one District Court location for Somerset County.
Unlike some other places in the state of Maryland, the Somerset County State’s Attorney’s Office does not reduce or bargain down on a DUI case, even if it is a first time offense. A person can expect that the prosecution of the case will be rather aggressive because the state attorney’s office’s goal is to get a DUI conviction.
For this reason, it is crucial for a person to understand first time DUI charges in Somerset so they can take the appropriate steps to help their case and avoid assisting prosecutors in theirs.
Diversion Programs or Probation
There are some instances where diversion programs are offered. Diversion programs can be very helpful because they allow a defendant to do community service or some other type of alternative, instead of having to go to court for a particular charge.
It is important to know, though, that Somerset prosecutors do not offer a diversion program for DUI charges. In this area, including the entire lower Eastern shore, prosecutors take DUIs very seriously and, therefore, diversionary programs are not offered for something as severe as a DUI. Prosecutors, however, typically have no objection to a person being placed on probation. Someone who is facing a first time DUI charge in Somerset can typically expect to receive probation.
Mistakes to Avoid
Anyone who is facing potentially being charged with a first time DUI should consult with an attorney to ensure they are making decisions that will be most beneficial to them in the future. If a person is uninformed about their rights when charged with a first time DUI, they can ultimately negatively impact their case and make it easier for the prosecution to prove their side of the case.
Taking a Breath Test
One of the biggest mistakes is making a decision about whether or not to take the breath test without consulting with an attorney. Before a person can be compelled to make a decision about whether or not to take the test, they have the opportunity to consult with an attorney. Anybody in that situation should at least make the effort to try to speak with an attorney because there are so many potential consequences based on the decision made at that time.
For example, from a proof perspective, if the person were to choose to take the test and the breath test result is a 0.08 or higher, then they have given the state a huge piece of evidence that can be used against them at trial. They need to weigh that factor in deciding whether or not to agree to take the Breathalyzer.
On the other hand, if the person holds a commercial driver’s license, and they decide to refuse to take the breath test because they do not want to have any potential proof that could be used against them at trial, their CDL could be disqualified for an entire year. If a person is employed and for purposes of employment they need to have their CDL, they have a tough choice that they have to make – do they refuse, and potentially lose their employment? Or do they agree and potentially give the state a big piece of evidence to be used against them in court? That sort of analysis needs to be weighed out and it is helpful to have an attorney do it.
Telling Too Much to Police
Another mistake that people make is, really is related to human nature, and they are way more cooperative for the police than they need to be. This is because they are trying to be respectful, and they are probably intimidated by having interaction with a police officer. A person is under no obligation to provide evidence against their case. People often agree to speak with the police, and they often make statements about how much they have had to drink, or they do not understand that they have a right to refuse to take the field sobriety test.