DUI / DWI, Traffic Offenses, and MVA hearings
Do you need a DUI/DWI lawyer in Hagerstown or Frederick? Let Harbin Law Office help you navigate the system.
When meeting a prospective client charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Impaired (DWI), our first message always is “DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP!” People make mistakes. Whether you are a professional, a blue-collar worker or a college student, alcohol will impair your judgment. You may think you can make it home just a couple of miles, or that you have paced yourself and are perfectly sober. And that one night you had just a little too much to drink, you find yourself performing field sobriety tests on the side of the highway and blowing into a machine.
Whether it is your first offense or if you have a few prior convictions or probations before judgment, it is imperative that you immediately speak with an attorney, as you will need to make some quick decisions that will affect the ultimate outcome of your case. When charged with a driving under the influence, you have to deal with the District Court as well as the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). Both have their own rules, regulations, and consequences. It is important to speak with a lawyer so that you understand the difference between the two entities.
Your District Court DUI / DWI Case
We prepare DUI/DWI cases on two fronts: What if we plead not guilty and What if a Judge or jury finds you guilt? When evaluating whether you should plead not guilty or try to work out a plea agreement, there are a number of factors that we examine before we give you our advice:
- Did the police officer have authority to pull you over? If your Fourth Amendment Rights were violated and you were unlawfully stopped, any evidence is inadmissible in court. For example, several years ago we tried a case where the Defendant was stopped for not using a turn signal when changing lanes. The judge granted our motion to suppress because the Maryland code does not require a driver to use a signal to change lanes (although it is still a good idea!).
- Field Sobriety Tests – We own the manuals that police supervisors use to instruct junior officers on how to properly give field sobriety tests. Don’t assume that you failed just because the officer said so!
- The Breath or Blood Results – We know the rules and regulations for how to properly administer a breath or blood test. Again, don’t assume that the procedures were properly followed. If there is an issue, we may be able to get the test results thrown out.
While we prepare all of our cases for trial, we do acknowledge that frequently the police do their jobs properly and they can prove the case against you. This is not the end of the fight! We still can protect your liberty your driving record and your privilege to drive. For example, we appear in front of the same judges almost every week and are very familiar with what their tendencies are. We know the appropriate alcohol education classes that you may need to enroll in. And we work with the same prosecutors on a weekly basis so we know how they operate. In short, we know how to navigate the system and minimize damages.
Your MVA Hearing
Depending on what your blood alcohol level was, the MVA may try to suspend your privilege to drive in Maryland. There are deadlines that must be met to preserve your privilege to drive pending an MVA hearing so it is important to speak with an attorney immediately after you are charged. Depending on the facts of the case, you may be eligible for a work-restricted license. But, there are also situations where the only option to keep driving is to participate in the Interlock Program. Unfortunately, the MVA does not give you a lot of time to make a decision, which is why we prefer that our initial consultation take place within ten days of being charged. That way, we will be able to help you navigate the MVA system and minimize the damages.
If you are convicted of an alcohol offense and do not receive Probation Before Judgment, the MVA will assess points and may try to suspend or revoke your license. This is not the end of the battle! You may be entitled to a hearing to protect your privilege to drive despite the new conviction.
Other Traffic Matters
Harbin Law Office also represents clients in other must appear traffic matters, including:
- Driving While Suspended
- Driving While Revoked
- Hit and Run
- Driving Uninsured
- Vehicular Manslaughter