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How to handle a DUI traffic stop

When you make the decision to drive after consuming alcohol in Maryland, you are gambling with your life and freedom. No matter how conservatively you drink, law enforcement is always around somewhere watching the roads and waiting for someone like you. An officer only needs probable cause to pull you over.

Is legal support needed for an OAH hearing?

There are a number of reasons for a hearing at the Motor Vehicle Administration's Office of Administrative Hearings, or OAH. For example, you may have received a notice about a hearing date relative to your DUI charge, but it might be four to six weeks down the road. Meanwhile, you need transportation to get to work, so you are driving on a suspended license. This is not a good idea.

Drunk drivers may enter the ignition interlock program

Maryland has the ninth-highest ignition interlock usage rate in the country. The program, monitored by the Motor Vehicle Administration, has been in force since 1989, and it works. Depending on the charge, the consequences require some drivers to enter the program. Others may elect to participate instead of requesting a hearing for their drunk driving charge and to regain their suspended or revoked driver's license.

Should you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test?

Law enforcement in every state is cracking down on driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated. In Maryland, a police officer can pull you over for a traffic violation or for driving erratically to check for a suspicion of DUI or DWI. If the officer suspects that you are intoxicated, you may be asked to submit to field sobriety tests and chemical tests, such as a breathalyzer.

Why DUI offenders need treatment instead of incarceration

Alcohol use on America's roadways has been a problem for as long as automobiles have existed, and public policymakers have long struggled with the best ways to respond to drivers who operate vehicles while they are intoxicated. Better detection and education has helped the public be more vigilant about their own driving practices and drinking habits and has brought the issue a long way. Another approach that law enforcement and the legislature often adopt is increased criminal penalties. For a long time, these penalties were viewed as a strong deterrent to drinking and driving, but research has called that into question in recent years.

Do you need an attorney if you are charged with a DUI?

When it comes to misdemeanor crimes, sometimes defendants think that it is easier to simply navigate the criminal justice system themselves, especially if they plan on accepting a plea bargain. While it is understandable why you would think this saves time or money, the fact is that for many charges, the penalties are left up to judicial discretion, and the prosecutor's recommendation can carry a lot of weight as well.

Know the facts about Maryland's DUI penalties

Every state in the country has been working hard to decrease the number of drunk drivers on their roads, but they all take just a little bit of a different approach. Before you visit Maryland, or before you get your first license in the state if you are a new driver, you should make sure you understand the particular nuances of the DUI statutes here so that you can make sure you steer clear of trouble while you are on the road.

Just how accurate are breath tests?

Over the past few decades, the fight to make driving safer for both vehicle operators and passengers has focused on reducing the number of people driving under the influence. The strategies used by law enforcement and the legislature have been broad, including public education, increased penalties for driving under the influence, and increased enforcement and detection. One of the keys to that success has been the rise of breath tests for drunk driving. As more and more data is gathered on those devices, though, it is becoming increasingly obvious that there are serious questions about their reliability and their results.

Inaccurate breath test results can create penalties for lawful drivers

Over the last two or three decades, much of the emphasis on traffic safety and enforcement has been built around raising awareness-and penalties-when it comes to driving under the influence. While each state has its own mix of requirements and penalties, one feature that is present nationwide is the use of the breath test as law enforcement's go-to measurement of intoxication-at least in the field. In most states, with the exception of South Dakota, it is even the preferred evidentiary measurement for intoxicated driving. What if the breath tests are less accurate than they are represented to be, though?

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