June 2010 Archives

DUI: Should You Worry About Losing Your Job?

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In many cases of DUI or DWI where it is a subsequent offense, there is a potential for serving jail time. If you have a good job, therefore, you have concerns that you could lose your employment. In these situations your DUI or DWI attorney should look into in-house alcohol treatment instead of incarceration. Many of these facilities will allow you to seek treatment during the evening and work during the day. It is effective and serves the purpose of punishment and alcohol treatment while allowing a defendant to keep his job. Another alternative is weekend jail time. Obviously, this gives the DUI or DWI defendant an opportunity to work during the week, but serve time during the weekend.

Judges have gotten tougher in recent years on sentences in light of certain politicians and state's attorneys offices pushing for harsher penalties. In some cases this is very ironic. Douglas F. Gansler is a former State's Attorney for Montgomery County and now is the Maryland Attorney General. His office pushed for stiffer DUI sentences. Perhaps this was done simply for political gain. One has to believe this in light of the fact that the Sun Paper just reported Gansler's Director of Civil Rights, Carl Snowden, was just arrested for his third DWI in the last eight years. Snowden is actually chairman of the Annapolis Housing Authority and Gansler appointed him in 2007, all the while knowing he had two prior DUI's, one in 2005 and one in 2002. You have to wonder, would someone hire you if you were arrested three times for DUI in eight years? Would you keep your job? This is your prior history, you might want to consider seeking a Maryland government job.

If you have any questions about your DUI/DWI case, call our Maryland DUI/DWI attorneys at Portner & Shure for a free consultation.

Charged with DUI / DWI? Know Your Judge

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A Judge in Maryland or Virginia will decide your sentence in a DUI offense. It amazes me, therefore, that countless attorneys will go before a judge without knowing his or her tendencies. For example, some judges on subsequent offenses will allow the sentence to be done on weekends, others will not. Weekend time may allow a defendant to keep his job. Further, with weekend time you are not placed with the general jail population (real bad guys). In most instances you serve two days of a weekend, but because you go in on a Friday night, you get credit for three days.

Additionally, some judges will inquire as to the defendant's entire criminal history, where as others will just ask the State's recommendation. This could make a real difference at sentencing. A defendant with numerous prior drug convictions will not be viewed in the same manner as someone with none. Therefore, isn't it better if the prior drug convictions are not a matter of discussion? Lastly, most judges like a defendant and an attorney who are prepared. Make sure you have been evaluated, completed most of the classes, and if its more than a first offense, have someone from the treatment facility there to speak on your behalf. I am amazed how few DUI attorneys take this last step. I think its imperative that someone from the Right Turn, for example, appear in Court with my DUI and DWI clients. It often shows the client has taken the matter seriously and gives the Court a better perspective as what the defendant has done with respect to treatment.

For a free consultation contact our Maryland and Virginia DUI/DWI attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A.

Maryland's PBJ Statute provides that,

"[W]hen a defendant pleads guilty or nolo contendere or is found guilty of a crime, a court may stay the entering of judgment, defer further proceedings and place the defendant on probation subject to reasonable conditions if the defendant gives written consent after determination of guilt or acceptance of a nolo contendere plea. CP§220(b) (1).

A recent case, Motor Vehicle Administration vs. Jaigobin, No. 89, Sept. Term 2009, looked at whether a drivers commercial drivers license should still be suspended for one year after he was given a Probation Before Judgment (PBJ). The defendant Leonard Jaigobin was charged with driving while under the influence perse. He was found guilty, but was given a PBJ. Thereafter, he was issued a notice from the Motor Vehicle Administration indicating his commercial drivers license would be disqualified for one year pursuant to TR 16-812. The issue was whether a PBJ is considered a "conviction" under the Transportation Code. Maryland's highest court held that it was and Jaigobin's commercial license was disqualified for one year.

It is important to know all the ramifications of a PBJ. Many Maryland DUI/DWI attorneys do not. If you have any questions about whether a PBJ is the right deal for you in your DUI/DWI case, call our Maryland DUI/DWI attorneys at Portner & Shure for a free consultation.