Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid in a Maryland DUI / DWI Case

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1. Not Hiring a DUI Attorney Immediately - DUI / DWI in Maryland is a criminal charge and carries with it the possibility of serious jail time. Further, with a DUI comes the possibility of losing your right to drive if a timely request for a hearing is not filed with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. A competent Maryland DUI attorney should understand the rules of law and evidence. In countless cases the attorneys at Portner & Shure have proven to Judges, through their understanding of the law, that our clients cases should be dismissed under the law. Hire a competent Maryland DUI / DWI attorney immediately after your arrest.

2. Trying to Save a Buck - You know the old saying, you get what you pay for. This applies in all aspects of life. Why in the world anyone would hire a cheap DUI attorney when the possibilities of jail time, loss of driving privileges, and a permanent record are at stake, amazes me. Don't try to save in a Maryland DWI / DUI case.

3. Failing to Request a Timely Maryland MVA Hearing - After your arrest you receive a temporary license which instructs you on the time requirements for filing a hearing with the Motor Vehicle Administration. If you don't meet the filing deadline, or don't file a request at all you will lose your privilege to drive in the State of Maryland for a period of at least 45 days. Furthermore, if you don't request a hearing and then drive while your license is suspended this is actually a separate and very serious traffic offense that can result in a jail sentence. Portner & Shure Maryland DUI attorneys present numerous defenses at MVA hearings which often result in our clients retaining their privileges to drive in Maryland.

4. Understanding a DUI / DWI Arrest in Maryland - Yes, it's a traffic offense. However, its also considered a criminal charge and a conviction that will appear on your permanent record. Hence, it could affect your future employment, as well as your immigration status, and insurance rates. The conviction remains on your record and cannot be removed. Fees you may incur from a Maryland DUI include attorneys fees, Court costs, and fines, alcohol counseling, insurance rate increases, license re-instatement fees, car storage and towing costs.

5. Failing to Subpoena the Investigating Police Officer at the Maryland DUI / DWI MVA Hearing - The investigating police officer is not required to attend the MVA hearing. Often cross-examination of the officer sheds light on the defects of the report. However, without the Subpoena and the cross-examination of the officer, the report itself comes into evidence. Many Maryland DUI attorneys don't understand the importance of forcing the officer to appear at the hearing, and therefore, lose their case before the administrative judge.

6. Negotiating with the Prosecutor - The State's Attorney will attempt to talk to you about your Maryland DUI case. In doing so he may elicit further statements from you which in fact hurt your case. The prosecutor is attempting to gain a conviction, or a guilty finding, so talking to the prosecutor without an attorney is simply a bad idea. Furthermore, the State is often covering up its own weaknesses when talking to defendants. It won't mention that its police officer, for example, is unavailable or left the force. Instead, the State will quickly try to secure a plea in these Maryland DUI cases.

7. Procrastinating - Hire a Maryland DUI attorney immediately. First, as we mentioned above, it assures no deadlines are missed with MVA. Second, the attorney can begin working on a defense and requesting discovery from the State. Third, the Maryland DUI lawyer can begin to work on the things you will need in Court to show you took the matter seriously; including alcohol counseling; character witness; letters or testimony.

8. Hiring an Attorney Who Has Done Less Than 100 Maryland DUI / DWI's - Experience matters. The attorneys at Portner & Shure have done hundreds of Maryland DUIs. As a result, they have seen it all, know many of the Judges and their tendencies, and as a result can help you design your DUI defense to the actual jurisdiction you appear in.

9. Not Doing Proper Discovery - I can't tell you how many times I have seen DUI attorneys in both the Montgomery County and Howard County Court houses with files that are no more than a piece of paper. I simply don't understand that kind of lawyering. A Maryland DUI lawyer has an obligation to request and review the State's file and all of the evidence in that file. A DUI file should include two police reports, a breath sample report and citations.

10. Assuming There is a General Rule on Taking the Breath Test and Field Sobriety Test - The impact of taking the breath test may depend on what number DUI offense this is, or how intoxicated they actually are. Penalties vary with each of the above, as does the proper legal advice in these situations.

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