Frequently Asked Questions About
Drunk Driving, DUI, DWI in Maryland
When Stopped For DUI Suspicion, Should I Take Sobriety Tests?
The primary purpose of DUI sobriety checkpoints is to promote the safety on the road for the general public and protect possible DUI offenders from the consequences of their own actions. Sobriety checkpoints appear to have become a favorite of law enforcement officials as they have increased in frequency on many public roads. Jack Hyatt can give you the advice you need. Call 410-486-1800 now.
Although it is a balancing test, and each factual situion requires individual examination and evaluation, I would still suggest that you not submit to field sobriety tests. If you do not perform well, even if you drank nothing, the police may say you were under the influence. The impact of making such a decision also needs to be considered in the event a hearing will be requested before an administrative law judge.
If you have been drinking, then the police will note that you had the strong odor of alcohol on your breath and you did not perform well on the field sobriety test. If you refuse to take the field sobriety tests, then the police have less evidence against you to prove that you were intoxicated.
Should I Submit to an Intoxilyzer Machine For the Breath Test?
No. You should not take the test unless you have not had anything to drink. The machine has been proven to be faulty and has a rate of error. If the machine is not calibrated correctly, it may measure the alcohol in your blood incorrectly.
If so, you may be providing the police with evidence they can use to convict you. If you tell them that you will not take the test without a lawyer present, they will treat your comment as a refusal and so will the Court. However, I would advise telling the police that you will take the test they want to give you in the presence of your attorney.
If I'm stopped for driving under the influence, can a police officer ask me questions without reading me my rights?
When a sobriety checkpoint is approved, courts generally find that it was conducted for the purpose of verifying compliance with DUI laws, and are thus a valid exercise of police power. For aggressive and effective representation call Jack Hyatt now.
Sometimes. The answer depends on whether or not you are in police custody -- that is, whether you are subject to the restraints common to a formal arrest. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the police do not have to provide Miranda warnings during roadside questioning of a motorist detained pursuant to a traffic stop. Thus, roadside questioning about your drinking, drug-taking, or performance on field sobriety tests does not constitute "custodial interrogation." However, once you are arrested -- or restrained by the police in a manner consistent with arrest -- you must be read your Miranda rights.
This is my first DUI/DWI. Can I be sentenced to active prison time?
Yes. The law provides Judges the discretion to sentence anyone convicted of DUI or DWI to active jail time. Each case is different and mitigation defenses are available to lessen the change of active jail time.
I blew over .08. Shouldn't I just plead guilty?
Pleading guilty based on only a portion of your criminal process may leave a more relevant part ignored. This more relevant part may result in a Dismissal or finding of Not Guilty.
The reading on the Intoxilyzer is not necessarily dispositive.
Won't the case against me be dismissed?
Not necessarily. The law provides for convictions in the event that a person has a certain Blood Alcohol Content OR is appreciably impaired.
Why DUI Laws are so Tough:
The reason the state legislature has chosen to make the penalties for this offense so severe is because the thousands of people travel on streets and highways deserve to have safe roadways. Courts are mindful drunk driving is still one of the primary causes of injury and death on our highways.
QUESTION: What do police look for when searching for DUI suspects?
ANSWER: Police officers look for unusual operation of a motor vehicle. That may include such things
- Driving with a blinker, but not
- Driving with your headlights
turned off at night
- Driving slower than 10 miles
under the speed limit
- Weaving outside your lane
- Hugging the fog line or center
of the road
- Wide radius or abrupt
- Rapid breaking or
- Drifting between lanes or from
the roadway to the shoulder
- Following too closely
- Stopping in a traffic lane
- Stopping at a green light, or
failing to move when the light turns green
- Not stopping at a red light or
Horizontal gaze nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eyeball which occurs naturally as the eyes gaze to the side. Under normal circumstances, nystagmus occurs when the eyes are rotated at high peripheral angles. However, when a person is impaired by alcohol, nystagmus is exaggerated and may occur at lesser angles. An alcohol-impaired person will also often have difficulty smoothly tracking a moving object. In the HGN test, the officer observes the eyes of a suspect as the suspect follows a slowly moving object such as a pen or small flashlight, horizontally with his eyes. Contact an experienced lawyer to get your questions answered. Phone 410-486-1800 for Jack Hyatt.
is No Substitute For Experience."
JACK I. HYATT
Assistant State's Attorney
All Maryland Courts
State Bar Association
City Bar Association
County Bar Association
University of Baltimore
A.A. B.S. J.D.
Discharge U.S. Army
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