Criminal Defense FAQs

What does "driving under the influence per se." mean?

Per se means that you tested higher than 0.08% BAC. In this instance, the state doesn't need to show that the alcohol affected your driving ability, only that you tested above the allowable limit.

Is it normal to receive three (3) tickets for drunk driving when you're stopped?

Yes, Officers normally charge a violation (write you a ticket) of the (1) per se statute, (2) the classic DUI, and (3) the lesser offense of driving while impaired. This will be in addition to any speeding, red light, or lane change violation. In the end, however, only one DUI/DWI charge will be sentenced (if you are convicted).

Am I required to perform "field sobriety tests" by the side of the road after being stopped (one-leg stand, walk-and-turn, etc.)?

No, but of course if you don't you will likely be required to go to the station for a breathalyzer test.

What are the penalties for DUI?

For a first offense, a possible penalty of $1,000 and/or one year in jail.

For a second offense, a possible penalty of $2,000 and/or two years in jail.

For a third or subsequent offense, $3,000 and/or three years imprisonment.

In practice, the maximum penalties are rarely imposed; however, a number of factors enter into a judge's

determination of a sentence so you should always consult with an attorney before pleading in any way to a

DUI charge. Even if you "feel" you are guilty because you had some drinks, you should seek an attorney's

guidance on how to handle the legal aspects of a court case.

What happens to my driver's license after a DUI/DWI offense?

In addition to the court proceeding, an administrative proceeding at the MVA is usually started as well in order to suspend or revoke a driver's license who is suspected of driving under the influence. Be advised that there are very short time deadlines (in some cases 10 days after the arrest) in which a hearing must be requested in order to protect your rights. If you have been arrested for DUI or DWI, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible so that your rights (and driving privileges) aren't lost.

What is a "peace order"?

A peace order is an order issued by a judge or commissioner that typically will require the person named as a respondent in the order to stay away from the complaining party, or not to harass, stalk, threaten or assault the other party.

What is a family "protective order"?

A family protective order is similar to a peace order, but applies to people who are relatives or have been living together for 90 days within 1 year before the filing of the petition. The powers of a judge in a family petition are broader, and can include granting financial relief to a petitioner, as well as temporary custody of children.

Can a criminal arrest record be expunged from the public records?

Maryland law provides a number of circumstances in which criminal arrest records can be expunged, or removed, from public inspection. These include, among other things, if a defendant is acquitted, if charges are dropped (nolle prosequi) or dismissed, or if a person is arrested but no charges are ever filed. In some circumstances a person who has received a probation before judgment and three years have passed since the granting of the probation may also file.