How do I find a Maryland DUI Lawyer?
Maryland has some of the strictest DWI laws in the United States. In order to be arrested and charged with a DUI, a driver must have a Blood Alcohol Content of .08. However, an arrest can also be made for a DWI if the driver has a BAC of .07. A Maryland DUI arrest will trigger two separate legal actions, one in traffic court and another in criminal court to determine criminal penalties. The following are some of the consequences that could be faced for a first time DWI offense:
– A minimum of 45 days suspension of your driver’s license.
– Up to a $1,000 fine and up to 12 points on your driving record which can greatly impact insurance rates.
– Up to a year in prison dependent on the surrounding circumstances of your arrest.
Because of what is at stake, it is extremely important that you seek the help of a Maryland DUI lawyer when facing these charges.
What to tell your attorney
You will need to tell your Maryland DUI lawyer everything about your case, including the events leading up to your arrest, the police’s actions during your arrest, and what happened after your arrest. You will need to know if you went through sobriety tests and how your BAC was determined, whether by breathalyser or by blood test. While a DUI arrest may be embarrassing, you must tell your lawyer everything in a truthful manner, even if you feel certain information will hurt your case. Your lawyer will be held to the confidentiality standards that will only allow them to disclose the information that you allow them to.
Where to look for an attorney
Maryland DUI lawyers and firms can be found through different forms of advertisements and lawyer listing services. Lawyers may advertise on television, radio, or in newspapers. Often, these advertisements will make claims and promises that just aren’t reasonable. You should always be cautious when selecting a lawyer that makes unreasonable claims. Instead, always confirm that your lawyer has the necessary experience in DUI law and has helped past clients who are in a similar situation as you are.
Use the internet to help you find the information that you need. The internet can provide very helpful information, however it can be difficult to find it and sort through it. This website can provide a great start for your search, as you can find and compare lawyers in your area using the search function at the top of the page. The site also provides a question and answer service that can help you if you are unsure of anything during your search.
Do I need a specialist?
DUI defense is a highly specialized area of the law that requires experience and knowledge to practice. DUI laws are often changing and it is necessary that lawyers focus their time and energy on these issues. It is highly recommended that you seek the services of a Maryland DUI lawyer if you are facing charges, especially considering the harsh consequences that are at stake. It is not worth the risk to allow a lawyer that does not specialize in this area to represent you.
Preparing for an appointment
Before meeting with your lawyer, prepare by gathering any important documents you may have that relate to your case. A Maryland DUI lawyer can work most efficiently if you provide them with a police report, medical records, and court documents. You may or may not have these documents but check to see if you can get them before your meeting. It will also be important that you can provide as detailed of information as you can to your lawyer. Review any specific information, such as names, dates, places, and times to provide to your lawyer. All of this information will be very important for your lawyer to evaluate your case and begin the process of defending you.
Try to prepare questions in advance of your meeting, as you will want to know certain information but may forget to ask such questions when you go to your lawyer’s office.
Evaluating Experience & Education
All Maryland lawyers are required to graduate from an accredited law school. They then must meet the ethical requirements established by the Maryland Bar Association and pass the Maryland State Bar Examination. Always make sure that your lawyer has met these requirements. Just as important, make sure that any lawyer you choose to hire has had the proper experience advising and representing DUI clients in the past. You should verify any claims, especially if made through an advertisement or lawyer listing service.
Personality & Values
What you should be looking for when searching through Maryland DUI lawyers is for a lawyer who has a well established practice specializing in DUI defense. They should be well organized and never miss deadlines or meeting dates. DUI lawyers need to have good negotiation skills, as they will need to meet with other lawyers and legal professionals to try to get deals for their clients. Always keep in contact with your lawyer and your DUI lawyer should likewise keep you updated on your case and ask you for your input on important decisions that need to be made.
Always be wary of unethical behavior by your lawyer. While most Maryland DUI lawyers are trustworthy and hardworking professionals, there may be some who will represent you without having your best interests in mind. Watch out for unreasonable billing and expenses, lawyers who miss deadlines, or other behavior that you would consider questionable. If you have a problem with a lawyer acting in an inappropriate manner, contact the Maryland Bar Association to get further information and to file a complaint if it is necessary.
Rates, Fees & Retainers
Most Maryland DUI lawyers will require an upfront fee before beginning to work on your DUI defense. Always be aware of the expenses your defense will cost and keep a record of all fee agreements made between you and your lawyer.
For more serious DUI defenses, lawyers in Maryland will require a retainer fee, which is an upfront fee credited towards future legal work, which is calculated on a hourly basis. These lawyers may also conduct work additional to this amount, so always be cautious when agreeing to these fees. Hourly rates can vary anywhere between $100 to $400 an hour and can quickly add up.
Less serious DUI cases may be charged on a single fee basis. In these cases, the lawyer will only charge a one time fee for complete legal representation, These can range anywhere between $800 to $4,000 depending on how much legal work will be required.
Interviewing your attorney
Ask the following when meeting with a Maryland DUI lawyer:
What type of fees do you charge and what do you expect will be my total expenses?
What are the chances that I can avoid the serious consequences?
How long should my case take?
What are your experiences with similar cases like mine?
When can I contact you and when will you contact me for updates?
Anytime you are charged with a DUI offense or DWI offense, it is very important that you are represented by a qualified DUI lawyer. Maryland has some of the stiffest penalties for DUI charges, so be sure to contact a lawyer to discuss your options. Lawyers with specific DUI experience will know how to best approach your case, how to negotiate with the prosecuting lawyers, and how to tailor your case to the specific judge that you are assigned.
Once you hire a DUI lawyer in Maryland, you should expect your case to proceed in two separate actions, one in traffic court and the other in criminal court. Traffic court will decide whether to suspend your license, how many points, and what traffic fines you should pay considering the facts of your DUI arrest. The criminal part will determine if you should face criminal fines, community service hours, or if you will face prison time. Both of these proceedings should be taken very seriously and should be handled by a DUI lawyer. Maryland residents should always be aware of the DUI laws while operating a vehicle.