You’ve been pulled over and charged with a DUI in Maryland. The consequences can be severe. Your license will be suspended for six months minimum, you could face up to 1 year in jail, and you may be forced to operate your car with an ignition interlock device in the future. Maryland DUI laws are constantly changing, and finding an experienced DUI defense attorney is essential.
What comes first?
The first question in a DUI case is not whether you were legally intoxicated or not. Police officers do not have the right to stop you for no reason. Before your blood-alcohol content even becomes an issue, a DUI lawyer will first need to determine if the traffic stop was lawful.
The fourth amendment of the United States Constitution requires that a police officer have probable cause before you can be detained. That means that the officer had to have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that you were breaking the law. Speeding, driving erratically, driving with a broken taillight, or failure to use a turn signal is enough. Once the officer observes any suspicious or illegal activity, he has the right to pull you over and ask you questions about your behavior. It is usually at that point that you will be asked if you have been drinking.
The Exclusionary Rule
An experienced DUI attorney will be able to look at the facts and the evidence and determine if the probable cause for the traffic stop was sufficient. If not, then anything that happened after the stop is not admissible in court. Without the evidence from the field sobriety test, the case can be thrown out.
Sounds far-fetched? All you have to do is look at what happened in Howard County earlier this year, where a judge threw out a DUI charge because of what looked like a quota policy for making drunk-driving arrests. As a result, any evidence that was obtained during that stop was unlawful and not admissible in court.
Our DUI defense attorneys have the experience and expertise to challenge the probable cause of your stop and end the case right there. Call us today for a free consultation and complete evaluation of your DUI case.