Here are a few questions that are frequently asked.
Do I need an attorney for my injury/accident case?
In most cases representation will help you get more compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies sometimes make quick offers to entice injured persons to settle early before seeking an attorney or treatment. They also attempt to get a recorded statement in an effort to lock in your statement which can potentially reduce the amount of compensation you can get in your case. Always consult an attorney immediately after an accident and do not give a statement.
Should I give a statement to law enforcement if I am detained or arrested?
Never give a statement to law enforcement! Police officers routinely state the grave possibility of jail and promise leniency if you give a statement. DO NOT FALL FOR THE BAIT! The prosecutor's office prosecutes and has the authority to make deals, not the arresting officer or detective. Giving a statement normally gives law enforcement information they do not have & makes your defense attorney's job more difficult. Always ask for your attorney when questioned. It does not imply guilt.
Will hiring an attorney to negotiate on my behalf scare the other side?
Absolutely not! Attorneys are skilled in negotiating and we know how to approach all types of situations. We possess the appropriate temperament that makes the opposing side feel at ease. Always tell your attorney your bottom line so they can work to get you a result that exceeds your expectation.
What happens if I get pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence or impaired by alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance?
If you are pulled over by a police officer remember everything you say or do could be recorded by police car camera or the officer's body camera. Watch what you say or do. The officer most likely pulled you over for a traffic offense. If the officer smells or sees alcohol/drugs at some point during the stop they will ask you to do a field sobriety test. This test is to determine if you are driving while impaired. If the officer believes that you are intoxicated over the legal limit from alcohol, on the street they will attempt to get a preliminary alcohol concentration of the amount of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. That reading taking on the street is not admissible in court.
You have the right to refuse to submit to the test. If you refuse, you limit certain rights with respect to having a drivers license in the State of Maryland. There are mandatory suspension times if you refuse. The officer will arrest you and take you to the percent or barracks. The officers will ask you again if you will submit to the test. If you refuse again they will mark "No-Alcohol concentration test, refused," on you Advice of Rights DR-015 form. If you are arrested for driving while under the influence of a drug or controlled dangerous substance (CDS) the officer may take you to give a blood specimen. If you refuse the officer will mark "No-Drug or CDS test refused," on the Advise of Rights form. The officer will sign the Advice of Rights form and ask you to sign it also. It is important that you have time to read & understand the long Advice of Rights form before signing. You will get a pink carbon copy of this form after you are released.
You will receive another document that will allow you to request a Motor Vehicle Hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). You must fill out that form, add your attorney's information and submit it with the $150 fee within a short amount of days. DO THIS IMMEDIATELY! This hearing is different from your court date in the District Court of Maryland. This hearing request deals with the MVA and your ability to drive in the State of Maryland. There are ways to modify a mandatory suspension at the hearing at the OAH even if you refuse to take the test.
Hire an attorney for your District Court matter and the Office of Administrative Hearings MVA matter. If the Administrate Judge at the OAH concludes in their Findings of Fact that you violated MD. Code Ann., Transportation section 16-205.1 they will weigh the adverse effect upon your (the Licensee's) need to drive for employment or alcoholic prevention purposes verses the State of Maryland's need to maintain safety on the public highways.
At the OAH hearing your license will probably be suspended but that suspension may be modified. The Administrative Judge may modify the suspension of your driving privilege to a restrictive license (under some circumstances). In other cases, your suspension may be stayed to allow you to drive if you participate in the MVA's Ignition Interlock Program.
If I take or refuse to submit to the test to measure the alcohol concentration in my system what are my MVA penalties in Maryland?
If you have a alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at the time of testing, your Maryland driver's license will be confiscated, you will be issued an Order of Suspension and, if eligible, a temporary license valid for 45 days. (This is why you need to request a MVA hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings within 30 days of the Order of Suspension).
REFUSING TO SUBMIT- If you refuse to submit to a test, your suspension shall be 270 days for a 1st offense and 2 years for a 2nd or subsequent offense.
IF YOU SUBMIT- If your test result is an alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 but less than 0.15, your suspension shall be 180 days. If the offense involves a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of another person, your suspension shall be 6 months for a 1st offense and 1 year for a 2nd or subsequent offense.
If your test result is an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more, your suspension shall be 180 days for a 1st offense and 270 days for a 2nd or subsequent offense. If the offense involves a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of another person, your suspension shall be 1 year for a 1st offense and for a 2nd or subsequent offense your license shall be revoked.
If your refuse to take a test, or take a test with a result of 0.15 or more, you shall be ineligible for modification of your suspension or the issuance of a restricted license, unless you participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program under Maryland Transportation Article section 16-404.1.