DUI Defense Lawyer and DWI Attorney in Maryland and D.C. Area
DUI Defense Lawyer and DWI Attorney of the Maryland and D.C. Area
If you smell like alcohol, have red eyes, slurred speech, or otherwise appear tipsy or intoxicated, your chances of arrest after being pulled over are very high.
While being arrested for a DUI does not automatically result in a conviction or loss of your driver’s license in Maryland, the legal process of fighting DUI or DWI charges can be complex.
Here are some things that you should know.
What Are the Police Looking For In Your Driving?
Law enforcement officers are trained to spot certain driving behaviors that could indicate that the person behind the wheel is intoxicated.
These behaviors include but are not limited to:
- Lane straddling
- Wide turning radius
- Almost striking an object or vehicle
- Speeding or driving well below the posted speed limit
- Stopping without cause in a traffic lane
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Braking erratically
- Signaling inconsistently with driving actions
- Slow response to traffic signals
- Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
- Not using headlights
Any of the above actions give a law enforcement officer probable cause to pull you over.
The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution allows citizens to be safe from “unreasonable search and seizure,” and states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
However, the 4th Amendment does not define what probable cause actually is.
Generally speaking, probable cause is the reasonable ground for the belief that an individual is guilty of a crime.
If you were observed driving with any of the above behaviors, a law enforcement officer would have probable cause to pull you over in Annapolis Md of Anne Arundel County
What Are Police Looking For After You’ve Been Pulled Over in Annapolis Md of Anne Arundel County?
Once you are pulled over, law enforcement officers are trained to look for a variety of indicators that may suggest you are intoxicated.
These indicators include but are not limited to:
- Odor of alcohol on breath
- Flushed face
- Red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot eyes
- Slurred speech
- Fumbling with wallet when retrieving your license
- Failure to comprehend the officer’s questions
- Combative, argumentative, jovial or other “inappropriate” attitude
- Staggering when exiting vehicle
- Swaying/instability on feet
- Leaning on car for support
- Soiled, rumpled, disorderly clothing
- Stumbling while walking
- Disorientation regarding time and place
- Inability to follow directions
If the officer observes any of these indicators or otherwise believes that you are intoxicated, he or she may ask you to step out of the vehicle for further questioning and/or sobriety testing.
You are not required to answer potentially incriminating questions. Politely refuse to answer any questions regarding the investigation without an attorney present.
How to Act After Being Pulled Over
Being pulled over and questioned about driving while intoxicated can be a frightening experience. It may be difficult to fully understand what is going on or what will happen next.
Some police officers record or video tape the arrest, testing and/or booking process. This video footage can and will be used in court. How you behave after being pulled over can either be used by your attorney in your favor, or it can be used by the prosecution against you.
Always be on your best behavior after being pulled over in Annapolis Md, Anne Arundel County. Be polite and respectful to the police officer who is questioning you. You do not have to be rude or angry when invoking your rights to decline certain testing or requesting to speak to an attorney.
The following are some tips on how to act when being pulled over to decrease the chance that you will be arrested:
- Answer the officer’s questions simply and respectfully, usually with a “yes” or “no” answer
- Keep your hands on the wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock where the officer can see them
- Only reach for your wallet after the officer asks you to. If your wallet or other information is under the seat, let the officer know and ask permission to get it before reaching for it
- Do not use profanity when speaking to the officer
Field Sobriety Testing in Annapolis Md of Anne Arundel County
Field sobriety testing, also known as “roadside sobriety tests,” are physical tests that a law enforcement officer can use to help conclude if you are intoxicated.
However, field sobriety tests are completely voluntary. You do not have to agree to perform any of these tests.
You can politely let the officer know that you are aware that field sobriety tests are voluntary, and that you respectfully decline to submit to them.
If you perform these tests, you may be arrested anyway. They are not objective tests, and the officer will use the results against you in court.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests
Although officers use a wide range of field sobriety tests, there are only three that are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and are considered “standard” field sobriety tests.
These consist of a battery of three tests:
Heel-to-Toe (or “Walk & Turn”)
During this test, the police officer will ask you to imagine a straight line and take nine heel-to-toe steps directly on the line. The officer is watching to see whether you stay on your imaginary line, or if you stumble, fall, or waver. You will then be asked to turn on your heel and come back, taking nine more heel-to-toe steps back towards the officer.
During this test, the law enforcement officer will ask you to stand on one foot and lift your other foot approximately six inches off the ground, with your toe pointed. The officer will then ask you to count to 30 by one-thousands. The officer is watching to see whether you are able to maintain perfect balance or if you lose track of your counting.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
The term “nystagmus” is a medical term for a distinctive eye oscillation. When a person drinks alcohol in excess in Annapolis Md of Anne Arundel County and is intoxicated, their eyes may shake or appear to vibrate when looking horizontally. The HGN test is a relatively recent development in DUI investigation.
The officer attempts to estimate the angle at which the eye begins to jerk — if this occurs sooner than 45 degrees, it theoretically indicates a blood-alcohol concentration over .05%. The smoothness of the eye’s tracking an object is also a factor, as is the type of jerking when the eye is as far to the side as it can go. Although this test is not accepted by the medical community, it continues to be widely used by law enforcement.
If the officer believes you are intoxicated, you will be requested to take a chemical test. Under Maryland law, you have the option to submit to the test or refuse it.
If you refuse chemical testing, you could face:
- 120 day license suspension for a first offense
- 1 year license suspension for a second and third offense
It is often in your best interest to submit to chemical testing; however, you can also choose what type of chemical testing you will submit to.
Pre-Arrest Preliminary Alcohol Screening
A pre-arrest preliminary alcohol screening is typically conducted with a portable on-scene breath analyzer. An officer may lead you to believe that you must submit to chemical testing via a breathalyzer test, however, this is untrue.
This test is completely voluntary and you have the absolute right to refuse this type of breath test without penalties or consequences.
Under the “implied consent law” you have a legal obligation to take a chemical test. This is a breath or blood test and you have a choice about whether or not to take it.
You can request that a blood test be taken instead, and the officer must take you directly to a hospital or other approved testing facility to have your blood tested. The facility must be able to follow correct blood taking procedures and must be able to keep the chain of evidence intact.
You also have the right to speak to an attorney before you submit to or refuse a chemical test. Since the consequences of doing either can be severe, consulting with a DUI attorney first is almost always in your best interest.
Contact Attorney John Adams Today
It is imperative that once arrested for a DUI or DWI, you hire an experienced DUI lawyer DWI attorney immediately.
Contact former prosecutor, John Adams, for a high-powered, relentless criminal defense lawyer to fight aggressively for you in the face of DUI or DWI charges
While few things are more frightening than being criminally charged for driving under the influence of alcohol, you do have rights under Maryland law.
Attorney John Adams can help protect your rights and increase the chances that the charges against you will be dismissed or reduced by utilizing a creative and strong defense.