Any driver that is pulled over by a police officer is most likely going to be told that they have committed a traffic offense. In Maryland, if you have been charged with a minor traffic offense, you mostly have the choice to appear in court or to just pay the fine associated with the offense. Many traffic offenses, even minor ones, include points. So, it makes most sense to ask for a hearing in order to request probation before judgment to avoid incurring points on your license because points result in insurance costs going up.
There are serious traffic offenses in Maryland as well, which are considered “must appear” offenses. You will actually see “must appear” on the citation you are issued. For instance, driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious traffic offense that you must appear in court for, and could result in jail time. Drivers accused of a DUI offense in Maryland could also lose their driver’s license and be ordered to pay a large fine.
When might a driver in Maryland face accusations of committing a DUI offense? Examples of when an officer will investigate for DUI/DWI:
1. After a motor vehicle collision
It is common practice for police officers to investigate a vehicle collision for DUI/DWI indicators. Even if you weren’t directly to blame for the crash, you could still find yourself being asked questions by an officer which are related to driving under the influence. The officer could simply ask if you drank any alcohol prior to driving, or the officer could ask you to perform the Standardized Feild Sobriety Test. Officers could also request a breath test, to see if you exceeded the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
2. Suspicious driving
Police officers in Maryland are always on the lookout for someone swerving in and out of their lane, braking erratically or showing other signs of negligence or recklessness while driving. Officers may suspect impairment if a driver is committing minor traffic offenses or is not driving in a safe manner.
3. After encountering a sobriety checkpoint
Maryland does allow police officers to conduct roadblocks or sobriety checkpoints. Officers briefly screen dozens of people in a short amount of time and may potentially engage in enhanced screening if a driver shows signs of impairment.
In each of these scenarios, there may be video evidence such as dash cam or body cam footage. People may be able to defend against DUI charges by presenting certain medical evidence or challenging the traffic stop that led to their arrest. Learning more about the basics of Maryland DUI charges and talking about your case with an attorney can help to fight back after a recent arrest.