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Do you need an attorney if you are charged with a DUI?

When it comes to misdemeanor crimes, sometimes defendants think that it is easier to simply navigate the criminal justice system themselves, especially if they plan on accepting a plea bargain. While it is understandable why you would think this saves time or money, the fact is that for many charges, the penalties are left up to judicial discretion, and the prosecutor's recommendation can carry a lot of weight as well.

Defense attorneys make it their business to know how to negotiate with other court officers to help their clients navigate the system as quickly and effectively as possible. They can help you understand when it would be a better idea to fight rather than accepting a plea that does not work for you. They can also help you understand when a plea is the best option. When it comes to DUI defense, there is no better way to make sure you are protected than to use an experienced attorney.

When to request an attorney

If you are facing any charges, the sooner you request an attorney the better. In the case of a DUI, requesting an attorney right away means:

  • Having the opportunity to discuss any irregularities with the sobriety testing performed while the memories are still fresh.
  • Getting advice that can help protect you from revealing information law enforcement could easily misinterpret.
  • Making sure you have representation going into your arraignment, to help you obtain a more reasonable bail determination.

Starting to work with an attorney early also means being able to plan your defense strategy and decide what options you will and will not consider reasonable before the pressure of court dates is upon you. This is especially important if you believe you have been charged wrongfully, because experienced DUI attorneys will also understand the variety of environmental, medical and procedural issues that lead to innocent people being charged with driving under the influence.

Maryland's penalties for DUI

Maryland's DUI statutes provide a lot of leeway for judicial discretion, so even if your attorney helps you determine that a plea would be the best course of action, the size of the fines and the amount of time you spend in jail are both up for discussion. Since there is no minimum fine or jail time in the statute, your attorney's assistance during negotiations can make a huge difference.

If you have been charged with a DUI, make sure you start working with a qualified attorney immediately to protect your rights. That way, you will be able to mount the best defense for your situation.

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