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Be proactive to help minimize DUI arrest consequences

No one wants to be pulled over by law enforcement, especially if the reason is suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Maryland has some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation, and you face stiff penalties if you receive a conviction. What is involved, and how can you minimize the impact on your life?

What happens after a stop

If a law enforcement officer stops you on suspicion of DUI, he or she may ask you to submit to a breath test or field sobriety test. Here is your first chance to take a positive approach to the situation. Agree to take the test: to refuse is to lose your driver’s license. As it is, you may face license suspension for up to six months. Keep in mind that if this is your first offense, you could be looking at a fine of up to $1,000 plus the addition of 12 points to your driving record. If you are a repeat offender, the fine doubles, your license suspension could last for up to a year and you would serve mandatory jail time of five days. Depending on the circumstances, you could incur a prison term of up to two years.

Attending class and contacting the MVA

Your next positive step is to participate in an alcohol education program. Because you may have to attend such a program anyway, the court often looks favorably on someone who voluntarily signs up. You should also contact the Motor Vehicle Administration promptly. You have 10 days from the date of your arrest to complete paperwork that will provide you with the ability to drive to work, to school or to your alcohol education class.

Going into action

Being proactive after your arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol will help to minimize the penalties and steer you back on course with your life. With legal assistance, you may be able to reduce the fines significantly and even see those points on your record erased.

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