With stay-at-home orders lifting and summer temperatures rising, more and more individuals are heading to sunny destinations like Ocean City, MD and beyond. However, if you or someone you know decides to drink and drive, some fun in the sun can quickly take a turn downhill.
Under Maryland law (Maryland Transportation Code Annotated § 21-902), driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious traffic and/or criminal offense that will stay on your criminal record. Because of the serious consequences, it’s important to know how to respond to a potential charge. Make sure you understand what steps to take by familiarizing yourself with five common mistakes people make in DUI cases.
If you’ve been charged in the Ocean City, MD area, don’t hesitate to contact the Law Office of C. Gregory Coburn. Call today to secure reliable and experienced legal representation.
1. Drinking and Driving
The easiest way to avoid being charged with driving under the influence is to not drink and drive. Every day, almost 30 people die in the United States in accidents caused by drunk driving—that adds up to 10,000 individuals a year. Even if you don’t feel tipsy, any amount of alcohol can affect your driving ability by decreasing brain function, muscle control, and logical reasoning. The safety risk and legal liabilities are simply not worth it.
2. Assuming DUIs Are Just for Alcohol
Although DUIs commonly refer to driving under the influence of alcohol, these charges can be applied to an individual driving under the influence of any mind-altering substance. This includes alcohol, illegal drugs, and even marijuana in some states, as well as legal substances like prescription or over-the-counter medications.
If you’re pulled over for driving under the influence and a controlled substance is found in your car, you’re going to be charged with drug possession as well. It’s important to consciously evaluate how fit you are to drive even if all you’ve taken is some heavy cold medicine. If you’re feeling at all fuzzy, find alternative means of transportation.
3. Paying Traffic Tickets
When an officer pulls you over, DUI charges usually are accompanied by some sort of traffic ticket, such as for speeding, driving recklessly, or illegal lane changes, which usually involve a payable fine. However, paying those fines before your DUI court date is akin to admitting guilt and can hurt your case. In addition, an experienced attorney can often get these tickets dropped as part of a plea deal, so definitely wait to pay up.
4. Taking (Or Not Taking!) Tests
There are a host of tests police officers may decide to administer to determine whether or not someone is under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances, ranging from field sobriety tests, breathalyzers and blood test. Refusing to participate in some of these tests is in your best interest, however there are consequences regarding a refusal to take certain tests.
Learn the rules for your state so you don’t make any missteps in a DUI situation. Read this article for an overview of which DWI or DUI tests you can refuse in Maryland.
5. Waiting to Secure Legal Counsel
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, don’t wait to contact an experienced attorney. Having an experienced lawyer on your side will take the guesswork out of what steps you need to take.
The Law Office of C. Gregory Coburn has been serving the Ocean City, Maryland area since 1988. Our DUI lawyer is ready and eager to start building a strong case on your behalf while taking into account your unique circumstances. Our 30+ years of experience helps us ensure all your bases are covered and secure you the best possible outcome.