Criminal Lawyer Harford, MD
Can You Successfully Fight DUI Charges?
Drunk driving is among the most common criminal charges in the United States. But that doesn’t mean it is treated lightly. A conviction for DUI or DWI can have serious consequences, including jail time, fines and loss of your license.
For these reasons and more, many people charged with a drunk-driving offense understandably want to know if they can successfully contest the charges they are facing. Is it worth fighting, or do you simply need to agree to a plea deal?
The answer to the question above is very case-specific and client-specific. That being said, it is important to note that DUI/DWI charges can often be contested even when it seems like the evidence is irrefutable. It is important not to make assumptions about your legal situation until you’ve spoken with an experienced Hartford, MD criminal lawyer. The team at Greenberg Law Offices has expertise in this area of the law and can advocate for your rights with focus, determination, compassion, and intensity.
Problems with Field Sobriety Tests
Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are the roadside tests of balance and coordination that officers ask drivers to go through if they are suspected of being intoxicated. While the tests can reveal intoxication, there are many legitimate reasons why a completely sober person might fail them. First and foremost: Not all of us are in good shape, fully able-bodied or coordinated. You could fail a test because you have poor balance or suffer from a medical condition. You could also fail because you have a hard time following directions at night on the side of a busy road.
In nearly all cases, police officers use FSTs as a way of justifying further testing (breathalyzers, etc.). But if the officer fails to conduct tests correctly or otherwise deviates from protocol, a Hartford, MD criminal lawyer may be able to insist that the test results not be treated as admissible evidence, which could call the rest of the traffic stop into question.
Problems with Testing Equipment
Roadside breath-testing devices must be regularly maintained and calibrated. If you suspect that the device gave an inaccurate reading in your roadside test, a Hartford, MD criminal lawyer can subpoena the service records for that particular device in an attempt to show that it was not correctly calibrated or suffered from other problems. This turn of events could invalidate test results and call the foundation of the prosecution’s case into question.
No Justification for the Traffic Stop
Police officers do not need probable cause to pull over a driver, but they do need reasonable suspicion that the driver committed a moving violation or that the vehicle suffered from a mechanical violation of some sort (like a burned-out tail light). After the stop has been initiated, the officer can inquire about drug and alcohol use if the driver shows evidence of intoxication.
That being said, the initial stop needs to be based on something legitimate. A cop cannot pull you over for simply “looking suspicious” or because he had a “hunch” that you were drunk. Without valid reasonable suspicion, the traffic stop is illegal. If the stop itself is illegal, we can petition to suppress any evidence obtained during the stop (which could essentially destroy the case).
The Right Attorney Can Make a Huge Difference
The options available to you will depend largely on the details of your case. But a good Hartford, Maryland criminal lawyer will know which questions to ask and how to investigate your case in order to give you the highest chance of success at trial. It’s important to connect with us as soon as you can to protect your rights. Don’t let fear of attorneys’ fees keep you from seeking the protection and advocacy you need right now.
The Cost of Hiring a Criminal Lawyer
If you were arrested for a DUI and were taking medication at the time, then we strongly advise contacting a criminal lawyer Harford, MD residents rely on from the Greenberg Law Offices. Millions of Americans take prescription medications on a daily or recurring basis. There may be various reasons why someone would need these prescriptions. Perhaps they were diagnosed with a disease, mental illness, or are recovering from an injury. For those who are taking medicine prescribed by their doctor, it is important to be aware of how these drugs can impact your ability to operate a vehicle.
We may think that because a drug is legal we are okay to drive while it is in our system. But unfortunately, drivers can still get arrested and charged with a drug-related DUI if their prescription medication impaired their driving, putting themselves and others at risk for harm.
DUI Offenses Due to Alcohol
A criminal lawyer Harford, MD clients can depend on, knows that the most common reason that DUI arrests happen is due to the driver being under the influence of alcohol while behind the wheel. Every state has DUI laws that prohibit a person from driving if they have the equivalent to or above a 0.08% blood alcohol content level. Research has shown that a person with this much alcohol in their body is likely to have their senses impacted, hindering their ability to drive safely. Someone who is drunk while driving may exhibit the following:
- Delayed response to traffic lights
- Run street lights and stop signs
- Erratic breaking and sudden accelerating without reason
- Speeding or driving so slow that it becomes a hazard to others
- Almost or actually hit a pedestrian, property, and/or another vehicle
- Inclination to drive recklessly and violate rules of the road
- Wavering from left to right within the lane or across other lanes
- Tailgating another vehicle for going too slow
- Driving aggressively and with road rage
DUI Offenses Due To Prescriptions
When you are given a prescription, your doctor and the pharmacy may give you warnings about whether you are okay to drive or not while taking that medication. It is your responsibility to listen to these recommendations and pay attention to how your body feels. Are you sluggish? Are you experiencing any of the potential side effects that could hinder your driving? You must communicate with your doctor about these side effects and find other means to get where you need to go besides driving yourself.
If a patrol officer pulls you over for driving in an unsafe manner, remember that you may be charged with a DUI even if there is zero alcohol in your system. Furthermore, you can also get a drug-related DUI if the prescription medication doesn’t necessarily hinder your motor skills, but when combining it with alcohol it does. If this sounds like a situation you are currently in, we suggest not just accepting the DUI charge, and letting a criminal lawyer Harford, MD residents rely on represent and advocate for you instead.
The Prosecution and Your Drug DUI Charge
After being arrested for a drug DUI charge, you will have to appear in court. It is strongly advised that you consult with a criminal lawyer Harford, MD community members trust, so you have someone to support you in court. The burden of proof will weigh on the prosecution, as they will have to show that you are guilty of a drug DUI beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Cost of Hiring a Criminal Lawyer
If you are facing criminal charges, you may have concerns about the cost of a criminal lawyer. What you should understand is that no two cases are exactly alike. One case might take 20 hours to build and another similar case may take 100 hours. This is why you rarely, if ever, see flat fees for criminal lawyers. That being said, the following can help you to understand the basic foundation of legal fees and the cost of a good criminal lawyer Harford, MD has to offer.
What Will a Criminal Lawyer Cost?
At the lower end, you can pay nothing for a criminal lawyer. Under the United States Constitution, you have the right to representation by a lawyer regardless of whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot pay for a private criminal lawyer, the court will appoint one for you. Before you can receive this legal aid, the court will review your income and assets. A judge will determine whether you can afford a lawyer, and if he or she believes you can, you may be obligated to hire your own.
Factors to Consider
If a judge denies you a court-appointed lawyer, you can represent yourself. Doing so might result in significant losses well beyond those that are financially related. By knowing what a criminal lawyer Harford, MD residents trust will charge you for your case, you can decide whether you should retain one.
Your Previous Criminal History
If you have a previous criminal record, your criminal lawyer will very likely need more time to prepare your case, represent you in court, and negotiate with the prosecutor. In other words, a criminal lawyer Harford, MD clients depend on, will need to work harder to secure you a favorable verdict. This could increase the cost of your legal fees.
The Lawyers’ Experience
The more experience your criminal lawyer has, the better his or her success rate may be – particularly with high profile cases. This will be a factor in their fees. The same applies to a lawyer who attended a prestigious law school over one that may be less known.
How Complicated the Case Is
In general, the severity of the charges will impact the complexity of the case. Although not always necessarily true, a misdemeanor charge is typically less complicated than a felony charge. The more complex a case is, the more hours will be needed to prepare and litigate the case. This will translate into higher fees.
Your Lawyers’ Fee Structure
In addition to the amount of money a lawyer will charge you, it is important that you understand their fee structure. For instance, some lawyers will charge a flat fee and others will charge by the hour. If you have a strict budget, or you believe the case will take a lot of time, a flat rate criminal lawyer may benefit you. If you have an ample amount of money or believe your case can be resolved quickly, a lawyer who charges by the hour may be more ideal to your situation.
The average cost for a criminal lawyer to handle a standard case is $5,000. Again, it cannot be stressed enough, that your case could be more or less. Finally, although this number represents a large expense, it may save you from having to pay huge fines or even spending time in jail or prison. If you would like to speak with a criminal lawyer Harford, MD residents trust, please call the Greenberg Law Offices today.