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Howard County DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer

IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED A DUI AND/OR DWI CHARGE IN MARYLAND, IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONTACT A LAWYER RIGHT AWAY SO YOU DO NOT MISS FILING DEADLINES TO PROTECT YOUR DRIVING PRIVILEGES. CALL 301-345-0122 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION OR CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE AN ONLINE FORM.

Leonard R. Stamm has been representing drivers accused of drunk driving in Ellicott City for almost 30 years. He was formerly President of the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys' Association. He also the Dean of the National College for DUI Defense. (Click here to read and watch a video of his Dean's Address). He wrote West's Maryland DUI Law, the authoritative text on Maryland drunk driving law. He is recognized as a Super Lawyer, a Best Lawyer, he is given the highest rating of AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, and Avvo rates him as a "10-Superb."

Whether in Columbia, or Ellicott City, or in Laurel, just north of the Prince George's County line, police officers late at night are patrolling looking for drivers to stop for minor violations on the supposition that most drivers out very late at night have also been drinking before driving. There are also numerous undercover officers assigned to concert duty at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia who carefully watch people buying booze to spot obviously younger patrons, often obtaining alcohol from another person who purchased it legally. Police give out numerous citations for underage drinking at Merriweather Post.

The Maryland State Police also patrol Interstate 95 in Howard County and produce their fair share of arrests from I 95. Most State Police vehicles now contain in-car video cameras that can videotape the defendant's arrest so there is little dispute as to what happened. In these cases, the State Police routinely provides copies of the videotapes to drivers or their lawyers so that the defendant may prepare for trial.

Drunk driving defense is one of the most complex areas of law, requiring extensive experience and expertise. The lawyer must carefully review all aspects of the State's case, from the basis for the stop, the officer's decision to require the driver to exit the car to perform standardized field sobriety tests, the administration and interpretation of standardized field sobriety tests, the advice of penalties for failing or refusing a chemical breath or blood test, and the administration of the test itself. It is unusual to see a case where there is not some defense available to beat or reduce the charges. In most cases, prosecutors offer plea deals that are no better than what would happen after losing a trial. So there is usually little downside to fighting the case in court and at the MVA.

Before the initial consultation with a lawyer, clients may be sent extensive questionnaires to enable to lawyer to properly assess the case. In many cases, the driver may have a medical condition which the officer is confusing with signs of impairment by alcohol. At the consultation, the lawyer with review the events in detail, to determine the likely defenses at the MVA and in court. It is important to act quickly after an arrest, because if the driver wishes to contest a proposed suspension by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration for failing or refusing a breath test, a hearing request must be mailed with the required $150 fee, within 30 days from the arrest.

In court, and at MVA license suspension hearings, a lawyer may be able to challenge what the officer did or failed to do during the investigation. Although most DUI cases in Anne Arundel County (Annapolis or Glen Burnie) are resolved by means of a guilty plea, in most DUIs there is also no downside to taking the case to trial. Most judges impose no trial penalty, so the sentence, even if the defendant is found guilty, is rarely more harsh than the sentence imposed after a guilty plea. The State must establish a valid basis for the initial stop, for getting the driver out of the car to perform standardized field sobriety tests, for the arrest, and must establish compliance with all relevant procedures for the breath or blood test. The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver is impaired by alcohol as opposed to other drugs and/or medications or medical conditions that can mimic the signs and symptoms of excessive alcohol use.

If the defense is successful and the court finds the defendant not guilty, all court and police records may be expunged. In court in Howard County, the typical sentence on a first offense where there is no accident or injuries, if found guilty, is probation before judgment. Offenders are usually placed on probation long enough to complete an alcohol education or treatment program and attend a MADD victim impact program (a one night meeting where offenders listen to drunk driving victims). Second offenders frequently serve a couple of weekends in jail.

At the administrative hearing, the driver faces a loss of license or privilege to drive for 45 days for a first test reading of .08 or more, and 90 days for a second or subsequent test, for 90 days for a for a first test reading of .15 or more, and 180 days for a second or subsequent test of .15 or more, and120 days for a first refusal and one year for a second or subsequent test. There are a number of defenses to the suspension that can be raised by a good lawyer.

Unfortunately, most lawyers in Howard County assume the case is too difficult to win in court or at the MVA and fail to challenge the State's case. Some lawyers never challenge the State's case. This can be a huge mistake since most DUI cases have issues that can be raised in defense, and with zero or very minimal penalty. In other words, the result of fighting and losing is rarely worse than just pleading guilty or not requesting a hearing at the MVA. So why would you want to choose a lawyer who will not fight your case? When interviewing a lawyer, you should ask if your lawyer intends to fight the case, and if not, why not.

Motor Vehicle Administration hearings arising in Howard County are usually held at the Office of Administrative Hearings, on Gilroy Road, in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Unlike in most other counties, where hearings are held at the local MVA, there is no MVA at the Office of Administrative Hearings. What this means is that defendant drivers must have a driver at the hearing to take them home or to the office or elsewhere in case they receive a suspension.

Unfortunately, most lawyers in Howard County assume the case is too difficult to win in court or at the MVA and fail to challenge the State's case. Some lawyers never challenge the State's case. This can be a huge mistake since most DUI cases have issues that can be raised in defense, and with zero or very minimal penalty. In other words, the result of fighting and losing is rarely worse than just pleading guilty or not requesting a hearing at the MVA. So why would you want to choose a lawyer who will not fight your case? When interviewing a lawyer, you should ask if your lawyer intends to fight the case, and if not, why not.

If you need to be defended or represented in the Howard County courts and have been charged with a DUI or DWI, or any other traffic violations, call the firm of Goldstein & Stamm today to schedule a free consultation.

Leonard R. Stamm also has extensive experience representing individuals charged with criminal offenses in the District Court and Circuit Court for Howard County. If you have been charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, assault, theft, malicious destruction of property, violation of probation, or any other criminal offense in Howard County, call 301-345-0122 today to schedule a free consultation.

Stamm represents clients throughout Howard County, Maryland including: Columbia, Dayton, Clarksville, Elkridge, Ellicott City, Fulton, Marriottsville, Mount Airy, Savage, Glenelg, Glenwood, Hanover, Jessup, Laurel, Lisbon, Sykesville, West Friendship, Woodbine, and Woodstock.