What Alternative Programs Might Be Available for A First-Time DUI?
Nov. 20, 2022
The best alternative would be if the state had done a bad job and we were able to get the case dismissed. The second alternative would be something called the Stet docket. Stet is a Latin term meaning inactive. It is Maryland’s version of a pretrial diversion. No admissions would be made and there would be no conviction. The next alternative would be getting a motion probation before judgment. This should not be confused with traditional probation because it would actually be very different.
It would not be a conviction even if the person was found guilty at the trial or if they pleaded guilty. If a probation before judgment, or PBJ, is granted then it would not be a conviction. There are alternatives to jail as far as disposition at sentencing although it would be at the judge’s discretion. Home confinement has now become a more popular alternative and certain judges even favor community service, which are just some of the main alternatives.
What Are Some Consequences Someone Might Face For A First-Time DUI?
Under the statute, jail would be a risk. Generally in Western Maryland if there were no extreme aggravating circumstances and the person’s lawyer did a good job, they would be able to get jail off the table. There would still be issues regarding getting an alcohol evaluation, whether the person had to take the education class or whether they had to take the short class or the long class because there would be a big difference in time and expense.
There is also an issue of probation, because it would make a big difference whether or not the person could get probation and whether or not it was supervised. There would also be fees involved in both the probation and the alcohol monitoring, so one of the things an attorney would seek to do is to get an order for a waiver of the fees, because it can become expensive month to month.
Can Someone Get Their DUI Case Or Charge Expunged After A While?
No, drunk driving is specifically excluded from Maryland’s expungement statute. The only way to get that done would be to get a pardon from the governor.
Is There Ever A Look-back Period Where A Second Offence Might Look Like A First Again?
This is another complicated issue. Prosecutors would generally look at a second case or any kind of prior as a prior, even if it was probation before judgment or Stet, and they would tend to view it more seriously. Judges in sentencing would have some flexibility as to how they would react to that, but there would always be a concern if there was anything related in terms of a prior because they would be more likely to be serious about it.
How Can Someone Know Whether They Would Qualify For Probation?
The person would not be able to predict whether or not they would qualify for probation because probation is not a one-size-fits all. There would be supervised and unsupervised probation, alcohol monitoring and non-alcohol monitoring, which would completely be up to the judge’s discretion and they would decide what to do on a case-by-case basis.
Generally, prosecutors would either make a recommendation for probation where they would defer to the court, and that would become part of any plea arrangement that would generally be made once the attorney had the facts and support to request reduced probation or a waiver of fees. The Attorney would raise those points and a lot of judges would listen to it and then rule in their favor if that was done well.
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