Rockville Maryland DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer
DUI, DUI per se, DWI: What’s the Difference?
The most frequent alcohol-related charges are driving under influence (DUI) of alcohol , driving while impaired by alcohol (DWI), and (DUI per se) driving under influence of alcohol per se. Rockville DUI lawyer Leon a Geller make you understand that both DUI and DWI require that normal coordination be reduced as a result of the consumption of alcohol. DUI requires that alcohol has substantially impaired the person’s normal coordination. DWI requires that alcohol has impaired a person’s normal coordination to some extent. DUI per se relates solely to the breathalyzer score being a .08 or higher.
DUI/DWI Defense FAQs :
The Three Phases
Attorney Geller attended a three day DWI Detection and Field Sobriety Testing Training, similar to that offered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In that training, and through knowledge of the manual accompanying that training, Attorney Geller is familiar with the three phases of the police investigation used in charging individuals with alcohol-related offenses. The first phase is vehicle in motion.
What is the driving behavior that gets the officer’s attention? Common examples of this could be failure to completely stop for a flashing red light, weaving between lanes, or speeding in Rockville, Maryland. People can also be pulled over for such benign reasons such as failure to have their headlights on at night or an expired registration sticker.
In the second phase, personal contact, the officer approaches the vehicle and makes observations of the driver. Typical observations include odor of alcohol on the breath, glassy, bloodshot, or watery eyes, and slurred speech. The officer requests the license and registration and is trained to observe whether these are provided without difficulty. During this phase, the officer often asks whether or how much the individual has had to drink. The driver will then be asked to get out of the car, and the officer is trained to observe whether or not the driver is holding onto the door, stumbles, or goes to a location other than the one directed by the officer.
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The third phase is the pre-arrest screening. This stage typically involves the administration of three field sobriety tests: the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the walk and turn (WAT), and the one-leg stand (OLS). In this test, an officer will typically have the driver follow the motion of a pen or pen light with the eyes only.
This test is used only to determine the presence of alcohol. In the WAT, the officer has the driver walk nine heel to toe steps forward and back on a straight line. There are eight clues that the officer is looking for. Finally, in the OLS, the officer has the driver stand on one leg with the other leg raised six inches off the ground. The officer is observing for thirty seconds to see if the driver hops, sways, puts the foot down, or uses arms for balance.
Field Sobriety Tests
The standardized field sobriety test is a battery of three tests:
- Walk-and-Turn – A suspect walks nine steps heel-to-toe on a straight or imaginary line, turns, and walks back nine steps. With the walk-and-turn, the officer will be looking for balance issues and the ability to accurately follow directions.
- One-Leg Stand – Also intended to assess balancing abilities, this test requires that a suspect stand with one leg raised six inches off the ground, arms at the side, and count to 30.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – In this test, the officer’s finger or pen moves slowly back and forth in front of your eyes. Here the officer is looking for uneven pupil dilation and jerking eye movement. This test is used to determine the presence of alcohol in the suspect’s system.
Rockville DUI Lawyer Leon Geller took a three-day course on field sobriety testing, the exact same course taken by prospective officers at the police academy. This gives Attorney Geller a unique perspective and deep understanding of the conditions under which the tests are to be administered as well as the proper procedures for doing so. Read more…
The breathalyzer test is the most common way to check a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). These tests are usually performed at the police station, but mobile breathalyzers are also available. Breath tests at the scene of the arrest are performed with a portable breath test (PBT) device, producing a result that is used to help the officer determine whether there is probable cause to arrest but is not admissable in court.
A number of factors can interfere with a proper BAC reading. In some cases, false results can be caused by residual paints, solvents, and gases from a person’s work environment. In addition, these tests cannot distinguish between mouth alcohol and alcohol in the blood, which is why strict regulations on when and how the tests are administered have been put in place. Read more…
It is implied that you will submit to a chemical test in case you are suspected of driving impaired or under the influence. While implied consent does not mean that you cannot refuse to take the test, refusal to take a breathalyzer or blood test can result in additional penalties.
Depending on your blood alcohol content, refusal to submit to a breathalyzer could result in suspension of your license for at least 120 days and it only for 1st time time offender and then it will up to one year for next time. If you are convicted of DUI or DWI, refusal to submit to a breathalyzer can increase the fines and jail time you face. These penalties will be in addition to those for traffic violations and other potential charges. Read more…
What to do When Stopped for a DUI or DWI
When you are stopped under suspicion of driving under the influence, remember that you have certain irrevocable rights. An officer can request that you take a field sobriety test or submit to chemical testing such as a breathalyzer, but you do have the right to refuse. Refusal to cooperate will most likely not prevent arrest, but under certain circumstances it might help your case when it comes to beating charges.
Regardless of whether or not you submit to testing, you must remain calm when dealing with officers. If you feel that questions being asked could incriminate you, you can refuse to answer or request a Maryland DUI attorney be consulted before you answer. It is important that you not give up your rights or provide the officer with incriminating evidence. Staying calm, being respectful and remaining silent can be very helpful when it comes time to challenge your DWI or DUI. Read more…
Attorney Geller’s Approach
The officer typically only writes in their report what the driver did wrong. In Attorney Geller’s approach, he focuses on actions consistent with sobriety that the driver did correct.
For example, in the vehicle in motion phase, did the driver move over promptly and move over safely? In the personal contact phase, did the driver produce their license and registration without difficulty? Are any of the typical observations regarding slurred speech or glassy, bloodshot, and watery eyes missing from the report? Does the driver get out of the car without difficulty? Is the officer able to understand everything the driver says, and does the driver seem to understand and is able to follow all of the officer’s instructions and commands? With the field sobriety tests, under what conditions are the tests given? What is the person wearing for footwear? What are the weather conditions? What does the person do properly that is consistent with sobriety? Are there health conditions that interfere with the driver’s ability to perform the so-called field sobriety tests? Attorney Geller will use his knowledge of this process to obtain the best possible resolution in your case.
Call Today to Speak to an Experienced Rockville DUI Lawyer
Rockville DUI Lawyer Leon Geller has provided quality defense to those charged with alcohol-related offenses for nearly 30 years. If you have been charged with DUI, DUI per se, or DWI, give Attorney Geller a call today to discuss your case. Call the Law Office of Leon Geller at (301) 309-8001 to learn more about Attorney Geller’s personalized approach to Maryland DUI and DWI defense.