Hurricane Irene Lemony Snicket's two Maryland Drivers

September 1, 2011

With sustained winds of 74 miles, Hurricane Irene pummeled the eastern seaboard and arguably two unfortunate Maryland drivers who were charged with DUIs as the result of traffic accidents that occurred during this natural disaster. Property damage via widespread flooding, beach erosion, loss of vegetation, electricity, modern modes of communication, and other conveniences, were experienced during and in Irene's wake. Jose Miguel Serrano and Marty Ray Hubbard, Jr. were two Maryland drivers not spared her disruptive effects. It is undisputed that the likelihood of a traffic accident or collision is exponentially increased when operating a vehicle in inclement weather, moreso during a natural disaster. While authorities cautioned motorists to avoid operating vehicles in these weather and road conditions, compliance is not always possible. Individuals who traversed Maryland's roadways during Irene's onslaught certainly faced aberrant-driving conditions. Despite this reality, both Mr. Serrano and Mr. Hubbard now face DUI charges. Arguably, driving conditions during and within the normalcy restorative period favorably mitigate charges of DUI and in many instances act towards a dismissal/exoneration of these charges.

DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol) is a serious criminal offense. The penalties of a conviction of a DUI charge could include imprisonment. Conviction on this offense requires the State prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant: (1) drove, operated, moved, or was in actual physical control of the vehicle, and (2) at the time, the Defendant was under the influence of alcohol. A blood alcohol test result of 0.08 or higher at the time of testing is prima facie evidence of driving under the influence of alcohol. The steps you take to defend yourself against these charges may be the only acts that protect your rights, privileges, livelihood, and possibly keep you out of jail.

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Police Detective Charged with DUI

January 11, 2011

On Saturday January 8th, 2011, 31 year Alexandria police veteran, Eric Ratliff, was arrested and charged with drunk driving, after his unmarked police car crashed into a concrete pole.

No matter what your walk of life or career, no one is immune from being arrested for a DUI. The steps you take to defend yourself against these charges are the only thing that may protect your livelihood and possibly keep you out of jail.


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Baltimore Raven arrested for DUI

December 29, 2010

On December 27, 2010, Baltimore Raven rookie Sergio Kindle, was arrested in Howard County, Maryland on suspicion of drunk driving. Kindle was ticketed for speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and failure to obey traffic control devices. After his arrest, Kindle was released on $10,000 bond. Kindle has released a statement apologizing to the Ravens organization.

During the holiday season, law enforcement agencies typically have an increased presence on the highways of Maryland, particularly in areas frequented by bar patrons. This increased presence of law enforcement agencies means that Maryland drivers are more likely to encounter DUI road blocks and be subjected to questioning by a police officer.

This story highlights how damaging a DUI arrest can be to an individual's life and career. Being charged with a DUI or DWI can result in a potential criminal record, loss of employment, and possible incarceration.

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December Holidays Welcome DUI Crackdown

December 5, 2009

Thousands of law enforcement agencies nationwide are gearing up for a crackdown on DUI and DWI offenses during the December holidays. As the national law enforcement and public awareness effort gets set to run through New Year's Day, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") reports that the campaign involves thousands of law enforcement agencies nationwide, and is supported by more than $7 million in national television and radio advertising.

The holiday season can be one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving. Since 1998, impaired drivers have claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people in the state of Maryland.

In an effort to raise awareness to prevent impaired driving, the state has seen an increase in partnerships over the past years.

Please enjoy the holiday season, and remain aware of your alcohol consumption. As needed, ask your local bartender about the Tipsy Taxi or other sober ride programs. Military personnel should contact the duty officer or barrack staff if a sober ride is needed.

Serious Penalties for Drunken Driving in Maryland

December 5, 2009

Drinking and Driving in Maryland

Under Maryland law, individuals are prohibited from driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration ("BAC") of .08 percent or higher. The .08 limit is a standard measurement used across the United States for the "impaired" adult driver. Maryland has a zero tolerance for alcohol for drivers under the age of 21. Anyone under the age of 21 found to have a .02 percent BAC or higher could have their license suspended or revoked. Commercial drivers also face a lower BAC limit of .04 percent.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in Maryland?

It is impossible to know the exact number of drinks it takes to reach the .08 BAC limit. Each person has unique physical characteristics, e.g., weight, sex, number of drinks consumed over a given time, that factor into the BAC equation. There are certain calculations that can offer an idea of an individual's BAC level, but I would not use such calculations as a final and certain answer.

The answer that never fails is not to drink and drive. Choosing to operate a vehicle while impaired in the state of Maryland places your freedom, finances and your future at substantial risk.

A first time conviction of a DUI in the state of Maryland carries a potential of up to 1 year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. If you were transporting a minor when you were arrested, you could be sentenced to up to 2 years in jail a pay up to a $2,000 fine. Your drivers license will also be suspended for a minimum of 45 days. Your first DWI conviction will cost you up to 2 months in jail and a $500 fine and your drivers license could be suspended 60 days.

A second time conviction of a DUI could result in a sentence of up to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. If you were transporting a minor when you were arrested, you could be sentenced to up to 3 years in jail a pay up to a $3,000 fine. Your drivers license will also be suspended for a minimum of 1 year. For your second DWI, you will be fined up to $500 and/or 1 year in jail plus a minimum of 60 day suspension of your drivers license.

Hopefully a third DUI conviction is not in your future. However, a third time conviction in Maryland will have you facing up to 3 years imprisonment. Your fine will be up to $3,000 and if you were transporting a minor at the time of your arrest, you could face up to 4 years in prison and up to a $4,000 fine. Your drivers license will be suspended for a minimum of 18 months. For your third DWI, you will be fined up to $500 and/or 1 year in jail plus a minimum of 60 day suspension of your drivers license.