As Seen On
As Seen On:

Determining Whether a Maryland DUI Case Will Go to Trial

While a person may assume a DUI charge could only be resolved through a trial, this is not always the case. Individuals that need assistance with determining whether a Maryland DUI case will go to trial are recommended to consult an accomplished defense attorney. Skilled legal counsel could help you build your defense case and navigate the legal system.

When Does a DUI Case go to Trial?

If the facts of a DUI case support a person’s innocence or if the evidence for a conviction is very scarce, the person may wish to consider a trial. While the individual may have been driving well and obeying all traffic laws, they could have been pulled over and given a field sobriety test if there was an issue with the license plate. The State may seek a trial even if the person exceeded the limit of the breathalyzer.

Even if the State makes a very good reasonable offer, the defendant may go to trial if there is no incentive to take it. Even if the defense loses, the sentence could potentially be better or no worse than the state’s offer. When attempting to determine whether a DUI case will go to trial, a person could reach out to a Maryland attorney.

How Maryland District Court Judges Treat DUI Charges

Maryland District Courts typically hear cases regarding DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, and other criminal charges. While district court judges vary widely in how they treat DUI charges, a first DUI offense is typically treated much differently from repeat offenses. Since DUIs are relatively common charges, judges wish to see:

  • How a person responds to the charge
  • Whether they have taken classes to address underlying issues that may have led to them to receive a DUI
  • Whether they are remorseful and taking it seriously

In certain cases, a person could avoid jail time if the judge is willing to give them the opportunity to stay out of trouble and suffer limited consequences. When a defendant has a second offense DUI, judges across the board tend to look at that as indicative of a serious problem. Repeat offenders tend to receive much more significant and harsher sentences and other sanctions from the court.

Types of Cases Held in Maryland Circuit Courts

Maryland’s criminal circuit court is reserved for serious felonies and for hearing de novo appeals from District courts. The appeal is hence treated as a brand new case that has not been heard at the district court level. The state has the burden of proof. Since Maryland District courts do not have juries, every case is heard before a judge.

If a conviction there carries a penalty of more than 180 days, the person has a right to have the case heard by a jury at the circuit court level. Those cases could be first-offense DUIs and other misdemeanors.

Differences Between Circuit Court and District Court Judges

While circuit court and district judges are both elected at the county level, circuit court judges typically have more experience. It is very common for a district court judge to run for circuit court after gaining some experience as a judge at the district level. The differences between both types of Maryland judges may be crucial information that a person could consider when determining whether their case will go to trial.

Resolving a Case Before Trial

Cases could be resolved before trial in a number of ways, The parties involved in the case may negotiate a plea agreement in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to one or some of the charges and agrees on all the terms. This is typically the most common method. Parties could also ask for some sentence within a certain range and present their request to the judge.

Individuals could leave it up to the judge to decide the sentence. In doing so, the defendant typically gives up the right to a trial and agrees to plead guilty and accept the sentence from the judge. A case could also be resolved before trial is if it was dismissed. Prosecutors may dismiss a case if it becomes apparent they are not going to be able to prosecute the case.

The judge may also dismiss the case in certain situations. If the accused individual successfully argues to the judge that the prosecution violated some procedural rules, the case may be dismissed. This could include asserting that it took too long to bring the case to trial. A case could be resolved if the defense wins a motion to keep certain key evidence that the state’s case needed out of the trial. This could lead to the prosecution dismissing the case after the judge rules against the evidence.

Speak to a Maryland DUI Attorney For Help

While DUI cases could be overwhelming, defendants could acquire support and guidance by hiring a Maryland DUI lawyer. Call a tenacious attorney before determining whether a Maryland DUI case will go to trial. Your lawyer could answer any legal questions you may have and could explain your rights.

Free Case Consultation

By submitting your mobile number, you agree to receive text messages from regarding your subscriptions or other industry related information. You can opt-out anytime. Message & data rates may apply. View Mobile Terms. View Privacy Policy.

Schedule a Consultation
Contact Us Today For A Free Case Evaluation

By submitting your mobile number, you agree to receive text messages from regarding your subscriptions or other industry related information. You can opt-out anytime. Message & data rates may apply. View Mobile Terms. View Privacy Policy.

What Our Clients Say About Us