Articles Posted in DUI Lawyers

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How to Choose a DUI Attorney

If you are facing a DUI charge, choosing the right attorney to handle your case is a very important decision. Who you choose to hire as your legal representation could actually make or break your case when it comes to the final result. To help you choose a DUI lawyer (Rhode Island) that will be competent and confidently assist you with your case, we’ve put together a few tips you should keep in mind.

Create a list of potential attorneys.

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Will you be considered a first offender in Maryland if it has been 10 years since your prior DUI conviction or PBJ? Well, it is much like your virginity, once you lose it-you lost it!

What do I mean by that? Once you have received a DUI or DWI and received some form of probation or guilty verdict, that can never be undone and you will never be considered a “first offender” again; in point of fact, you are not a first offender, you will be a second offender, even 10+ years later.  Now, if you go to court on your first offense and you are found Not Guilty by the judge or jury, well then that is NOT a first offense because you were not found guilty and you did not receive a probation before judgment.  A not guilty means you were not guilty of the charge and is therefore not considered a first offense.  In this instance, a “second violation” irrespective of when it occurs (1 year or 5 years) is indeed a first offense (because you beat the earlier offense) and you are entitled to first offense status.  Ie. eligible for a PBJ.

Now, what is this business about 10 years? That time period is the new limit in which a “second offender” is not even legally eligible for a probationary disposition such as  a PBJ.  Therefore, if in your first DUI offense you received the benefit of probation before judgment and therefore were able to keep your record clean and void of any points, that would mean you are not even eligible for a PBJ within 10 years of receiving your first PBJ. You can however retain the best lawyer you can find and fight your case in court and try to obtain a not guilty in the second offense.

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The issue of DUI by Marijuana (driving under the influence) has never been more relevant than now when states are beginning to jump onto the pot bandwagon, legalizing Marijuana for recreational and or medical use while many more states have put the issue on their 2016 ballot.
The number of drivers charged with operating under the influence of Marijuana is likely to grow dramatically and it behooves us to study the laws we currently have in place and see whether they are adequate to protect the community and the driver. We will also look at the financial gain v. loss to the state from the legalization of Marijuana.
Is driving legal after ingesting Marijuana?
Generally there are three approaches taken by states regarding driving after ingesting weed; the majority of states will charge a driver after obtaining sufficient evidence to prove his or her impairment based on erratic driving factors, a failed field sobriety test and blood work.
A minority of states, including NY, has zero tolerance laws with regard to Marijuana use and will arrest for DUI for any amount of THC or metabolites found in the driver’s system. THC, the psychoactive component of Marijuana can remain in the urine for many days, while metabolites can be detected for several weeks or more for regular users; long after the driving impairment has worn off.
The remainder of the states institute thresholds similar to BAC levels used for DUI alcohol. 5 nano-grams of THC metabolite per milliliter of blood is the legal limit used by many of these states. Colorado is one of the states that have instituted this limit after legalizing Marijuana for recreational use.
Whatever the individual state guidelines are, make sure you understand and adhere to them. In the words of Attorney Zev Goldstein, “Your good record is arguably the most valuable thing you own, protect it from criminal drug/ or operating under the influence of drugs convictions”.
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A question that comes up frequently in a Maryland DUI Arrest is whether or not a defendant should tell their employer about the fact that they have been arrested and charged for a DUI or DWI.

The fact that a person is accused or charged with a crime is their own business and not anybody else’s business unless there exists special job related circumstances. Remember, any person can be accused of committing a crime. Being charged with a crime is very different from being convicted of that crime. When a judge or jury has spoken and the accused is convicted of a crime that may rightly impact some types of employment. However, the fact that somebody has been charged with a crime, tends to place that person under a questionable and possibly irreversible light, even if they are subsequently found to be not guilty in court. Thus, unless you fall into a specific category of jobs, telling one’s boss or employer that they have been “charged” with an offense is generally not necessary.

Having said that, a few exceptions spring to mind. First, if you have a secret Government clearance and part of that clearance is a contractual obligation to tell your employer that you have been charged with a crime. In that circumstance it is incumbent upon an accused to at least advise their employer pursuant to their contract for clearance that they have been charged. Generally speaking employers under this circumstance will withhold punishment until the matter goes to court and has a final resolution. This is important because in many cases it is possible to be found either not guilty or to avoid the stigma of a “conviction”.

Other employers may have an employee handbook or other policy which clearly states that you must advise your employer of a DUI conviction and/or a DUI charge, generally speaking military personnel are a good example of this also folks that drive as part of their job. So for example, a travelling sales person, like medical sales; this job tends to be rather specific on the issue of reporting traffic/criminal charges. The reason is because they have civil liability if you get into an accident while on the job or otherwise driving their car or driving at their behest. If it is proven in court that the employer knew or should have known about an employee’s DUI record and the employer gave them a car anyway, the employer could suffer liability for subsequent injuries to a third party.

Thus, if you are a traveling sales person or if you are provided a company car, or if you have been advised by your employer at the time of hiring (or subsequently) that you must report DUIs, alcohol offenses or traffic matters, then you must do so or the employer could have a strong basis for termination or punishment, not just for the underlying DUI offense, but also for your failure to follow the employer’s rules.
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This is EXACTLY the type of crappy DUI ARREST behavior that concerns me the most as a DUI lawyer in Maryland. As I have written numerous times before, the courts, judges and juries place waaaaay too much weight on the insidious accusations that some police officers write in their arrest statement of charges. The courts (too many of them) accept these accusations as gospel which is ridiculous and unfortunate because cops in many jurisdictions learn what they need to say in their statements to gain a conviction and just make up facts as they go along to get what they seek.

I was stopped one night leaving my law office on my way home and sadly it was past midnight which means cops can make up any story they want to stop you. This cop indicated that I was driving “all over the road” which was almost comical, since my Audi never left my lane of travel. When the cop failed to smell alcohol on my breath and learned I was a DUI lawyer, he quickly lost interest in me and left the scene to prepare his snare for his next victim which would surely be easier prey.

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Even now, months after our victory in an Anne Arundel manslaughter case, fellow lawyers approach us and ask how we were able to be victorious against the Government in what appeared to be a strong case against the Defendant. In fact, the prosecutor is still scratching his head and wondering the same thing. The answer, as is typically the case is meticulous preparation that goes well beyond the case itself.


Our attorneys go beyond the normal reading of the facts, investigation, preparation and presentation to a judge or jury. We routinely and consistently attend seminars by the Nations leading trial attorneys in order to uncover the latest trial techniques and strategies to put the Government to the task of proving its case. Unfortunately, for the DUI/Criminal defendant, the deck is always stacked against the accused because the Government has endless resources to secure their ends (a conviction) and most jurors walk into the court room with a bias against the accused which the defense must overcome in order to secure, at a minimum, a level playing field.

In order to overcome jury bias and the state’s relentless resources, we understand that the defense must work that much harder to prove our client’s innocence, just as we did in the above noted manslaughter case. We are proud to inform our clients that at Robinson and Associates, we read and study the treatises from the greatest trial advocates of our time, we seek them out and listen to them speak all over the country, and we bring that knowledge and skill to bear for our clients in Maryland. The picture embedded herein is none other than myself with F. Lee Bailey, speaking at a recent seminar on behalf of the National College for DUI Defense Attorneys.
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These are difficult economic times; because of that fact many people are out of work as companies lay off and down size. Law firms and lawyers are not immune from the economic downtown caused by too many ridiculous wars that we should not be in, crashing realestate values, greedy wall street investors who don’t give a damn about anything, president Bush endless spending and the like.

As for lawyers, many of the commercial, realestate, transactional, and domestic guys have felt the economic crunch and determined that they need to practice in other areas in order to keep the lights on. This national transition of lawyers into the field of DUI defense comes at a price to weary DUI Defendants. That is, there are too many DUI advertisers on line these days and unless a DUI Defendant takes the time to really research who the top dogs in the field are, they can end up hiring the wrong DUI lawyer resulting in long lasting negative consequences to them and their family.

At Bruce Robinson & Associates (, we are inundated by calls and queries on a weekly basis seeking quality DUI representation. We are privileged to represent the best of the best, starting at the White House in Washington DC and going down through the covert Federal Agencies, Federal Judge’s kids, other lawyers and judges, doctors, etc. The unpleasant part is when clients routinely call us having gotten bad and incorrect advice from another lawyer. Flat out wrong advice on how to handle their case. We then have to fix the advice, turn the client’s mind set around and work back up from there. The other concern is while we patch up a lot of crappy advice, what about all the other DUI Defendants who hire the first lawyer they speak with that charges a fraction of what should be charged and send clients down the river with no paddle because the lawyer has little idea what they are doing.
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I just came across this article Three mistakes when hiring a DUI lawyer . I thought it might be beneficial to my DUI readers.

In a nutshell it says to watch out for

1. lack of experience
2. lack of knowledge and
3. lack of commitment.

I could not agree more with the theme of the article. In any jurisdiction there are a handful of attorneys that specifically focus their practice on the defense of DUI cases. These attorneys know the nuances of DUI law, they know which judges are descent to work with and importantly, which judges simply cannot be worked with and must be avoided at all costs. Choosing any old lawyer or a family lawyer or a friend’s lawyer to defend a matter as important as a DUI, without knowing the lawyer’s experience level and dedication to DUI defense is foolish. Put another way, you would not hire your family doctor to give you a heart transplant, right? DUI offenses have long term consequences for people that effect many different aspects of one’s life; therefore, you must get this right.

Lawyer commitment to the client is a crucial consideration as well. Too many lawyers out there simply do not give a hoot about their clients and thus a client cannot get their lawyer on the phone. Many lawyers are like that. Ironically my experience with lawyers has been similar. Occasionally, when I have needed to consult a lawyer for one thing or another I find that when I reach out, you can’t get them on the phone immediately, they don’t return phone calls and they are pompous. Refreshingly, this firm has never done things that way and that is, in part, why we are a successful DUI defense firm. Lawyers are busy in court, but they should be able to get back to you if not the same day, at least within 24 hours. If you cannot speak with your attorney, and get prompt answers to your important questions, you have the wrong attorney!

As for this firm, our lawyers are always available to speak with out clients, we realize the importance of the matter and the importance of prompt communication. One clear advantage that we provide to our clients is regular evening and weekend appointments.

It’s astounding how many firms close their doors at 5pm. We do not operate that way, at 5pm we’re just gearing up. Most nights of the week we are here hours beyond 5pm and available to the clients. We are also routinely available on weekends for consultations following an arrest. Few other firms offer that level of service, we feel it is important however to extend that simple courtesy.
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Last Wednesday I was fortunate to attend a U2 concert at Raven’s Stadium in Baltimore. It was a cool show but it was the third time that I had seen them so it lost some of its allure. Prior to the show however I was at Lexington Market in Baltimore City where I met a number of people. Interestingly the beer that we were all consuming was sold in pitcher sized plastic glasses that I had not seen before, no wonder people get drunk and get DUIs; heck there should be law against selling pitcher size glasses of beer that you could practically jump into and swim around.

Anyway, we struck up a conversation with a pleasant gentleman from Tennessee and his friend; he was enjoying a “grande cerveza” with us when the topic came up of the billboards all over Baltimore City regarding drunk driving and being a “loser” and the cost of a DUI of approximately $15,000.00. Wow, I wish the cost was anywhere near $15,000.00, it might make all the pressure, struggle, turmoil, public and judicial bias that we suffer as counsel defending these matters a little easier.

Be that as it may, the billboards in addition to indicating a $15,000.00 mistake also indicate that there were “24,000 losers” last year. Hmmm. That got me thinking, several years ago when I looked into how many DUIs there were in Maryland, the same figure was revealed, 24,000 people who were alleged to have made a mistake. Roughly 5 years later and where experiencing the same number of DUI infractions. That got me thinking about how many arrests there were for DUI 20 or 25 years ago before drunk driving became the “in thing” for the government to arrest people for. Back in the day when the legal BAC limit was .15 and the police didn’t care if you had an open beverage in the car. I suspect the number of arrests was less and I suspect the number of fatalities was also less then what we have today.

Then I remembered what an officer told me last week in Montgomery County, Maryland; he said he was in court on his day off, that he had 9 cases that day, one of them was mine (which got postponed which means he has to come back again) and that he was getting over time for being there on his day off so he didn’t mind being there.
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Funny thing happened to me while I was in DUI Court today. My client was facing a pending jail sentence so we went to Court to try to change that; we were successful and kept him out of jail. Another satisfied client; but, that is not the reason for this post. The reason for the post is one of Howard County’s men in blue was present in the Court room and he asked where my blog articles were, the officer said “you have not posted anything in a while”. I asked him, do you actually read what I post regarding DUI and drunk driving. He said “we do”.

Wow! The police actually read what we have to say, that’s great. Maybe it helps on all sides, maybe it helps get better behavior on both sides of the DUI equation. Maybe not, maybe it only helps them be tougher on the DWI Defendants. Either way, our goal here is to seek fairness on both sides of the DUI equation so Defendants can be treated fairly in Court. Unfortunately, there are many Courts in Maryland where a Defendant is guilty merely because s/he walked into the Courtroom.

That means, citizens should know their legal rights and utilize them as they see fit. That means, knowing that one does not have to do a field sobriety test at a DUI stop and knowing that anything they do can and will be used against them in Court. Knowing that right, and then electing to perform roadside gymnastics is totally up to the person. However, not being coerced into incriminating oneself is an important Constitutional Right that we all share.

Then comes that pesky breath machine. Do I blow? Do I not blow? I get asked that question everywhere I go. It’s an important question which does not have a simple answer to fit all people. The answer changes based upon individual circumstances. However, it is refreshing that the police are required to advise you of your legal rights before asking a Defendant to make that important decision. You also have the right to communicate with an attorney prior to making that decision. Refreshingly, most police officers will let you exercise that right. Those that do not will suffer the consequences of that decision in Court.
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