You face harsh punishments if you are convicted of DUI or DWI in Maryland. In addition, you would have a permanent criminal record that can have long-term consequences on your ability to obtain a job, affordable auto insurance, and more. However, probation before judgment (PBJ) may be a good option that can help you avoid some of the severe ramifications of a DUI or DWI conviction.
What Is Probation Before Judgment?
Probation before judgment refers to a situation where a person arrested is placed on probation before a judgment is entered in his criminal case. It is an option when an individual is charged with a first offense DUI or DWI, and other crimes in Maryland.
Are You Eligible for PBJ?
Probation before judgment is only available in limited circumstances. Even if you are eligible for a PBJ, you do not have an automatic right to it. The judge must agree to it. Probation before judgment may be an option for you in these circumstances:
- This is your first DUI or DWI offense.
- You have not had a PBJ or conviction for DUI or DWI in the last ten years.
Probation before judgment would not be available to you in these situations:
- This is your second or subsequent DUI or DWI within 10 years.
- Your DUI or DWI involved an accident.
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) was high.
- Large quantities of drugs were present when you were arrested.
- You are also accused of committing a violent crime.
What Are the Pros and Cons of PBJ?
The benefit of a PBJ is that you avoid some of the long-term consequences of a DUI or DWI conviction. You would not be convicted of DUI or DWI and could honestly answer on a job or other application that you were not convicted of a crime. In addition, your auto insurance rates may not increase.
However, there are also drawbacks to a PBJ. Some of the cons include:
- You would be on probation that is most likely supervised for a certain period of time.
- You could be sentenced to your original sentence if you violate the terms of your probation.
- You give up your right to raise defenses to the charges at a trial and to file an appeal.
How to Decide If a PBJ Is the Right Option for You
Are you considering a PBJ in your DUI or DWI case? The best way to decide whether this is the best option for you is to retain an experienced DUI attorney who can identify your defenses and determine what is the best approach given your unique situation. Call our office or start an online chat today to learn how our skilled legal team can assist you.