In Maryland, lawmakers and families are trying to close a “loophole” in the state’s DUI law. They want to close this loophole because they do not believe their family members who were killed in drunk driving accidents received the justice they deserved, and they say that closing the loophole will save lives.
The reason why these families believe that there is a loophole is because drivers who receive probation before judgment (PBJ) can avoid getting an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicles. These devices are installed to prevent people from being able to start their car after drinking alcoholic beverages. (The device can sense if you have any alcohol on your breath, which is why some people also call them breathalyzers.) The main goal of this device is to keep drunk drivers off the roads.
Critics of IIDs say, “they are embarrassing and excessive punishment.” Others believe they are a vital tool to ensure road and highway safety. However, families who have lost loved ones to drunk driving accidents believe that this punishment should be given to every drunk driver.
What is probation before judgment (PBJ)?
Probation before judgment (PBJ) means that the defendant is placed on probation before a judge makes any decision regarding conviction. When an individual is charged with a DUI, their lawyer may suggest PBJ as an option. As a result, they will be placed on probation and must follow specific guidelines and rules just like probation for any other type of crime.
Therefore, if you are given PBJ after a DUI, you are placed on probation for a certain amount of time, and you will not receive a DUI conviction as long as you follow the rules of your probation. You should also not receive any points on your license.
It is important to know that not everyone is offered PBJ. Therefore, no matter if your attorney or anyone else proposes a PBJ, the judge is the only person who can make this decision.
Who is eligible for PBJ?
Even though a PBJ outcome is never guaranteed, there are certain times when a judge is more likely to offer it, such as in the following circumstances:
- First-time DUI offense
- If you have not been convicted or received a PBJ outcome for a DUI in the last 10 years
- A first-time controlled dangerous substances (CDS) offense
- Other first-time felony or misdemeanor offenses
Why isn’t PBJ really a “loophole”?
People dying from drunk driving accidents is a terrible tragedy. However, we do not think that a PBJ is a loophole. The reason that we do not believe this is because IIDs are a punishment for conviction, and there is no conviction when an individual is given a PBJ.
Additionally, the person who receives a PBJ is still being punished for their actions by being placed on probation. They must follow all rules and guidelines put in place for a specific amount of time (up to five years in a Circuit Court and up to three years in a District Court). If the individual does not follow the set of rules or becomes a repeat offender, they will face a conviction.
What to know about a PBJ
There are a few important factors that we think you should know when it comes to a PBJ outcome, which include the following:
- PBJs are typically earned
- They are not automatically given for first-time offenses
- You must show that you are deserving of a PBJ (good behavior and appearance)
- If you are given a PBJ, you are placed on probation, so it is very important that you follow all rules and regulations
- If you violate your probation, you will face your entire sentence
- By agreeing to a PBJ, you waive your right to appeal
- You can still go to jail if given a PBJ
Why is treatment important when given a PBJ?
Most of the time, the judge will order individuals who receive a PBJ to attend treatment programs. However, our Crofton defense attorneys believe that you should start attending treatment programs before your hearing. This will show that you are taking your actions seriously and that you are dedicated to never re-offending.
The judge will want to see that you are getting help, which is why it is typically part of your probation requirements even after you receive a PBJ. Even if it is not required by the judge, our attorneys still recommend going to treatment programs.
We can get you a discount if you are required to install an ignition interlock device
If the court requires you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle, our law office can help you get a discount. We have a close relationship with an IID company in Maryland, which allows us to offer our clients a special installation rate. Therefore, if you decide to work with Carey Law Office, all you need to do is take a form from our office to the IID company, and they will give you a discounted price. This consists of waiving the installation fee ($150) and the first month’s maintenance fee ($75), meaning that you will save over $200.
Have you recently been pulled over for drinking and driving? If so, our attorneys at Carey Law Office are experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable when it comes to these types of cases. We know that this is a stressful time for you, which is why we will help you navigate the legal process and keep you informed about everything going on with your case. Call our offices in Crofton or Bowie, or submit our contact form to schedule an appointment. We proudly serve clients in Calvert County, Anne Arundel County, and Prince George’s County, making it easy and convenient for you,
My name is Joe Carey, and I am the founder and principal attorney of the Carey Law Office. I have lived in Maryland my entire life. I grew up in a small town in Prince George’s County and, with the help of my partner in life, Nancy, I raised my family here: three exceptional children (a son and two daughters), and two goofy, spoiled black Labrador Retrievers. Learn More