Drivers Charged with DUI and Driving While Suspended in St. Patrick’s Day Sobriety Checkpoint

On St. Patrick’s Day, Howard County Police conducted a sobriety checkpoint. Two drivers were charged with drunk driving, and another was charged with driving while license suspended. The checkpoint was located on eastbound Maryland Route 175 at Columbia Gateway Drive. A total of 858 vehicles passed through, according to information provided by the Howard County Police. These are just a few of the many drivers charged with driving drunk, DUI, DWI, and driving while suspended in Howard County each year.

Howard County DUI Lawyer

Mr. Smith is a top rated drunk driving lawyer and former prosecutor with more than 30 years of experience in criminal law and drunk driving cases. Before going into private practice, attorney Smith worked as a Maryland prosecutor and learned how the state prepares criminal matters. He has handled 1,000’s of drunk driving cases. Mr. Smith knows the penalties for driving drunk are severe, and he aggressively fights for his clients charged with DUI drunk driving charges.

Drunk Driving Defense

We have protected the rights of thousands of people in court, and have a proven track record of success. Because of our reputation for thorough preparation and the highest level of personal service, many of our new cases come to us as referrals from other attorneys or from satisfied clients. Mr. Smith fights hard for his clients. That’s why many satisfied clients think so highly of him. Mr. Smith’s results speak for themselves.

Mr. Smith’s extensive trial experience — and track record of successful results — has earned him the recognition of his peers, with an AV® Preeminent™* Peer Review Rating in the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating process, and a 10.0 Superb AVVO rating. These are the highest ratings possible for legal skill, ethical practice, lawyer’s years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements and industry recognition. Attorney Smith is considered to be one of the best criminal defense and DUI drunk driving attorneys in Columbia, Ellicott City, and Howard County.

For a private consultation, contact our office by e-mail or call us at 410-740-0101.

Learn more about Maryland DUI lawDUI Penalties and Selecting a DUI Lawyer.

Howard County Drunk Driving (DUI / DWI) Defense Practice

We handle all matters related to drunk driving charges, from the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) hearing to determine the status of your driving privileges, to the criminal proceeding to establish guilt or innocence and punishment. We represent people charged with their first DUI, as well as repeat offenders.

When you hire us to defend you against a charge of drinking and driving, we will conduct a thorough examination of the facts and circumstances of your arrest, starting with a determination of whether there was probable cause to make the traffic stop. We will review police reports and verify that field sobriety and blood alcohol or breath tests were done legally and properly. If legal errors were made, or your constitutional rights were violated, we will fight to prevent the prosecution from using the evidence and/or seek dismissal of charges.

We aggressively represent people charged with:

  • DUI, or driving under the influence of alcohol
  • DUI Per Se, or driving under the influence of alcohol per se
  • DWI, or driving while impaired by alcohol
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs
  • Driving while under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS)

Contact Our Office

To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call us at 410-740-0101. Put the skill and experience of a former prosecutor to work for you. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith represents clients in criminal defense matters, DUI / DWI, MVA Hearings, traffic offensesdomestic violence and child abuse charges throughout Maryland, including the cities of Columbia, Clarksville, Sykesville, Fulton, Elkridge, Frederick, Mt. Airy, Ellicott City, Laurel, Westminster, and Baltimore. Lawyer Smith also provides experienced legal representation for clients in Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Prince Georges (Prince George) County, Howard County and Montgomery County, MD.

DUI/DWI and Repeat Offenses


Throughout the country, penalties for drunk driving convictions are steep and Maryland is no exception. Penalties for repeat offenders are even more severe, and prosecutors are tougher on repeat offenders and often seek to make an example of such defendants by asking for the highest penalties possible under the law.

If you are convicted of second or third offense of DUI or DWI in Maryland, you could face the following penalties:

  • DUI second offense: Up to two years in jail, a one-year license suspension, possible ignition interlock program installation and up to $2,000 in fines
  • DWI second offense: Up to one year in jail, a one-year (or longer) license suspension and up to $500 in fines
  • DUI third offense: Up to three years in jail, up to an 18-month license suspension and up to $3,000 in fines
  • DWI third offense: Any of the above and possible additional jail time, a five-year license suspension and participation in a 28-day residential treatment program
  • In addition to legal penalties for a DUI/DWI conviction, such convictions can have far-reaching effects in your personal life, including:
    Increased automobile insurance premiums
  • A criminal record
  • Diminished employment and business opportunities
  • Loss of reputation, family and friends

Get help from a legal professional

Dealing with DUI/DWI charges can be daunting and emotionally stressful. And regardless of the circumstances of your case, you have a right to legal counsel and representation. Further, an arrest does not mean you will be found guilty. When facing DUI/DWI charges, particularly if it is a repeat offense, you need an experienced and skilled attorney who understands the legal process and can mount an effective defense. Contact Jonathan Scott Smith online or call us at 410-740-0101 to schedule a consultation to discuss your DUI/DWI case.

Inaccurate Breath Tests in a DUI/DWI

The results of a breathalyzer test are often considered the strongest evidence a prosecutor has against a defendant in a drunk driving case. However, there are numerous situations in which a breathalyzer gives inaccurate readings. In fact, recent news articles make a good case that breath-testing machines may not provide reliable results.

A significant problem with many breath – testing machines is that they not only detect the chemical compound found in alcoholic beverages (ethyl alcohol) but other chemicals similar in molecular structure. At any given time, more than 100 compounds can be detected in human breath, a majority of which can be incorrectly identified as ethyl alcohol. For example, certain medications, artificial sweeteners and even exposure to paint fumes can cause false positives.

Other circumstances that can give inaccurate readings include:

  • Improperly administered tests
  • Improper calibration of the machine
  • Tests administered by untrained personnel
  • Unmaintained equipment
  • Medical conditions of the person being tested

Refusing a breath test

Should you refuse to submit to a breath test, the prosecution does have to compile other evidence to build a case against you. However, by refusing a breath test, law enforcement may infer that your refusal was based upon your belief that you were legally intoxicated. Further, by refusing a subsequent breath test at the police station you risk a driver’s suspension.

Regardless of the circumstances of your arrest, an experienced DUI attorney can provide sound legal advice. An experienced attorney can examine the evidence against you and help determine if the breath test was administered properly, and whether the results were accurate. Contact Jonathan Scott Smith online or call us at 410-740-0101 to discuss your DUI/DWI case.

The Importance of Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Hearings

If you have been arrested on a Maryland DUI/DWI you must act quickly to avoid losing your license. An experienced criminal law attorney can help you challenge an automatic license suspension through a Motor Vehicle Administration hearing.

The MVA Process

If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI, you have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request an MVA hearing to retain your driving privileges until the hearing date. If you fail to request an MVA hearing within that 10-day period, your driver’s license is automatically suspended. Although you may represent yourself at the MVA hearing, having an attorney knowledgeable in the license suspension process improves your chances of maintaining some or all of your driving privileges.

An administrative law judge (ALJ) conducts the hearing and reviews all the evidence against you from the arresting officer and hears testimony regarding your arrest. You are also allowed to present evidence and give testimony on your behalf. You may also present witnesses, who are subpoenaed to testify on your behalf.

After reviewing all the presented evidence, the ALJ makes a final decision on the following issues:

  • Was probable cause established by the arresting officer?
  • Was proper procedure followed by the arresting officer?
  • Did the defendant submit to or refuse a chemical test?

If the ALJ decides the evidence warrants your license suspension, then the license suspension is upheld. In the case of a suspension, you may be eligible for a restricted permit. If the ALJ decides in your favor, your license is reinstated.

If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI, you should retain an experienced attorney who understands the Maryland administrative hearing process. Contact Jonathan Scott Smith online or call us at 410-740-0101 to discuss your MVA hearing.

Outgoing Head of U.S. Federal Prisons Charged with DUI in Maryland

The soon-to-be former head of the U.S. Federal Prisons recently issued a shame-filled apology for his embarrassing DUI arrest in February. According to an Anne Arundel County police report, Harley Lappin, 55, was pulled over February 26 after an officer spotted him nearly swerve into two vehicles. The report further reported that Lappin’s eyes were bloodshot, his speech was slurred, his breath smelled of alcohol, and he was unable to walk a straight line or keep his balance on one foot during sobriety tests. He had been driving near his Annapolis home in the wee hours of the morning.

Lappin was charged with three counts related to drunk driving and one count each of reckless driving, negligent driving and failing to obey a traffic control device. Following his arrest, Lappin submitted to a breath test. His blood-alcohol content registered .12; the legal limit to drive in Maryland is .08. His case is set for trial June 16 in Annapolis District Court.

Lappin’s February arrest only came to light when he issued a formal apology to his staff on Tuesday, March 29. He made no mention of his DUI arrest when he had initially announced his intention to retire from his job March 25.

Lappin has run the federal prisons system since 2003 after several years running the prison in Butner, North Carolina, where Ponzi-king Bernie Madoff is currently imprisoned. He also presided over the 2001 execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh while serving as the warden of the U.S. penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

His June trial won’t be the first time Lappin has appeared in court as a defendant, rather than on the side of the law. In an unrelated incident, he was caught speeding in Annapolis on March 20. Police said he was driving 69 mph in a 50 mph zone. He pled guilty to speeding March 28 and paid a $90 fine.


  • Jonathan Scott Smith 10490 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 200 ,Columbia, MD 21044-4960

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101