Probation before judgment (PBJ) is a term you may hear thrown about in Maryland criminal law circles. Probation before judgment essentially means being placed on probation before you have been found guilty of a crime which allows you to avoid having a conviction on your permanent record. If you have been arrested for a DUI then are many benefits to PBJ but it comes with drawbacks as well. Learn all you need to know about probation before judgment in this week’s blog.
What You Need to Know About Probation Before Judgment
Probation before judgment can greatly lessen the impact of a DUI arrest. Because your record will reflect that you have not been convicted of a crime, your car insurance rates won’t skyrocket, you may be able to have the matter expunged upon completion of probation, and you will be able to answer honestly on job applications that you have never been convicted of a crime. However, not everyone will qualify for probation before judgment. Most importantly, this must be your first DUI/DWI offense unless your last conviction occurred more than 10 years ago. Probation before judgment is meant as a second chance for offenders that do not pose a significant risk of reoffending and it is not automatically offered to all first-time offenders.
Because PBJ is not automatically granted for first time offenders, it is important to present yourself well at sentencing to leave a good impression on the judge. Arriving on time and neatly dressed can go a long way in convincing a judge of your trustworthiness. Also remember that it is highly unlikely to receive PBJ in cases where your blood alcohol content was exceedingly high, an accident resulted, or you were arrested with a large amount of drugs.
Drawbacks to probation before judgment
While there are certainly benefits to accepting probation before judgment, it will not always lead to the best outcome. Firstly, being on probation entails extended supervision, often for a year or more. If you violate the terms of your probation then your entire case will be brought back in front the judge but will also include a charge for violation of probation which is a significant offense. Upon accepting PBJ you also give up your right to appeal, which may not be smart depending on your particular circumstances. Speaking with an experienced Baltimore criminal attorney can help you understand how accepting PBJ may influence your situation and whether it is the right choice for you.
Bruce Robinson & Associates
Bruce Robinson & Associates is a criminal defense law firm based in Baltimore, MD. If you have been accused of criminal actions and need to seek aggressive counsel, Robinson & Associates is here to help. For more information and to schedule your free consultation, give Robinson & Associates a call at 443-524-7395 or visit us at www.marylandcriminallawyer.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.