The finding of Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) is common in numerous criminal and traffic cases. When agreeing to a PBJ, you are pleading guilty, and therefore, waiving your right to an appeal. But, the guilty finding is then replaced with a PBJ. Three things you must know:
1) In most circumstances, a PBJ can be expunged from your record after 3 years, which means it will not show up in case search or in a background check. However, there are exceptions—such as DUI—where expungement is not an option.
2) One question we get all the time is how to answer the question about convictions on a job application when you have a PBJ on your record. The answer is that you can answer that question “No” because a PBJ is not considered a conviction. In addition, if you were charged with DUI and receive a PBJ, your insurance rates will not increase as dramatically as they would if you were found guilty.
3) Unfortunately, not all crimes or traffic offenses are eligible for a PBJ. A first time DUI/DWI or controlled dangerous substance crime is eligible for a PBJ. A second DUI/DWI offense within a 10 year period or a second controlled dangerous substance crime is not eligible for a PBJ. Keep in mind, a PBJ is not awarded automatically just because you were charged with a crime of traffic offense that is eligible for probation. For example, some judges will not award a PBJ for DUI offenses, especially if there was a high blood alcohol concentration or you contributed to an accident.
If you receive a PBJ and violate the terms of your probation, i.e. getting charged with another crime during your probationary period, you will face the entire sentence for the crime or offense you committed when you are brought back in for the violation of probation hearing.
If you or a family member has been charged with DUI/DWI, or some other crime in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 and schedule an appointment at our office in Silver Spring or throughout Maryland, or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/