The state of Maryland has two types of drinking and driving offenses. Driving while under the influence, commonly referred to as a DUI, is defined as driving while your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. A DUI is the more severe of the two driving offenses in the state. Driving while impaired, or DWI, occurs when a person is assumed to be impaired by alcohol due to a BAC of 0.07.
It’s important to note that you could be facing increased penalties if you had a child in your vehicle when you were pulled over for your DUI or DWI offense. It’s also illegal to drive while impaired by drugs, including legally prescribed medications, or a combination of drugs and alcohol. Furthermore, drivers under the age of 21 with any level of alcohol in their system will be arrested and charged with a DUI due to our state’s zero-tolerance policy for underaged citizens.
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI or DWI in the Baltimore metropolitan area, you need an experienced DUI Lawyer representing you.
What Happens During a Traffic Stop for a DUI or DWI?
If a police officer suspects you’re driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, they will pull you over and ask to test your BAC. If you refuse to take this test, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended. If you take the test and have a BAC of 0.08 or higher, your license will also be suspended and you’ll face other consequences for your criminal offense. These license suspensions could range from 180 days to two years, depending on your BAC and whether you have previously been arrested for a drunk driving offense.
If you’re able to pass the breath test but show other signs of intoxication (such as failing a field sobriety test, driving erratically, or slurring your words), the officer might still charge you with a DWI, rather than a DUI.
What Does a License Suspension Mean?
After your driver’s license has been confiscated by the police officer, the state will issue you a temporary license that’s good for 45 days. Under Maryland law, you have the right to request a hearing to review your license suspension with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) within 30 days of your arrest. If you do not request a hearing, your suspension will begin on the 46th day after your arrest.
At your hearing, the MVA will consider things like whether the arresting officer had reasonable grounds to pull you over, whether there was sufficient evidence you were under the influence, whether you refused to take the BAC test, whether anyone was injured or killed as a result of your impairment, and more.
If the MVA judge determines that you were properly pulled over and found to have been under the influence, your license will be suspended. When you do have your driving privileges restored, you’ll be required to partake in the Ignition Interlock System Program, meaning you’d only be able to drive your car with a special device installed. Maryland is an “all offender” state, so even first-time offenders must install an ignition interlock device after a drunk driving conviction for a defined period of time. Some drivers are eligible to opt in to the program and skip the driver’s license suspension.
Due to the serious repercussions on your ability to drive for a prolonged period of time, it’s wise to contact an experienced attorney from the moment of your arrest to assist you in safeguarding your driver’s license and fighting your charge.
What Are the Criminal Consequences for a DUI or DWI?
Drunk-driving offenses are misdemeanors here in Maryland. If you’re found guilty of a DUI or DWI in court, you’re facing a hefty fine and potential jail time. Your sentence could range from a $500 fine and two months in jail to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail. If you were transporting a minor or if you have previous convictions for driving while impaired, your punishment will increase.
Fight for Your Rights After a DUI
Attorney Andrei Blakely has handled hundreds of DUI cases in the Baltimore area. When the consequences are as severe as potential jail time and loss of license, you need an experienced attorney who will fight your charges and work to reduce the negative impact on your life.
Don’t delay if you’ve been arrested for a drunk driving offense. Contact DUI attorney Andrei Blakely today.
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