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Maryland DUI Lawyer
Being charged with an alcohol-related driving offense in Maryland can be the beginning of an arduous ordeal if you do not seek quality legal representation from a Maryland DUI lawyer well-versed in DUI defense. In Maryland, drivers who have been drinking prior to taking the wheel may be charged with either Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Impaired (DWI). The severity of the penalties depends on the offense with which the driver is charged and any aggravating circumstances. If you are charged with DUI or DWI, your first priority should be contacting a Maryland DUI attorney who can help you understand the charge against you and who can clearly explain your best options for defense.
Maryland DUI Laws
While Maryland, like all states, considers a driver to be intoxicated with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above. However, a driver may also be charged with a criminal driving offense with a BAC below 0.08 under certain conditions:
- Driving with a BAC of 0.08 is charged as DUI
- Driving with a BAC of 0.07 is charged as DWI
- If a driver is under the age of 21, driving with a BAC as low as 0.02 is charged as DUI
- If a driver is a commercial vehicle driver, driving with a BAC as low as 0.04 is charged as DUI
Maryland DUI is generally charged as a misdemeanor, but a driver may be charged with felony DUI if he or she is involved in an injury accident, causes extensive property damage, is transporting a minor, or is involved in other crimes as a result of driving under the influence.
After a DUI Arrest in Maryland
If you are pulled over and suspected of DUI based on your demeanor, driving patterns, or the results of field sobriety testing, you will be arrested and given further blood alcohol analysis testing. If you are found to have a BAC that exceeds the legal limit, you will be charged with DWI or DUI.
Because Maryland follows Implied Consent law, you are required to submit to blood alcohol analysis through a blood test, breath test, or urine test. If you refuse to submit to blood alcohol analysis, your license will be automatically suspended for 120 days.
A DUI arrest and charge trigger two events: a criminal case and civil administrative proceedings involving the suspension of the driver’s license.
When you are arrested, your license is temporarily suspended by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). You may be able to have driving privileges reinstated, but in order to do so, you must request an MVA hearing within ten days of your DUI arrest. A Maryland DUI lawyer can help you request a hearing and can represent you in the administrative hearing to help you maintain driving privileges pending the outcome of your criminal case.
If you are convicted of DUI in a criminal case, you face fines, license suspension, restrictions and sanctions, and a criminal record that can negatively impact your personal, professional, and educational opportunities for a lifetime. Finding a skilled Maryland DUI lawyer who is intimately familiar with all aspects of DUI law and who is experienced in representing clients charged with alcohol-related driving offenses will generally increase your likelihood of successful DUI defense.
In Maryland, the legal penalties for a DUI or DWI conviction depend upon the severity of the crime with which the defendant is charged. Maryland DWI is considered a lesser offense, and therefore, the penalties are somewhat lighter than those associated with DUI in Maryland. Furthermore, a subsequent DUI conviction yields heavier penalties than a first offense.
Maryland DUI Penalties for a First Offense
A first offense DUI or DWI in Maryland is charged as a misdemeanor. For the lesser offense of DWI, a conviction can lead to two months in jail and a fine of $500. For first offense DUI, the convicted driver faces up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. In both DUI and DWI cases, there is a six month minimum license suspension, and penalties are doubled if the convicted driver was transporting a minor while intoxicated.
Maryland DUI Penalties for a Second Offense
A Maryland DUI is considered a second offense if it occurs within five years of a previous DUI conviction. For DWI, second offense penalties include up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $500 (up to $2,000 if transporting a minor), and a license suspension of one year. Second offense DUI in Maryland may be penalized by up to two years in jail (three years if transporting a minor), a fine of up to $2,000 ($3,000 if transporting a minor), license suspension of one year, and the mandatory installation of Ignition Interlock at the cost of the convicted party.
Maryland DUI Penalties for Third and Subsequent Offenses
Upon a third or subsequent conviction of DUI in Maryland, a driver is subject to up to three years in jail (four if transporting a minor), a fine of up to $3,000 ($4,000 if transporting a minor), and an 18-month license suspension.
DUI Defense from a Maryland DUI Attorney
Whether you are facing your first DUI charge or you are designated as a repeat offender, you need legal representation for the best result to your case. Before you plead guilty, contact a Maryland DUI lawyer who can help you understand your options for defense. DUI defense will often include pleading not guilty or negotiating a plea agreement, in which a defendant pleads guilty to the original charge or a lesser charge in return for favorable sentencing. To find out how to best proceed following a DUI arrest, find an experienced DUI lawyer in Maryland.