Maryland DUI Lawyer

If you’ve been accused of driving under the influence (DUI), working with a Maryland DUI lawyer can help you to defend yourself and recover from the charges as quickly as possible. The Maryland Department of Transportation reports that more than 24,000 people were arrested statewide for drunk driving over the course of a year. Maryland is a participant in a program called Checkpoint Strikeforce, which is described as a “highly visible enforcement and public information campaign.” This campaign involves sobriety checkpoints and aggressive patrolling by law enforcement officers.

However, an aggressive approach to policing drunk driving can sometimes mean innocent people are arrested. It also means motorists can face harsh penalties even if they just have one drink too many. You need to understand your options for defending yourself if you are accused of driving impaired, and a Maryland DUI lawyer can help you respond to charges so you can fight accusations against you.

Maryland Drunk Driving Offenses

Maryland Transportation Code Section 21-902 prohibits:

  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol per se. Code Section 11-174.1 defines being “under the influence of alcohol per se” to mean having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or greater
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol while transporting a minor
  • Driving while impaired by alcohol
  • Driving while impaired by alcohol while transporting a minor
  • Driving or attempting to drive a vehicle when under the influence of drugs, or any combination of drugs and/or alcohol, that prevents safe driving
  • Driving while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol

Each of these similar offenses is listed separately in Code Section 21-902 because the offenses have different penalties. Driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) means your blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher. Driving while impaired by alcohol (DWI), on the other hand, is a less serious offense you are charged with if alcohol affects your driving ability but you are not over-the-limit. Having a minor in the car with you makes penalties worse for both DUI and DWI.

Penalties for Maryland Drunk Driving Offenses

Code Section 27-101 establishes penalties for DUI and DWI.

  • For a first offense DUI, you could be fined up to $1,000 and go to jail for up to a year. A first DUI results in a license suspension of six months and 12 points on your license
  • For a first offense DWI, you could be fined up to $500 and go to jail for up to 60 days. DWI results in a 60 day suspension and eight points on your license
  • For a second offense DUI, you face penalties up to $2,000 and a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days. You could be sentenced to up to two years in jail. Your license will also be revoked for 12 months and you will need an ignition interlock device to get it back
  • For a second offense DWI, penalties could include up to a year in jail, a $500 fine, and a 120 license suspension
  • For a third DUI offense, penalties include a fine up to $3,000, up to three years jail time, and the loss of your license for 18 months
  • For a third DWI, penalties include up to a year in jail and a 12-month license suspension.

An arrest for driving impaired can result in an automatic administrative licenses suspension by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. You have the right to request a hearing, but must make that request within 30 days to fight the suspension. Traffic Code Section 16-2015.1 provides details on this automatic suspension of your license.

How a Maryland DUI Lawyer Can Help

A Maryland DUI lawyer will help you fight an administrative license suspension as well as criminal charges. Your attorney will file all court and MVA paperwork on your behalf.

Your attorney can talk to the prosecutor to try to negotiate a plea deal to reduce the consequences of admitting guilt, or can try to get charges dropped if the police searched you illegally and evidence of your intoxication is inadmissible against you. Additionally, a MD DUI attorney can explain what happens to your license after you’ve been charged with a DUI. If you then decide you would like to challenge the suspension, the attorney can guide you in that process as well.

Your attorney can also help you to raise defenses in court, or argue that the prosecutor hasn’t proved beyond a reasonable doubt that you were impaired or under the influence.

To learn more about how a Maryland DUI lawyer will help you, call today.