Maryland DUI Lawyer
DUI cases in Maryland are governed by § 21-902 of the Maryland state code. This section is broken into three smaller divisions for more specific situations. The first is known as §21-902(a)(1) and the second is §21-902(a)(2). These both work together to govern those who have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. If you are facing these charges, a Maryland DUI lawyer can help you to defend your case if you attest that you were not under the influence of alcohol or if procedures were ignored during your arrest that made it unlawful. Prosecution will require consistent evidence to demonstrate your violation.
Another code that one of our DUI lawyers in Maryland will examine while working with you is known as §21-902(b). This section is concerned with the charge of Driving while Impaired by Alcohol (DWI), a charge carrying a lesser weight than the first. If you were fully under the influence, it means that your alcohol usage was to the extent that your necessary ability to function was removed to the best of their estimation. As you will see when examining the penalties, these differences are important.
Penalty for Influenced Driving
In the case of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, note that the maximum allowable penalty is a single year of incarceration. This can also be paired with a fine of up to $1,000. This is the fine for a first offense. However, first-time DUI offenders often receive a lesser penalty. Repeat offenders are typically subject to far harsher sentences.
Penalty for Impaired Driving
If you have been charged with Driving while Impaired by Alcohol, you may face a 60-day jail term at a maximum upon conviction. Once again, this can be coupled with a fine of up to $500 if you are given the maximum sentence. As a repeat offender, it is likely that you’ll receive a higher charge, though first-time offenders rarely see the maximum sentence. A DUI lawyer in Maryland will need to know if you have been charged previously while preparing for your case. This will influence how your attorney approaches the case and creates a solid defense.
In order to prove that the accused was in fact operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, officers on the scene may administer a breathalyzer test. If the subject blows a .08 or higher in terms of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), then he or she is declared above the legal limit in the state. The driver does have the right to refuse the test when pulled over. Officers can then attempt to prove that he or she is intoxicated by using methods such as standard field sobriety tests. The three aspects of a standard field sobriety test are horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn and the one leg stand test. If you have been arrested on either basis, your Maryland DUI lawyer will be given access to the results of the tests.
The Penalties for Repeat Offenders
The state of Maryland imposes heavier penalties on repeat offenders than on first time offenders. Under code §27-101, included in the Transportation Article of the Maryland Code, a person who is convicted of Driving Under the Influence a second time after less than five years have passed since their first conviction must serve at least five days in jail. The maximum sentence is also doubled to a fine of $2,000 and a jail term of two years. If a third offense is committed, the punishment again rises to up to $3,000 and three years in prison.
Furthermore, as any experienced Maryland DUI defense attorney will attest, a second Driving While Impaired conviction could lead to a maximum penalty that consists of a $500 fine and a year of incarceration. Convictions after that could lead to additional charges. A judge may also decide to impose:
- Community service
- Home detention
- Mandatory attendance at a Victim Impact Panel
Additional License Suspensions
According to code §16-205 of the Transportation Article, it is also common for a driver’s license to be suspended following conviction for a DWI or a DUI. Whether or not the license is suspended will be up to the judge, who will base his or her decision on the specifics of the case, the number of prior offenses, and other factors. License suspension is not mandatory. While it is uncommon even for repeat offenders to receive the maximum sentence in terms of fines and jail time, it is common for them to lose their licenses.
Statistics in Maryland for DUIs and DWIs
The statistics for DUIs and DWIs indicate approximately many people require a qualified Maryland DUI attorney. In 2010, there were 18,526 arrests of people who were later charged with DUIs. This includes 122 arrests for individuals under the age of 18. One-third of the people arrested had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 through .14. The other two-thirds had a BAC of .15 or higher. Anything below .08 is legal in Maryland, so statistics were not kept below that point.
A total of 154 total fatalities were related to DUI charges in 2010, taking into account both the person who had been drinking and others who were simply involved in the accidents. Of these fatalities, around 10 percent involved people who were under the age of 21.
If you’ve been charged with Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Impaired, an experienced Maryland DUI defense lawyer will examine the specifics of your case and use all available legal resources in order to give you the best chance of receiving a favorable outcome to your trial.