Maryland DUI & DWI Lawyer
DUIs and DWIs are both common charges across Maryland. Throughout the state, however, the frequency of DUI and DWI charges filed has been declining each year. While 25,466 statewide DUI or DWI citations were issued in 2008, only 22,032 were issued in 2010. Across the United States in 2010, approximately 1.41 million drivers were cited for driving while impaired or driving under the influence. While the decline of DUIs and DWIs could indicate a trend towards fewer allegedly drunk drivers in the state, recent budget cuts in areas like Montgomery County and the 2007 exodus of law enforcement personnel from the Annapolis area likely indicate that there are simply fewer police officers on state roadways to enforce traffic laws.
While the charges for first-time offenders are typically misdemeanors, subsequent offenses can quickly increase associated penalties if you’re convicted. For example, first-time offenders can receive a sentence of up to one year in jail, a $1,000 fine, and a license suspension. Third and further DUI or DWI charges may result in up to three years of imprisonment and a $3,000.00 fine. Certain scenarios can exacerbate charges. For example, receiving a DUI or DWI while transporting a minor in your vehicle is a serious charge that can add up to one year and $1,000 to any resulting penalties following a conviction.
If you are facing a DUI or DWI, especially in a second or third offense, it’s important to hire a Maryland DUI/DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible. From the moment a police officer decides to perform the traffic stop that results in your arrest, he or she is gathering evidence that can be used against you at trial. A professional attorney in Maryland can help you examine this evidence fully for errors or discrepancies and defend you when your court date arrives.
DUI Law Info
Driving Under the Influence – DUI
ß21-902 of the Maryland Transportation Code outlines what constitutes a DUI in Maryland and the associated penalties that can result from a conviction. In order to be convicted of a DUI, the state must prove that you operated or attempted to operate a motor vehicle on public property (or private property often used by the general public) with a blood alcohol content at or above .08%. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test can result in a license suspension, and it won’t stop the state from attempting to prove that you are guilty of driving under the influence using other evidence (behavior at traffic stop, performance on field sobriety tests, etc.). The possible penalties that a Maryland defense lawyer can help you fight include:
- First DUI Offense: Up to 12 months in jail, fines reaching $1,000, and loss of driving privileges.
- Second DUI Offense: Up to 2 years in jail, $2,000 in fines, and loss of driving privileges.
- Third DUI Offense: Up to 3 years in jail, $3,000 in fines, and loss of driving privileges.
Repeat offenses are covered under ß27-101 of the Maryland Transportation Code. If you are convicted on a DUI charge, other penalties can apply at the discretion of the judge hearing your case. Some common penalties include home detention, probation, community service, or alcohol/drug counseling and classes.
Blood Alcohol Content
Maryland sets guidelines for drivers to determine whether your blood alcohol content (BAC) is elevated enough for you to be charged with a DUI. Both legal and procedural mistakes made during these tests can be useful evidence for your Maryland defense lawyer to use at your trial, possibly resulting in a beneficial plea bargain or dismissal of all charges. The legal BAC in Maryland depends on your age and reason for using the vehicle. A BAC registered at or above the following levels is sufficient at the time of your arrest (or shortly thereafter) to result in a DUI citation:
- Under 21 years old – .02%
- 21 years old or older – .08%
- Commercial drivers – .04%
ß11ñ174.1 of the Maryland Transportation Code sets the legal limits for BAC while operating a motor vehicle on Maryland’s public roadways. ß16ñ205.1 further explains the test as either a breath or blood specimen sample to both determine possible drugs in your system and their associated levels when compared to the total blood content of your body.
Refusal to Take Chemical Test
Maryland operates under an implied consent law, as outlined in Transportation Code ß 16-205.1. Implied consent means that all Maryland drivers that either operate or attempt to operate a motor vehicle on state roadways are assumed to consent to a blood or breath test upon being detained by a law enforcement agent. Only suspicion of a traffic violation is necessary for a police officer to stop your vehicle. But you do retain your right to refuse such a test, and the officer attempting to administer the test is not legally permitted to force you unless you are involved in a traffic accident that results in a serious injury or death. Simply refusing the test may result in penalties, however:
- First refusal: automatic suspension of license for 120 days
- Second refusal: suspension of license for one year
If your license is suspended for refusal to submit to a chemical test, the officer will grant you a temporary license that allows you to drive for 45 days. You can also hire a Maryland defense lawyer specializing in DUI and DWI charges to dispute the suspension within ten days. Drivers may also be given the opportunity to participate in the ignition interlock device program and request a restricted license for one year instead of a suspended license.
Driving While Impaired
While the penalties for DUIs and DWIs are relatively similar, DUIs typically carry a harsher punishment. Police officers often determine which citation to issue to a suspected impaired driver based on the results of a BAC test. For example, a registered BAC of .07% can still result in a DWI citation. A DUI is issued if your BAC is .08% or above. This small differentiation can make a huge difference if you are convicted, which makes it vital to hire a Maryland DWI defense lawyer to help you navigate a fair trial. The potential penalties for a DWI, as outlined by Maryland Code Transportation ß 27-101 are:
- First DWI Offense: Up to 2 months in jail and $500 in fines
- Second and Subsequent DWI Offenses: Up to 1 year in jail and $500 in fines
Especially in DWI cases, it is possible for a DUI/DWI defense lawyer in Maryland to attempt a “wet reckless” plea bargain for a first offense. This plea bargain reduces the charges against you from drunk or impaired driving to reckless driving. While there are no statutory provisions outlining whether this plea bargain will be accepted in your case, one of our qualified DUI/DWI defense attorneys can help you understand reckless plea bargains and other options you have in the course of your case.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI or DWI, it’s important to choose a Maryland defense lawyer specializing in drunk driving. While first-time offenders may face relatively light penalties, repeat offenders may be sentenced to jail time and fines as well as a possible driver’s license suspension. Our team of professional DUI defense lawyers in Maryland has experience working with judges and prosecutors in a variety of areas throughout the state. Choose a Maryland DWI lawyer close enough to your home or work to give you dedicated representation and fight for you when your court date comes.
982 DWI and DUI cases were filed in Baltimore during 2010, a fraction of the charges filed in Baltimore County— 2,459. Even in cases that seem likely to result in a guilty verdict, mistakes can be uncovered. Your expert Maryland DUI/DWI defense lawyer in Baltimore can examine all aspects of your arrest, including field sobriety tests and breath tests, for accuracy and legality. Procedural or technical errors can result in a dismissal of your case. A local defense attorney in Baltimore is conveniently located to fight for your driving rights and freedoms, even when facing serious traffic charges.
If you are charged with a DUI or DWI in Bethesda, you need a seasoned defense team at your side to help you fight charges related to your arrest. A qualified Maryland DUI lawyer can help you examine all evidence in your case for inconsistencies or scientific errors that could earn you a dismissal of all charges. Our Bethesda DUI/DWI law office is conveniently located within the city, allowing you to use public transportation if your driver’s license has been suspended as a result of a DUI or DWI citation.
The large student population of College Park also contributes to a heightened number of DUI and DWI citations in the area. The University of Maryland – College Park enrolls an average of 37,000 students a year, a large portion of the residents of the city. Whether you are a student or a citizen of College Park, a DUI/DWI can have serious repercussions on your education and career. Hiring a Maryland defense lawyer in College Park gives you the local edge over the court system and helps you maintain maximum access to your defense team throughout your case.
U.S. Route 29, Interstate 95, and MD-175 all connect Columbia to neighboring cities like Baltimore and Washington, D.C.; they also serve as popular DUI traps for law enforcement officers in the area. Our DUI and DWI lawyers in Columbia serve the 99,615 residents of the planned community to help protect those accused of driving under the influence or driving while impaired.
When data was last gathered in 2010, Montgomery County ranked first in the state in terms of total DUI and DWI charges filed in the area. 3,512 new charges were filed with Montgomery County courts in 2010, but the court system tried 5,324 DUI or DWI cases in the same year. Of these, 98 defendants were found not guilty while an additional 2,585 received probation before judgment (PBJ). Our DUI and DWI defense attorneys in Montgomery County have vast experience working with clients facing charges like driving under the influence or driving while impaired.
Prince George’s County
Among counties within Maryland, Prince George’s County ranked second in the state for number of DUI and DWI cases filed in 2010 — 2,733. Of these, 75 defendants were found guilty. An additional 185 received probation before judgment, a lighter sentence that allows the accused to avoid a conviction on their criminal record. You can ask your attorney about the possibility of a probation before judgment result, as well as the benefits and consequences of doing so. A Maryland defense lawyer specializing in DUI and DWI offenses can help you fight charges and avoid fines, jail, and points on your driver’s license.
Both the Rockville City Police Department and the Montgomery County Police Department patrol the third largest city in Maryland, home to 61,209 residents. DUIs and DWIs are common in the area as the city forms part of the greater Washington, D.C. metro area. Our Maryland defense lawyers in Rockville have vast knowledge of the local court system as well as vehicle codes within the state. If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Rockville, a qualified legal representative can give you the defense you need to obtain a positive outcome in your case.
Hyattsville is usually pretty crowded in terms of traffic because one of the main arteries for the District of Columbia, Rhode Island Avenue, runs right through the heart of it. Thousands of people use that road every day to get in and out of Washington for work, and it is also a great way to get to the restaurants and bars that D.C. has to offer. If you have been stopped for a DUI or if you have been formally charged with drunk driving, our attorneys in Hyattsville might be able to help.
The Beltway runs right through Silver Spring, which means that it is home to one of the busiest sections of road in the nation. Drivers are constantly using this route for business, but they might also be coming home after having one too many drinks. If you have been charged with a DUI in Silver Spring, contact us for more information about our services.