Bethesda Driving While Impaired Lawyer
In Maryland, there are four types of alcohol and drug-related driving charges. Driving under the influence of alcohol in Bethesda is the most severe charge, but driving while impaired – by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both – is also a serious charge that can stick on a driver’s record for years and cause problems with employment, college financing, and professional licensing and security clearances. If you are facing such a charge, a Bethesda driving while impaired lawyer can help.
Driving While Impaired Charges in Bethesda
Typically, whether a driver is charged with driving under the influence or driving while impaired depends on the level of blood alcohol content the driver has at the time. A BAC of 0.08 percent or above automatically constitutes a driving under the influence charge under Maryland Code § 10-307. A BAC of between 0.07 percent and 0.08 percent is considered a driving while impaired charge, which is the lesser offense.
Drivers who have a BAC of between 0.05 percent and 0.07 percent can also be charged with driving while impaired, but the arresting officer will need to have gathered additional evidence to support a claim of impairment. The prosecutor can use the arresting officer’s subjective perceptions and opinions about a driver’s state of impairment, including things like observations of slurred speech, erratic driving, swerving, the alleged smell of alcohol on a driver’s breath, or poor performance on a field sobriety test.
If you are facing a driving while impaired charge, your Bethesda driving while impaired attorney can challenge the evidence against you, including the police officer’s subjective observations, as well as the BAC breathalyzer test results, if you believe they were inaccurate.
Penalties for Driving While Impaired in Bethesda
Driving while impaired in Maryland carries serious penalties that can depend on the substance a driver is allegedly impaired by, as well as the BAC level a driver registers. A driver who is found guilty of driving while impaired can face a misdemeanor conviction with up to two months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Subsequent alcohol or drug-related driving convictions can bring about heightened penalties, with a second conviction carrying a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of $500, and two or more prior convictions carrying mandatory minimum jail sentences of five to ten days.
Being arrested for driving while impaired with a minor in the vehicle at the time also triggers an enhanced penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1000. If a person charged with driving while impaired had both a minor in the car and a prior alcohol or drug-related driving conviction, he or she faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2000. In addition, drivers found to be impaired by so-called dangerous substances, or drugs classified as schedule I through schedule V, face even harsher penalties.
In cases where prior offenses or aggravating factors lead to the possibility of increased penalties, speak with a Bethesda driving while impaired attorney to discuss defense strategies and how to move forward.
Consult an Experienced DWI Defense Lawyer in Bethesda
Although driving while impaired is considered a less serious offense then driving under the influence, it is not a charge that should be taken lightly. You will still need the help of an experienced Bethesda driving while impaired lawyer who can fight to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed.
Our firm’s DWI attorneys in Bethesda know how important it is to keep these types of charges off your record, and we will work passionately to have your case resolved in a fair manner.