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Prince George’s Driving While Impaired Lawyer
A driving while impaired charge in Maryland can be quite intimidating, especially when a driver is not familiar with how the offense in Maryland may differ from similar alcohol or drug-related driving offenses in other states. Our experienced Prince George’s driving while impaired lawyers can be by your side throughout the judicial process, looking out for your best interests.
In Maryland, there are four different types of drunk-driving related offenses. Driving under the influence of alcohol is considered the most serious, while driving while impaired is considered a lesser offense. Although a DWI may be less serious than a DUI in Prince George’s County, the charge should not be taken lightly. It is still considered a criminal offense that can stay on a person’s record for years, affecting not only insurance rates and driving privileges, but also potentially a driver’s professional and educational opportunities.
DUI Versus Driving While Impaired
In Maryland, if a driver has a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or higher, this is automatically considered a DUI violation. A DWI offense, on the other hand, is typically the charge given when a driver’s BAC registers between 0.08 and 0.06 percent.
A driver may actually also be charged with a DWI with a BAC level below 0.05 percent, under certain circumstances. If the arresting officer believes that a driver exhibits evidence of driving while impaired by either alcohol or drugs, he or she may take their subjective observations – likely obtained during a field sobriety test – into account when deciding whether to issue a DWI, even with a fairly low BAC level. Your Prince George’s County DWI lawyer can challenge those observations in court.
Regardless of what your BAC level registered at the time of your arrest, your Prince George’s driving while impaired attorney can help by contesting the charges.
Driving While Impaired Penalties in Prince George’s County
Driving while impaired in Prince George’s County carries a penalty of up to two months in jail and a fine of up to $500, so long as the misdemeanor conviction is a first offense. Having a minor in the vehicle triggers an increased penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1000.
If a driver receives a subsequent conviction for a drunk driving-related offense, the penalty is enhanced to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $500. Having a minor in the car at the time of arrest when the driver already has a prior alcohol-related conviction also brings about enhanced penalties, increasing the prison sentence to two years and a fine to up to $2000.
DWI by Dangerous Drugs
The standard DWI offense applies to both driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, but driving while impaired by a so-called controlled substance carries harsher penalties. A first offense for driving while impaired by a dangerous substance – which includes any schedule I through schedule V controlled substance – carries an initial penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1000.
Just like with the lesser DWI charge, subsequent convictions and having a minor in the vehicle both increase the penalties a driver faces.
In addition, a driver convicted of driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance within five years of a prior alcohol or drug-related driving offense faces a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days, or a mandatory minimum ten days for three convictions within five years. In addition, drivers may be required to attend a mandatory drug abuse assessment or alcohol program, as well as face potential license suspension through the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.