Howard County DUI Charges
Although a DWI is a lesser offense than DUI, being convicted can still have a big impact on your life. As a result it is important that you both understand what exactly you are facing, and then consult with a Howard County driving while impaired lawyer to further discuss your case and how to proceed. Below is what you need to know before calling and scheduling a free consultation.
BAC Requirements For a DWI in Howard County
- 0.08% or Higher: Presumption of DUI
- 0.07% or Higher: Presumption of DWI
- 0.06%: No Presumption
- 0.05% or Lower: Presumption of Sobriety
A 0.08 or higher creates a presumption of DUI while a 0.07 or higher creates a presumption of DWI. A 0.06 has no presumption at all and a 0.05 creates a presumption of sobriety. So basically the DWI zone is really between a 0.07 and a 0.08. The state may try to prove a DWI with a 0.06 but that’s going to be a lot tougher, because there’s no presumption of intoxication or impairment from the breath test.
Even at a 0.07 or higher, the presumption is not irrefutable. It may indeed be possible to show that even though you blew a 0.07 you actually weren’t buzzed or impaired at the time of the incident. This is not the case with a 0.08—DUI per se. A 0.08 reading is sufficient for the state to prove DUI per se, even if there’s no, or minimal, subjective impairment.
How Are DWI Charges Treated Compared to DUI Charges?
Usually both DUI and DWI are going to be charged in an impaired driving arrest. So when an individual is arrested for a DUI, they’re usually going to receive either two or three citations depending on if they blew into the breathalyzer. When an individual blows into the breathalyzer, then they’ll probably receive citations for:
- DUI, 21902(a)(1),
- DUI per se, 29902(a)(2)
- and DWI, 21902(b)(1).
The state will only seek a conviction on one of those charges. If an individual is convicted of the most serious offense, then the lesser two charges will not apply. However, if the prosecution cannot marshal enough evidence to convict a defendant of a DUI per se, for example, then they may still pursue a DUI or DWI conviction. The different levels of charges exist as fallbacks when the prosecution cannot meet the burden of proof for a certain charge, and lesser charges can also be used as incentives during plea bargain negotiations.
How Are Penalties For a DWI Different From a DUI?
The penalty for a first offense DUI is a maximum one year of incarceration and a thousand dollar fine and 12 points on your license. The penalties for a first offense DWI is 60 days, $500 and 8 points on your license. Now in both cases, those are maximum penalties and not what an individual can actually expect to receive. It is very uncommon for a first offender to get a year of incarceration or even 60 days of incarceration.
Generally, incarceration on a first offense is the exception not the rule, so just because the maximum penalty is a year doesn’t mean that an individual will actually receive a year of incarceration on a first offense.