Maryland DUI/DWI Lawyer.
Maryland has two separate charges related to “drunk driving” or driving after consuming other inebriating substances: Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI) or Driving While Impaired by Alcohol (DWI). To be charged with a DUI or DWI, a driver must be operating or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle and have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater.
Actual physical control over a vehicle is determined by looking at several factors; whether or not the engine is running or ignition is on, where the person is positioned in the vehicle, if the person is awake, where the ignition key is located, if the headlights are on, and if the vehicle is in a roadway or parked legally.
The key distinction between a DUI and DWI is one of degree. A DUI is much more serious and requires that a person’s normal coordination be substantially impaired by alcohol. A DWI is less serious and requires that alcohol has impaired the person’s normal coordination to some extent. A jury is also permitted to find that a defendant is guilty of a DWI based solely on a BAC of .07, unlike a DUI.
A person is considered “per se” intoxicated if their BAC is .08 or above. This means that you can be charged with, and convicted of a DWI, even though your actual driving was not affected by your alcohol consumption. You do have the right to refuse to submit to a blood or breath test, and a jury may not consider this as per se proof of guilt.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI) is a criminal charge in Maryland that can potentially carry a wide variety of penalties. First offenders face up to one year in prison, fines of up to $1,000, suspension of your driver’s license, and 8 points on your driving record. Second time offenders face the possibility of up to two years in jail, $2,000 in fines, driver’s license suspension or even revocation, and 12 points on your license. Offenders with three or more DUIs face up to three years in jail, $3,000 in fines, and driver’s license suspension or license revocation.
In addition to the above penalties, a DUI/DWI conviction can lead to increased auto insurance premiums, decreased credit ratings, travel restrictions, and various other costs. Any driver in Maryland who has been charged with either offense should consider hiring an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer to help defend against this charge and even beat the case.
- If you face one or more of these charges it is crucial that you contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible in order to protect your rights.
For more detail regarding these laws you can read the Maryland Official Code.