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Maryland has two different laws regarding driving under the influence. The standard DUI law states that a motorist may not drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level at or above .08 percent. However, the state also has a separate DWI law, which states that a motorist may be arrested if their BAC level is at .07 percent. These laws apply to regular drivers above the age of 21.
The BAC level required for minors and commercial vehicle drivers is lower than that of regular motorists. It is illegal in the state of Maryland for minors (drivers under the age of 21) to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC level of .02 percent or higher and for commercial vehicle drivers to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .04 percent or higher.
There are two ways in which Maryland DUIs are prosecuted. On the one hand, a defendant is prosecuted if they are under the influence of alcohol and their judgment is substantially impaired or they may be prosecuted under Maryland’s “per se” law, which entails that a motorist over .08 percent BAC level is under the influence, regardless of how well they are able to drive.
In the state of Maryland, the use of an ignition interlock device is not mandatory. For some cases, an IID may be used but there is no court requirement.
Penalties for Maryland DUI Charges
DUI penalties in Maryland vary according to the number of previous convictions and whether or not there was a minor present at the time of the DUI arrest. The presence of a minor significantly increases the penalties. The following are the penalties that those found guilty of DUI may face:
1st DUI Conviction
• Imprisonment up to 1 year (2 years if minor was in vehicle)
• Driver’s license suspended minimum 6 months
• Fine up to $1,000 ($2,000 if minor was in vehicle)
2nd DUI Conviction
• Imprisonment up to 2 years (3 years if minor was in vehicle)
• Driver’s license suspended 1 year (If within 5 years of previous DUI)
• Fine up to $2,000 ($3,000 if minor was in vehicle)
• May be eligible for ignition interlock device after 45 days of suspension
3rd DUI Conviction (and subsequent)
• Imprisonment up to 3 years (4 years if minor was in vehicle)
• Driver’s license suspended minimum 18 months
• Fine up to $3,000 ($4,000 if minor was in vehicle)
Maryland DWI Penalties
Although the punishments for DWI charges are less severe, they still carry significant implications and can affect a motorist’s record negatively. The following are the penalties incurred if a driver is found guilty of DWI in Maryland:
1st DWI Conviction
• Imprisonment up to 2 months (6 months if minor was in vehicle)
• Driver’s license suspended minimum 6 months
• Fine up to $500 ($1,000 if minor was in vehicle)
2nd DWI Conviction
• Imprisonment up to 1 year
• Driver’s license suspended minimum 1 year
• Fine up to $500 ($2,000 if minor was in vehicle)
Implied Consent Law in Maryland
Any motorist driving in the state of Maryland agrees to the implied consent law. This law states that all motorists must agree to submit to a chemical test of their blood, urine or breath if an officer has reason to believe them to be intoxicated. Those who refuse to take the test may face having their license suspended for 120 days upon the first refusal and for 1 year for the second refusal.
Hiring Legal Assistance to Fight a DUI/DWI Charge in Maryland
Maryland has a 5 year “lookback” period, meaning that state courts will look back on a motorist’s record for 5 years to see if they had any previous drunk driving convictions. If so, penalties will be much higher. Also, motorists only have 10 days to request hearing with Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). A driver’s license will be suspended if they don’t attend hearing on time.
Those who incur DUI/DWI charges in Maryland should seek legal help in order to fight their charges. Turn to a top Maryland DUI/DWI lawyer today to discuss your options and file a claim. Your paralegal may be able to reduce or even completely wipe out your charges.
Without a skilled Maryland DUI/DWI attorney, motorists convicted of the crime will have a hard time with many aspects of their lives, such as getting and keeping a job and any financial endeavors. It is crucial that as soon as the DUI/DWI arrest was made, the motorist obtain legal help.
Don’t waste any time and speak to an acclaimed DUI/DWI lawyer in Maryland today to fight for your rights.