If you’ve been charged with drunk driving, it is imperative you contact a skilled and experienced DUI defense lawyer to begin setting up your defense and developing the best steps to take next. With the help of an accomplished defense attorney, you may be able to keep your driver’s license and avoid jail time and lengthy probation.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Impaired (DWI) are serious offenses in the state of Maryland. There has been a national push by organizations to reduce the number of people that drive while under the influence or impaired by alcohol, drugs, or controlled dangerous substances.
Have you been charged with drunk driving or driving while impaired and now searching for a Baltimore, Md. DUI lawyer? We are the Baltimore DUI lawyers Marylanders trust, we can help defend your rights and protect your license to drive, contact our drunk driving defense lawyers today at (410) 694-7291 and schedule a free consultation.
Let our defense attorneys fight for you in and out of the courtroom and work to ensure you stay on the road with your driver’s license and reduce the consequences.
Our Baltimore DUI Defense Lawyers Can Help
The one thing you must do as soon as possible after being released by the police is speaking with a DUI attorney. The consequences of a DUI or DWI conviction can be devastating. Searching for the best DUI lawyer can be tricky. You may not know who to trust or which law firm to choose. Choose an impaired driving defense lawyer with years of experience and knowledge of the judges and prosecutors handling these types of cases.
As a former Assistant State’s Attorney in Maryland, I have tried thousands of DUI and DWI cases in front of both Judges and juries in Maryland. I can help you understand the charges against you. In addition to defending clients in Baltimore courtrooms, I was a prosecutor and knows the laws and rules that are used in DUI and DWI trial and proceedings.
As soon as you can, call the Baltimore DUI lawyer Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to discuss your options and next steps. He will schedule a free consultation to go over your case, possible defenses and what steps to take next.
Don’t wait; it is vital that you seek legal representation immediately. The penalties for driving while intoxicated in Maryland can be severe and long-lasting. Both prosecutors and judges take DUI’s extremely seriously in this state. Those who are charged with drunk driving can face sanctions from probation before judgment to jail time. Contacting a lawyer as early as possible will help to reduce your chances of suffering these or other legal consequences.
What Happened During the DUI Traffic Stop
If you’re pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated or impaired, you’ll be faced with immediate and pressing questions:
- Should I take the field sobriety test?
- Should I take the breathalyzer or blood test?
- Do I have to answer the police officer’s questions?
If charged with DUI or DWI, you may then ask yourself these questions:
- Should I request an MVA hearing?
- What is worse, DUI or DWI?
- Should I enroll in the ignition interlock program?
- Should I pay the other tickets associated with the DUI or DWI charges (e.g. reckless & negligent driving)?
- What will happen when I go to court?
- Which courthouse will I have to go to for my case?
- Can I have a jury trial for a DUI or DWI charge?
You may feel confused and anxious as you consider all of these important issues. Don’t worry, we have the answer and can help you make the right decision after a driving under the influence arrest.
Are You Required to Take the Breath Test?
Any person who drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a highway or on any private property that is used by the public is deemed to have consented to take a breath test (implied consent) if the person should be detained on suspicion of driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
You are not actually required to take a drunk driving breath or blood test if you are pulled over by a police officer. However, law enforcement and the Motor Vehicle Administration can impose severe penalties for drivers who refuse to take the test, including confiscation of your driver’s license for up to a year.
The Legal Blood Alcohol Content Limit in Maryland
The legal limit for blood alcohol content in Maryland is 0.08. But this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule: If you have alcohol in your system, you can still be charged with a DUI or DWI. The State may use other evidence to try and prove you were driving while under the influence or driving while impaired.
What Happens After You’ve Taken a Breathalyzer Test
Several things might occur:
- If a driver decides to take the test (either via breath or blood sample) and the test result indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.08 but less than 0.15, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Association (the MVA) can suspend the driver’s license for 180 days (for a first offense). Drivers may also have the option to request an MVA hearing to determine if they are eligible for a restricted license.
- If a driver takes a breath or blood test resulting in an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more at the time of testing, the MVA can suspend the person’s driving privilege for 180 days for a first offense and 270 days for a second or subsequent incident.
- If a driver takes a test resulting in an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at the time of testing, and if the person was involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of another person, the motorist can have his or her driving privilege suspended for 6 months for a first offense or, for a second or subsequent offense, for one year.
- If a motorist takes a test and has an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more at the time of testing, and if the driver was involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of another person, the driver can have his or her driving privileges suspended for 1 year; for a second or subsequent offense, the motorist’s driving privilege can be revoked altogether.
For more information about the consequences of taking or refusing a breath or blood test, review the Maryland Advice of Rights (DR-15).
Did you experience any of these situations or penalties? Don’t wait—call Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.
What if I’m an Out-of-State Driver (not Licensed in Maryland)?
If you’re from another state and you’re found to be driving while impaired in Maryland, the penalties are the same. However, you may face additional penalties in your home state in the form of a license suspension or requirement to participate in an ignition interlock program.
So is the importance of calling a Maryland DUI lawyer. If you’re an out-of-state driver charged with a DUI in Maryland, schedule a free consultation with Mr. Rice in his Baltimore office or Lutherville office.
If you don’t live in Maryland or traveling to Maryland would be too difficult, we can conduct a phone interview.
What Happens if My Case Goes to Court?
In addition to the severe administrative penalties that Maryland drivers can incur if suspected of drunk driving, motorists must also be aware of the criminal penalties they may face if charged and convicted.
The Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Maryland Can be Steep
There are Two (2) main aspects of every DUI / DWI Case in Maryland
- The Maryland MVA’s (Motor Vehicle Administration) Penalties. Your license and your ability to drive. This part of the case has no bearing on your court appearance and is separate from your appearance in a Maryland District or Circuit Court for your DUI – DWI case.
- The Criminal Charges. This aspect deals with the legal consequences of a DUI or DWI arrest in terms of jail, fines, court costs, probation, and any other potential penalties of a DUI or DWI arrest imposed by a judge.
Mandatory Penalties for a Drunk Driving Conviction in Maryland
Many drivers are not aware that certain drunk driving convictions in Maryland courts carry with them mandatory penalties. This means that, if a drunk or intoxicated driver is convicted in a Maryland court under certain conditions, the judge is required to sentence him or her in a certain way.
What are Maryland’s mandatory conviction laws? Maryland’s mandatory drunk driving penalty laws stipulate that if you’ve been convicted of driving while intoxicated more than once within a five-year period, you will face certain penalties.
A driver who is convicted of a violation of §21-902(a) within 5 years after a prior conviction is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 5 days. A person who is convicted of a third or subsequent offense under §21-902(a) within 5 years is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 10 days.
In addition to a potential prison term, drivers convicted under this law who have been convicted of any DUI offense in the last five years shall be required by the court to undergo a comprehensive alcohol abuse assessment. The driver may also be required to participate in an alcohol treatment program as ordered by the court.
A person who is convicted of a violation of §21-902(d) within 5 years after a prior conviction is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 5 days. A person who is convicted of a third or subsequent offense under §21-902(d) within 5 years is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 10 days.
Similar to the program above, a person who is convicted of an offense under §21-902(d) within 5 years of a prior conviction of any DUI offense shall be required by the court to undergo a comprehensive drug abuse assessment. As with the alcohol abuse assessment, drivers may also be required to participate in a drug abuse treatment program mandated by the court.
This is a lot of information to process. If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Maryland, you should speak to a DUI lawyer who can help you figure out what your options are. Call DUI lawyer Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 as soon as possible.
Points on Your Driving Record
In Maryland, drivers have assessed 12 points on their driving records for a DUI and 8 points for a DWI for a conviction. As well, drivers get 12 points for driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substances in Maryland. If a driver receives probation before judgment (PBJ), points will not be assessed to their record.
First Offense DUI
For the first offense, a motorist convicted of driving under the influence under Maryland laws §21-902(b), §21-902(c) or §21-902.1 will face a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for up to two months. Some motorists may face both penalties.
Second Offense DUI
For a second offense under §21-902(b) or §21-902(c), motorists are subject to a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment up to one year. Again, some drivers may face both penalties.
Third or Subsequent Offense DUI
For a third offense or any subsequent offense thereafter under §21-902(b) or §21-902(c), motorists face a fine of up to $3,000 and a prison term of up to 3 years, or both.
For the purpose of second or subsequent offender penalties for a violation of § 21–902(b), a prior conviction of §21-902(a), (c), or (d) shall be considered a conviction of §21-902(b). For the purpose of second or subsequent offender penalties for a violation of §21-902(c) a prior conviction of § 21–902(a), (b), or (d) shall be considered a conviction of §21-902(c).
We know: All of this may seem confusing and intimidating. A Maryland DUI lawyer can help you figure out what charges you’re facing and help you navigate the complex and difficult laws and penalty systems of the state.
Driving Under the Influence with Minors in the Car
According to Maryland law, any person who is convicted of a violation of §21-902(b)(2) (“Driving while impaired by alcohol while transporting a minor”) or (c)(3) (“Driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcohol”) is subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months or both for a first offense.
For a second offense of driving drunk while transporting a minor, the motorist will face a fine of not more than $2,000 or imprisonment for not more than 1 year or both. For a third or subsequent offense, the driver is looking at a fine of not more than $4,000 or imprisonment for not more than 4 years or both.
Driving While Impaired by Drugs or Drugs and Alcohol (§21-902(c)(1),§21-902(c)(3))
Transportation Section 21-902(c)(1) of the Maryland Vehicle laws states that a person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while he is so impaired by any drug, any combination of drugs, or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol that he cannot drive a vehicle safely. See the DUI and DWI Penalties for violation of this section.
Transportation Section 21-902(c)(3) of the Maryland Vehicle laws states that a person may not violate Section 21-902(c)(1) while transporting a minor. See the DUI and DWI Penalties for violation of this section.
Driving While Impaired by Controlled Dangerous Substance (§21-902(d)(1), §21-902(d)(2))
Transportation Section 21-902(d)(1) of the Maryland Vehicle laws states that a person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while the person is so impaired by any controlled dangerous substance, as that term is defined in §15-101 of the Criminal Law Article, if the person is not entitled to use the controlled dangerous substance under the laws of the state of Maryland.
Transportation Section 21-902(d)(2) of the Maryland Vehicle laws states that a person may not violate Section 21-902(d)(1) while transporting a minor. See the DUI and DWI Penalties for violation of this section.
Driving After Arrest for Violation of DUI or DWI (§21-902.1)
Transportation Section 21-902.1 of the Maryland Vehicle laws states that an arrestee, a person who has been arrested for violation of the DUI or DWI laws in the state of Maryland, may not drive a motor vehicle within 12 hours after the arrestee’s arrest for violation of the DUI or DWI laws in the state of Maryland. See the DUI and DWI Penalties for violation of this section.
Underage DUI or DWI
A common issue in the State of Maryland and Baltimore County is the arrest of a person under the age of 21 for Driving While Impaired (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI). When a person is issued a license in the State of Maryland he or she signs the application that states that a license restriction is placed on that permit that prohibits a person under 21 to have any alcohol in their system while driving.
What that means is if an underage person is suspected of having .02 BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) while driving, the MVA will be notified and their license could be suspended up to Six (6) months. The MVA will send that person notice and they have 15 days to file a Request for Hearing with the MVA that will be heard in front of an ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). What happens if you are arrested and charged with a violation under Transportation Article 21-902?
A person under the age of 21 automatically faces a maximum of One (1) year MVA suspension for the conviction under any article of 21-902. There is an argument to be made that you did not receive notice that you would be suspended by way of the DR-15, but then the suspension would fall back onto the suspension periods for drivers over 21. So you could face a 45, 90, or 120-day suspension on top of the license restriction of Six (6) months.
Consumption of Alcoholic Beverage While Driving on Highway (§21-903)
Transportation Section 21-903 of the Maryland Vehicle laws states that a driver of a motor vehicle may not consume an alcoholic beverage in a passenger area of a motor vehicle on a highway. See the DUI and DWI Penalties for violation of this section.
DUI + DWI Arrest and Outcome Statistics
- In 2017, Baltimore City police, Maryland State Police and Maryland Transportation Authority charged 806 individuals with DUI and DWI. The outcomes in those cases were:
- 179 were found guilty;
- 30 ended with a not guilty outcome;
- 341 received probation before judgment;
- 5 cases were dismissed by the prosecutor;
- 206 cases were nolle prosequi by the state;
- 26 were marked stet;
- 14 individuals were tried before a jury; and
- 4 were marked as “other” for their outcome.
- Baltimore County saw 2,150 individuals charged with DUI and DWI for 2017. The outcomes in those cases were:
- 621 were found guilty;
- 51 were found not guilty;
- 1,198 received probation before judgment
- 1 case was dismissed;
- 209 cases were nolle prosequi;
- 9 were marked on the stet docket;
- 37 resulted in a jury trial; and
- 24 were marked “other” as their outcome.
How We Have Successfully Fought DUI Charges in Baltimore
One of the most recent cases involved the issue of where the driver of the vehicle was actually driving the vehicle or in actual physical control of the vehicle. Remember, one of the TWO factors to consider in any DUI/DWI case is whether the person is driving, attempting to drive, or in actual physical control of the vehicle.
The case that most attorneys and Judges look to in Maryland is Boyce Cornelius Atkinson v. State of Maryland, 331 Md. 199 (1993). In this case, the court set out six factors for courts to consider when determining whether a person is in actual physical control of a vehicle. Those six factors are:
- Whether or not the vehicle’s engine is running, or the ignition on;
- Where and in what position the person is found in the vehicle;
- Whether the person is awake or asleep;
- Where the vehicle’s ignition key is located;
- Whether the vehicle’s headlights are on; and
- Whether the vehicle is located in the roadway or is legally parked.
The Atkinson case is used often when the person is found passed out in a vehicle and arrested for DWI or DUI. The lower courts have also looked at a recent case from the Court of Special Appeals Dwight Dukes vs. State of Maryland. In Dukes, the Court examined a different fact pattern but the decision can be helpful in many defenses.
Both of these cases along with many other Maryland Court opinions are keys to the successful defense in a DUI or DWI case.
Should I Get a Lawyer for My First DUI?
Yes, you should get a lawyer for your first or any subsequent DUI charge. A lawyer will ensure you make the best decisions as you proceed through the process from arrest to sentencing.
A Baltimore DUI lawyer will evaluate the strength of the State’s case and advise you as to whether you should plead guilty or plead not guilty.
If you decide to plead guilty, then the lawyer will present mitigation to the court and State that will reduce the penalties and consequences you may face.
If you plead not guilty, the lawyer will pick the jury, along with you and the prosecutor, question the state’s witnesses and call and elicit information and evidence for you witnesses or you, if you choose to testify.
If you are facing any type of criminal or traffic charges, including a DUI, you should get a lawyer for your case. The fact that you could go to jail is reason enough to have a legal expert fighting for you and your freedom.