They say that driving under the influence (DUI) is like a game of Russian Roulette; it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. If someone else is injured, you could face substantial charges that could result in prison time on top of any other charges for drunk driving and other traffic violations you commit while behind the wheel.
Md. Code, Criminal Law § 3-211 governs assault charges for life-threatening injuries caused while driving under the influence. If you are facing these charges or other DUI charges, you should call an experienced Baltimore DUI with injury attorney immediately for help with your case. The Law Offices of Randolph Rice’s criminal defense attorneys offer free consultations to help you with your charges. Call us today at (410) 694-7291 to set up your free consultation.
Charges for DUI/DWI with Serious Injury in Maryland
Under Md. Code § 3-211, you can face substantial penalties for causing life-threatening injuries while driving under the influence. In order to understand whether you were properly charged with this crime and whether the prosecutors can prove all elements of the case, it is vital to break down § 3-211’s definition of what constitutes a “[l]ife-threatening injury by motor vehicle or vessel while under the influence of alcohol.”
Assault by Motor Vehicle or Vessel
First, the crime in § 3-211 deals with assault using a motor vehicle or a vessel. This means causing or attempting to cause injury with a car or a boat. You can be responsible for an “assault” even if you did not mean to hit someone with your car.
Under the definition of “vessel,” this law includes “any watercraft” used on water or ice for transportation. That means this could include speed boats, fishing boats, jet skis, or other water vehicles. Motor vehicles, under this definition, would include cars, trucks, and SUVs, but may also include dirt bikes, 4-wheelers, electric scooters, and other vehicles.
DWI and DUI
If you drive while you are under the influence of alcohol and cause serious injuries, you might be charged under § 3-211. This statute has subsections dealing with driving under the influence of alcohol (subsection c), driving while impaired (DWI) by alcohol (subsection d), driving while impaired by drugs (subsection e), and driving while impaired by controlled substances (subsection f).
Driving under the influence – DUI – is used to mean that you have enough alcohol in your system that you are “under the influence” (i.e., drunk). This can be proved as DUI “per se” if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher, but you can also be convicted under this statute if prosecutors can prove you were drunk without a BAC measurement. This is common in cases where a blood or breath test is unavailable.
Driving while impaired – DWI – is used to include a lesser degree of intoxication. For alcohol DWI, this typically covers BACs that fall short of the .08% legal limit, covering drunk driving with a BAC of .07%-.08%. DWI for drugs or controlled substances means that there is enough of the drug in your system to actually affect your driving.
Police and prosecutors use evidence of your physical signs and symptoms to prove DWI and DUI. Signs such as slurred speech, glassy eyes, alcohol on the breath, and lack of coordination and balance point to drunk driving. Signs such as lethargy, confusion, pinpoint pupils, chemical odor on the breath, and the smell of burnt marijuana point to various types of drug use. However, this evidence is often tainted by the police officer’s expectations and opinions, and our attorneys may be able to fight this evidence.
Blood tests are the most secure form of proof, but these tests can be clouded by biased laboratories and tainted or illegal collection processes.
To be charged under § 3-211, the injuries from the accident must be “life-threatening.” To meet the definition of “life-threatening,” the injuries the victim sustained must be quite severe. It may be difficult for the prosecutor to prove that the injuries were truly life-threatening and not just “severe,” and our attorneys can help fight the charges this way.
Penalties for Drunk and Drugged Driving with Injury Under Md. Code § 3-211
The penalties vary greatly for this offense based on what type of intoxication or impairment the driver was under:
- For alcohol DUI, the penalties can include misdemeanor charges with up to 3 years in jail and a fine up to $5,000.
- For alcohol DWI, the penalties can include misdemeanor charges with up to 2 years in jail and a fine up to $3,000.
- For drug DWI, the penalties are the same for alcohol DWI: 2 years and $5,000.
- For DWI with a controlled dangerous substance, the penalties are the same as for alcohol DUI: 3 years and $5,000.
For any second offense – or a commission of this crime after another DUI or similar offense – the penalties are upgraded to 5 years in jail and a fine up to $10,000. In some cases, other penalties for repeat offenders are triggered.
These penalties often come in addition to other penalties for DUI, which could include license suspensions and other punishments.
Call Our Baltimore DUI Assault Attorneys for Charges of Causing Life-Threatening DUI/DWI Injuries
If you or a loved one was charged with a crime for causing life-threatening injuries while driving under the influence or driving while impaired, contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today. Our Baltimore drunk driving assault lawyers represent the accused and fight to get charges dropped and reduced and keep our clients out of jail. For a free legal consultation on your case, call us today at (410) 694-7291.