Drunk driving charges can have a serious effect on your daily life. Not only can charges for driving under the influence lead to jail time and heavy fines, but they can also lead to a license suspension. This can make it harder to get around, commute to class, or go to work. If you or a loved one is a student at Towson University, your educational career could be at risk if you are arrested and charged with a DUI or DWI.
For a free legal consultation on your drunk driving charges, contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today. Our DUI defense attorneys for Towson University students represent those charged with drunk driving throughout Maryland, fighting to get charges dropped and penalties reduced. For a free legal consultation on your case, call our attorneys today at (410) 694-7291.
Maryland DUI Laws
In Maryland, there are two types of drunk driving charges: DUI and DWI. DUI stands for “driving under the influence” and is the more serious form of drunk driving; DWI is “driving while impaired” and covers lower levels of intoxication. Either charge can lead to jail time, fines, and a license suspension, so it is important to talk to a lawyer if you are charged in any drunk driving incidences. There are also charges for drugged driving, usually called drug DWI.
DUI charges cover any driving while “intoxicated.” You generally qualify as “intoxicated” if there is evidence that you have had too much to drink to allow you to safely operate a car. Police officers can use evidence of alcohol on your breath, slurred speech, reduced coordination, failure on field sobriety tests, and any admissions you make indicating you have been drinking to help prove you were “intoxicated.” Alternatively, you can be charged with being intoxicated “per se,” which means having a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher. Generally, police use breath or blood tests to help prove you were over .08%, but if you refuse these tests or the lab results are tainted, you can still be convicted of DUI based on the police officer’s testimony about your level of intoxication.
DWI covers intoxication to a lower degree. Many people may think that driving while you are “buzzed” or have only had a few drinks is okay, but if it actually affects your ability to drive, you can still be charged with drunk driving. This is where DWI comes into play: this law allows police to charge you with a lesser drunk driving offense even if you have a BAC under .08% or are only buzzed. The penalties are reduced compared to DUI, but the offense is still serious.
Maryland also has a law against driving while impaired by drugs or a combination of drugs or alcohol and a law against driving under the effects of a “controlled dangerous substance,” which typically includes stronger drugs. Even prescription drugs can lead to these charges. Additional charges can also be filed against anyone who transports a minor in their car while committing a DWI or DUI. You can also face additional penalties for refusing a breath or blood test.
Penalties for DUI and DWI for Towson University Students
The penalties for driving under the influence or driving while impaired can be severe. Judges are authorized to sentence a defendant to jail time for any charges of DWI or DUI. In addition, there is always a risk of a fine and license suspensions.
A conviction for DUI, that is being “intoxicated” or having a BAC over .08%, can lead to the following penalties:
- Up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $1,000
- Up to 2 years in jail a fine up to $2,000
- Up to 3 years in jail and fines up to $3,000
For DWI, the penalties are lower but still severe:
- Up to 2 months in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense
- Up to 1 year in jail and a $500 fine for a second offense
- Up to 3 years in jail and a $3,000 fine for a third offense
Penalties for drug DWI or DWI with a combination of drugs and alcohol match the penalties for alcohol DWI. Penalties for DWI with a controlled dangerous substance are the same as alcohol DUI.
If you had a minor in the car while committing a DUI, the penalties are increased by 1 year and $1,000. For DWI with a minor in the car, the penalties are 6 months and $1,000 for a first offense, 1 year and $2,000 for a second offense, and 4 years and $4,000 for a third offense.
For an offense to count as a second or third offense, it must have been committed within 5 years of the last offense. This means that offenses committed more than 5 years apart should be treated as first offenses again – but the judge may take your previous history into account when setting the penalties, potentially opting for the maximum jail time and fines authorized by law.
Penalties for repeat offenders and people who refuse breath or blood tests can also require you to use an ignition interlock so that your car will not start without a clean breath test. In addition, you could be required to complete alcohol abuse assessments and other programs.
DWI can also result in 8 points on your license and a driver’s license suspension starting at 6 months and 12 points with a 6-month suspension for DUI. Repeat offenses have increased terms of license revocation and suspension.
Call Our DUI Lawyer for Towson U Students Charged with Drunk or Drugged Driving
If you or your child is a Towson University student that was arrested and charged with drunk driving or drugged driving, our attorneys may be able to help. The Law Offices of Randolph Rice’s DUI defense lawyer for Towson students may be able to take your case and challenge the evidence and accusations against you. For your free legal consultation, call our law offices today at (410) 694-7291.