If you or someone you love was charged with drugged driving in Maryland, we can assist. The criminal consequences of a drug-impaired driving charge can affect multiple facets of your life. Furthermore, facing the criminal justice system can be frightening and confusing for many people. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we understand how to successfully address a criminal charge of this nature, and we are prepared to guide you through the process.
Don’t wait another minute if you were charged with drugged driving in Maryland. Call our law offices today for a free, confidential consultation. We will work with you to determine the best course of action following your arrest. Our phone number is (410) 694-7291.
What Is Considered Drugged Driving in Maryland?
Mixing drugs with driving can lead to fatal consequences. Unfortunately, this dangerous practice is more common than many people believe. Drugged driving has been responsible for many accidents, injuries, and deaths in the U.S. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2017, 12.8 million Americans drove after using illicit drugs. According to NIDA, more than half of all drugged drivers tested positive for two or more drugs, and according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 43.6% of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs.
Drugged driving is a serious charge, whether you are taking a prescription medication, such as muscle relaxers, or an illegal substance. Furthermore, drug-impaired driving can be as serious as drunk driving; getting pulled over, being charged with drugged driving, and being convicted for the alleged offense can lead to dire consequences.
The State of Maryland takes drugged driving cases very seriously, mainly because of the potential consequences of drug-related crashes. If you were charged with drugged driving in Maryland, there is no time to waste. You should make sure to have competent, skilled, and dedicated legal representation by your side at all times.
Consequences of Drugged Driving Charges in Maryland
Most people are familiar with the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol; the real question is whether they are aware of the penalties that follow a drugged driving conviction. Few people know that Maryland treats DUIs and drugged driving charges similarly. In other words, your drugged driving charges can be as severe as any DUI charge.
The law in Maryland prohibits operating a vehicle while under the influence of any substance that may put the driver and others at risk. The consequences of driving under the influence of drugs can be severe. An officer in Maryland can pull you over if they have reason to believe you are operating your vehicle while under the effects of a drug.
Unlike DUI cases, where a police officer may perform a sobriety test or breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), officers don’t have the means to determine on the spot how much of a drug is in your system. In these cases, it is hard for officers to assess your level of impairment. For this reason, DRE officers (police officers trained to assess drugged drivers) have ample discretion in determining your level of intoxication.
The criminal consequences for drugged driving in Maryland can include jail time and steep fines. For instance, a first-time drugged driving charge is considered a misdemeanor. For a first offense, you may face up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. The state may also suspend your driver’s license for 45 days, and you may need to go through a drug education program. However, your penalty will likely increase if there was a minor in your car when you were arrested; if you were charged with drugged driving in the presence of a minor, you risk facing up to two years in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.
A second drugged driving conviction is also considered a misdemeanor, but it can still have severe consequences. A conviction for a second drugged driving offense carries up to two years in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. In addition to this penalty, your license may be suspended for 90 days. If there was a minor present during your arrest, your penalties can include up to 3 years in jail and up to $3,000 in fines.
If you are found guilty of a third drugged driving offense, you may face up to three years in jail and up to $3,000 in fines. Your driver’s license may be suspended for 18 months, and if there was a minor involved, you may face up to four years in jail and up to $4,000 in fines.
Possible Defenses Against Drugged Driving Charges in Maryland
If you are pulled over by the police because they suspect you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may proceed to ask you to perform tests. You may refuse to be tested by the police, but there is a caveat: Maryland is an implied consent state. This means that as a driver in the state, you implicitly consent to be chemically tested for drugs or alcohol. You may refuse to be tested, but you risk facing the consequences such as the suspension of your driver’s license, among other penalties.
A compelling argument in your case could be that the arresting officer confused lousy driving with driving under the influence of narcotics. You may also argue that everything from your arrest to your testing was flawed. Your criminal defense attorney can help you with this matter. It is essential to have competent legal representation by your side to ensure your rights are upheld at all times.
Maryland Drugged Driving Defense Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one faces drugged driving charges in Maryland, there is no time to waste. The consequences of a criminal conviction can be severe. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we understand how frightening and overwhelming the criminal defense process can be, but you don’t have to go through this difficult time alone. Our Maryland drugged driving defense attorneys are ready to represent you and fight aggressively to defend your rights. To learn more about our services and how we can assist you, call our law offices today at (410) 694-7291.