Drunk driving charges are some of the most common criminal charges people face. Many people with no criminal records or previous run-ins with the law face DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while impaired) charges that could involve jail time, lost licenses, and even lost jobs. If you or a loved one was charged with drunk driving in the Towson, Maryland area, call Randolph Rice.
Rice, Murtha & Psoras represent the accused and fight to get DUI charges dropped and dismissed. Call our Towson, MD DUI defense lawyers today. We represent college students, local Townson residents, and people arrested while driving through the area, as well as many others charged with crimes in Towson. For a free consultation on your DUI case, contact us at (410) 694-7291.
What is the Legal Limit for DWI and DUI in Towson, MD?
Maryland law has both DWI and DUI laws. DWI is essentially a lower form of drunk driving where the driver is merely “impaired” instead of “under the influence.” Under both laws, it is illegal to drive with alcohol in your system, but the different levels of alcohol lead to different charges.
DWI is charged when you have a lower level of alcohol in your system, as Md. Code, Transportation Law Art., § 21-902(b)(1)(i) makes it illegal to drive “while impaired by alcohol.” This does not necessarily mean that any specific blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must be met. Instead, you can be charged any time that alcohol in your system impairs your ability to drive by making you perform worse behind the wheel.
Contrast this with DUI under § 21-902(a)(1)(i), which makes it illegal to drive “while under the influence of alcohol” or § 21-902(a)(1)(ii), which makes it illegal to drive while “under the influence of alcohol per se.” The phrase “under the influence of alcohol” again does not have a specific BAC level attached, but instead means that the driver has a higher concentration of alcohol in their body that makes them – essentially – drunk.
Being under the influence “per se” means that you have a BAC of .08 or higher, according to § 11-174.1(a) of the same article of the Maryland Code. This is usually considered the “legal limit,” but the way these laws are worded shows that you can indeed be charged with some form of drunk driving even if your BAC is under .08.
You can also be charged with DUI for drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
Penalties for DWI and DUI Charges in Townson
The penalties for DWI and DUI vary from category to category and based on whether it is your first offense. You can also have penalties increased if there was a minor in your car when the drunk driving took place. In all cases, drunk and drugged driving can also put points on your license or lead to a license suspension. You also cannot drive within the first 12 hours after a drunk driving arrest.
If you are arrested for DWI, you could potentially face 2 months in jail and a fine up to $500 for a first offense. For a second offense, this goes up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $500. If there is a minor in your car at the time, this goes up to 1 year and a fine up to $1,000 for a first offense and 2 years with a fine up to $2,000 for a second offense.
Whether you were DUI per se or not, a first offense DUI can lead to up to a year in jail and fines up to $1,000. A second offense can have up to 2 years in jail and fines up to $2,000. If there was a minor in your car, a first offense goes up to 2 years and a $2,000 fine, and a second offense goes up to 3 years and a $3,000 fine.
For most drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol, the fines and jail time for a first or second offense drug DUI are the same as for DWI. However, if the drugs are classified as a “controlled dangerous substance” – which includes Schedule I through Schedule V drugs – then the penalties are the same as for a DUI charge.
Getting Towson DUI Charges Dropped and Dismissed
Working with an attorney, you may be able to fight to have the charges dismissed. There are many things your attorney can challenge in a drunk driving case, from the reason the police stopped you to how field sobriety tests were performed to how the blood or breath test was performed.
In many cases, police will stop drivers for some other offense and then investigate further to see if the driver was under the influence. However, if they stopped you without cause or without enough evidence to support the traffic stop, any evidence they discover from that traffic stop should be inadmissible in court.
Further, police often need to rely upon evidence they obtain at the scene to make a DUI charge stick. This includes things they observe, like slurred speech and alcohol on the breath. It also usually involves gauging your performance on field sobriety tests. If they did not perform standard tests, if they deviated from the standard way of performing a test, or they were not properly trained on field sobriety tests, the results might be invalid or unreliable.
Lastly, there are particular rules regarding how to draw a blood sample, when you can legally draw a blood sample, and how to test the sample. The same is true for breath tests. If either type of test is performed illegally or tainted by mistakes in procedure, it could be thrown out in court.
Call Our Towson, MD DWI and DUI Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation
If you or a loved one was arrested in the Towson area and charged with DUI, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today. Our Towson, Maryland DUI lawyer represents people charged with DUI in the Towson area and across Maryland, and he fights to protect their rights and keep them from facing expensive fines, license suspensions, and jail time for DWI and DUI charges. For a free case consultation on your DUI charges, call our Maryland criminal defense lawyers today at (410) 694-7291.