DUI in Maryland
In Maryland there are two types of drunk driving charges you could face. The first is DUI, driving under the influence or DWI which stands for driving while impaired. Between 2003 and 2012, 1,716 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in Maryland.
Maryland DUI laws and penalties
The Maryland Transportation code defines the DUI and DWI laws and penalties. The Maryland DUI laws are contained in Maryland Transportation article 21-902. Whereas, the Maryland drunk driving penalties are contained in Maryland Transportation article 27-101.
The Maryland DUI laws contain three specific statutes which prohibit driving while the influence of alcohol, driving while under the influence of alcohol per se and driving while under the influence of alcohol while transporting in minor.
The Maryland DWI statutes prohibit an individual from driving while impaired by alcohol, driving while impaired by alcohol while transporting a minor. Also driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcohol, driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcohol while transporting a minor, driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance. As well as driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance while transporting a minor and driving after arrest for drunk driving.
Drunk driving penalties in Maryland
If convicted of drunk driving in Maryland the minimum penalty is 60 days in jail and or a $500 fine. The maximum penalty for drunk driving in Maryland is up to four years in jail and or a $4,000 fine. The penalties for drunk driving convictions increase when an individual has had one or more prior convictions for DUI or DWI.
Maryland DUI attorney
If facing a DUI or DWI arrest, it is wise to seek the representation of a Maryland DUI attorney. A DUI attorney will advise you on the best course of action pending your drunk driving trial. In addition, and attorney can prepare you for trial and present defenses and mitigation before a judge or jury in Maryland.
Blood alcohol content BAC limits in Maryland
As discussed earlier, there are two levels of drunk driving charges in Maryland. There is the DUI, which considers an individual’s blood alcohol content of .08 or more. A DWI typically means that an individual’s blood alcohol content was less than .08, however the state could still proceed with DWI charges if the blood alcohol content is greater than .08. Under Maryland law statue 21-902(A)(2), the state will charge an individual with driving under the influence per se if there is evidence from a blood or breath test that the BAC was .08 or more.
DUI in Maryland first offense
In the majority of DUI and DWI cases that are a first offense in Maryland, defendants who complete certain tasks prior to trial receive a probation before judgement, also known as a PBJ. The benefit of a PBJ is there will be no points assessed to the driver’s Maryland driving record. Points are assessed to a Maryland driving record by the motor vehicle administration, MVA, if an individual receives a finding of guilt or guilty in their DUI or DWI case.
Maryland DUI records
If a DUI or DWI results in a PBJ, then that outcome is not accessible by the general public. Maryland DUI records will only appear on driving records if the defendant is found guilty. However, cases that result in either a guilty or a PBJ cannot be expunged from an individual’s record. Maryland DUI records are often accessible through the Maryland Judiciary Case Search even though they don’t appear on a driving record.
Maryland DUI classes
In most circumstances, after retaining a Maryland DUI lawyer, most individuals are directed to complete a Maryland DUI class. Maryland DUI classes are typically an alcohol education or treatment program. These programs are state-approved and must follow strict guidelines to ensure they provide adequate education for drunk driving defendants.
Maryland DUI license suspension
After an individual is arrested for DUI or DWI in Maryland there is a potential for a Maryland DUI license suspension. The suspension is typically administrative and is enforced by the MVA. If an individual submits to a blood or breath test and the results are .07 or less, then there is no Maryland license suspension and the license will not be confiscated from the defendant.
Refusal or submission to the breath or blood test
Any person who drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a highway or any private property that is used by the public in Maryland is deemed to have consented to take a breath or blood test should there be suspicion that the person is driving Under the Influence or driving while impaired. This is also known as the implied consent law in Maryland.
Therefore, if a police officer requests that an individual submit to a test there are administrative penalties depending on what choice the person makes. If an individual refuses to submit to a test, that person’s driving privilege shall be suspended for 270 days for a first offense and 2 years for a second or subsequent offense. If an individual submits to a test and returns in a result of .08 but less than .15, then the driver’s license will be suspended for 180 days. Individuals that do submit to a test and return a result of .08 but less than .15 are eligible for a modified for restricted license at an MVA hearing.
For individuals that submit to a test and produce a result of .15 or more, their license will be suspended for 180 days for a first offense and 270 days for a second or subsequent offense. For readings of .15 or more, and individuals license is not eligible for a modification of the license or an issuance of a restricted license. However, an individual May participate in the ignition interlock System Program. The ignition airlock will be installed in the driver’s vehicle for one year. The driver must comply with all rules and regulations of the ignition interlock program. The sanctions imposed by the MVA are separate from the penalties that could be imposed by the courts.
Maryland DUI PBJ
One of the most sought-after results in the Maryland DUI case is a PBJ. PBJ stands for probation before judgement and means the judge strikes the guilty finding and there’s a probation before judgement on the record. This will keep the drivers record clean and not assess points to the driver’s record. Unfortunately, a Maryland DUI PBJ cannot be expunged from the driver’s record.
A Maryland DUI PBJ will remain on the record for the lifetime of the driver. However the PBJ record is not accessible by the general public, which means employers and non-law enforcement individuals cannot see a Maryland DUI PBJ on the record. Again, individuals have become more savvy and are able to find Maryland DUI PBJ records through the Maryland judiciary case search.
Maryland DUI first offense
A Maryland DUI first offense, although may not seem like a big deal, judges and prosecutors do take them seriously. With fines ranging from $500 for a conviction or PBJ for a DWI up to fines exceeding $2,000 and 2 years in jail if convicted of DWI while transporting a minor.
Mandatory penalty for DUI Maryland
If within 5 years after a prior conviction and individual receives a second conviction for DUI or DWI, that person may be subjected to a mandatory penalty of five days in jail. A person who was convicted of a third or subsequent offense within five years is subject to a mandatory penalty of 10 days in jail.
Maryland DUI lawyer Randolph Rice
Attorney Randolph Rice has been representing clients charged with DUI and DWI in Maryland since 2009. Prior to that, he was a prosecutor and handled thousands of DUI and drunk driving charges. He has tried over 100 DUI cases before judges and juries in Maryland. Mr. Rice has extensive knowledge of the Maryland DUI laws and procedures to present the best possible defense for his clients.
Possible DUI and DWI defenses in Maryland
There are numerous defenses to a drunk driving charge in Maryland. And experienced Maryland DUI attorney will evaluate each case from the initial contact with a police officer all the way to the release from the police station or barracks. This begins with a thorough review of all evidence, including body-worn camera and dash cam video as well as all police reports and incidents reports from the police. If at any point in the DUI or DWI investigation the police violated a constitutional rule, it is possible all further evidence would be excluded at trial.
This can begin with challenging the traffic stop or the probable cause for the field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are typically performed at the scene of the traffic stop. The most common field sobriety test used in Maryland are the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk and turn test and the one leg stand. The police officer uses these various tests to determine if there’s probable cause to make an arrest. If an arrest is made for the defendant is taken to the police station and offered a breath or blood test.
In Maryland, an individual can refuse to take the field sobriety test as well as the breath or blood test. Although there are no administrative penalties for refusing to take the field sobriety test, as previously discussed above, there will be administrative penalties for refusing to take a breath or blood test.
Best Maryland DUI attorney
Are you looking for the best Maryland DUI attorney near you? Attorney Randolph Rice has multiple offices throughout Maryland and can also conduct the initial interview over the phone. If you’re facing DUI or DWI charges in Maryland and you want the best DUI attorney, contact attorney Randolph Rice today to discuss your options and how he can help get you through this process.