Understanding DUI Charges
In Maryland, there are four different types of substance-related driving offenses, but driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is considered the most serious. If you are facing a DUI charge, you should immediately consult with an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer in order to assess the situation and start making informed decisions about your defense.
Our criminal defense attorneys have a wealth of experience and local knowledge regarding the investigation and prosecution of DUI and DWI charges across the state of Maryland. Call our law offices today so that we can hear your account of what happened during your free initial case evaluation.
In the state of Maryland, driving under the influence charges often hinge upon a driver’s blood alcohol content level, under Maryland Code § 21-902. If the driver has a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, it is presumed to be a DUI violation per se. A BAC of 0.07 percent or below is likely to be considered a driving while impaired charge, which is a lesser offense.
While BAC levels above 0.08 percent automatically results in a DUI charge, it is also possible for an officer to arrest a driver with a lower BAC level if he or she believes there is evidence of impairment or driving under the influence of alcohol. In this case, an officer would likely conduct a field sobriety test and a prosecutor could use those results against a driver to pursue Driving While Impaired (DWI) charges.
Your Maryland DUI attorney can, however, challenge this evidence – which is based on the officer’s subjective perceptions – in court. This is one reason why it is so important to have an experienced defense attorney in Maryland who handles DUI cases on your side.
If a driver is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol, he or she faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1000, if it was a first-time offense. There are situations that can bring about enhanced penalties, however – such as having a minor present in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, or having multiple alcohol-related driving convictions on your record.
A driver can face up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $2000 for driving under the influence with a minor in the car. Subsequent conviction can also trigger enhanced penalties. One prior DUI-related offense can raise a DUI penalty to up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $2000, and two prior convictions ups the penalty for DUI to up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $3000. If a minor was present in the car, the driver can face up to an additional one year in prison and $1000 in fines, on top of the original penalties.
Consult an Experienced DUI Attorney
Your Maryland DUI lawyer can challenge both the arresting officer’s testimony and the BAC results in court if you believe they are inaccurate. He or she can also pursue reduced charges and penalties on your behalf. Regardless of whether you have a prior DUI conviction on your record or if this charge is a first-offense, your DUI defense attorney will work diligently to help you put this experience behind you.