Driving under the influence in Maryland can have serious and long-term consequences. Familiarity with the state’s laws on drunk driving can help assure that you can protect your rights when you are stopped by police or arrested.
DUI and DWI
Driving under the influence is a more serious offense and involves a driver with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher. Drivers with a BAC of least .08 are automatically under the influence according to the law.
Driving while impaired is the second drunk driving offense. It involves a driver with a BAC of .07.
Driving while impaired by illegal and illegal drugs, a combination of drugs and alcohol or controlled substances such as marijuana is also illegal. Motorists under 21 who drive with any alcohol in their system may be charged with a DUI.
Police may stop motorists and test their BAC if they are suspected of driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol or while being impaired. If the test result is at least .08, the police will confiscate their driver’s license. Their license will also be confiscated if they refuse to undergo testing.
The state will suspend licenses under these circumstances. A temporary paper license will be issued allowing the motorist to drive for 45 days and the suspension will start afterwards.
Depending on the amount of alcohol and whether there were earlier drunk driving offenses, a license suspension can last from 180 days to two years. More severe penalties may be imposed for drivers who had a child passenger.
Motorists may request a hearing with the Maryland Vehicle Administration within a specified time to contest the suspension. The suspension will begin on the 46th day if no timely request is made. The MVA’s administrative law judge is limited to considering certain facts including whether there are reasonable grounds for the stop, whether the driver refused testing, BAC levels, and whether there were fatalities.
Motorists may request participation in the MVA’s ignition interlock program. The driver’s vehicle operates only if their BAC does not exceed the device’s calibrated setting.
A DWI or DUI is a criminal misdemeanor. Penalties begin with a $500 fine and two months imprisonment and go up to $5,000 and five-years’ incarceration. Jail time increases if a minor was a passenger. Punishments are more stringent for subsequent convictions.
The MVA will place eight points on a driver’s record for a DWI conviction which makes them eligible for license suspension. A DUI conviction involves 12 points and eligibility for revocation.
Attorneys can help assure that rights are protected. They may also develop a strategy for your case.