If you or an immediate family member have been arrested for a DUI or DWI, it is important to speak with a Maryland criminal-defense attorney right away. A DUI stands for driving under the influence, while and a DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. The intoxication can be from drugs, alcohol, or some other type of intoxicant. When someone is driving under the influence, his or her reaction times decrease, which influences how well the driver can control the vehicle. Along with criminal charges, if you injure another person, you could be facing a civil suit, as well.
What Constitutes a DUI or DWI?
In Maryland, if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08% or more and you are 21 years of age or older, then you can be charged with a DUI. If your BAC is between 0.04% and 0.07% it is a DWI. Any driver under the age of 21 is allowed a BAC of 0.02%, and commercial drivers are held to a strict 0.04% BAC limit.
Law enforcement officers should be testing your BAC within two hours for alcohol and four hours for drugs. There are circumstances in which you can be held liable for a DUI even if your BAC is taken later than the standard time.
Your first offense may be treated as a misdemeanor, and carries no official required jail time. However, the second offense carries a minimum five days in jail, while a third offense is a minimum of 10 days in jail.
While there is no required minimum jail time for a first offense, A DUI can result in up to a year of potential incarceration. If you had a minor in the vehicle at the time, the prison time could be as much as two years. DWIs can be sentenced to two months in jail and up to six months in jail if there was a minor in the vehicle.
There are also fines associated with DUIs and DWIs. A first time DWI has a penalty that will not exceed $500, or $1000 if a minor was in the car. A first-time DUI carries fines of not more than $1,000, or $2000 if a minor was present.
In addition to criminal penalties, you will find a DUI or DWI also carries administrative penalties. For a first offense DWI, your driver’s license could be suspended for six months. In order to have it reinstated, you may be required to complete an alcohol/substance abuse treatment program, and they may install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. First time DUIs carry the same administrative penalties.
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test or blood test, you can suffer additional consequences, as well. For a first offense, you may get a 120-day license suspension, while a second or third offense carries a one-year license suspension.
Retaining a Maryland Criminal Attorney
Maryland allows defendants to plead down DUI/DWI charges, reducing the initial criminal charges. This is why it is important to retain a skilled Maryland criminal defense DUI attorney who is familiar with the nuances of DUI/DWI matters. If you need assistance with a DUI or another type of criminal charge, contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro today at 301-870-1200 to schedule a consultation.