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What Happens When You are Arrested for Drinking and Driving the First Time?

Unfortunately, all it takes is one bad decision to result in consequences that can haunt you for the rest of your life. In the event you have been arrested for drinking and driving, it is important to retain a skilled Maryland criminal defense attorney to represent you. A criminal defense attorney who specializes in DUI/DWI cases may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed entirely.

What is the Difference Between DUI and DWI?

DUI and DWI are sometimes interchangeably used, but they are different and carry different penalties. DUI means driving under the influence and is a more serious charge. You can be charged with a DUI when your blood alcohol content, or BAC, is 0.08% or higher. For a first offense, a DUI charge carries the following possible sentence:

  • $1,000 fine
  • Imprisonment up to one year
  • License revoked for up to six months
  • 12 points on your license

If there was a minor in the vehicle at the time, the penalties could be double — up to a $2,000 fine and two years imprisonment. If the driver is under 21, his or her BAC needs only to be 0.02% to be charged.

DWI means driving while intoxicated, and you can typically be charged with a DWI if your BAC is between 0.04% and 0.08%. Officer judgment plays a factor here on whether someone who has 0.08% is charged with DUI or DWI. For a first offense DWI, sentencing can be:

  • $500 fine
  • Up to two months in jail
  • Maximum six months license suspension
  • Eight points on your license

It is important to note that license suspension may be longer if your license has been previously revoked. For example, if your license has been suspended two times, you will have a year-long waiting period, and 18 months for three revocations.

Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test and Administrative Penalties

If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you are subject to a fine and automatic license suspension of 120 days. You can request a hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings if you can show just cause as to why the DMV should not suspend your license. The window is short, however. You only have 10 days to request a hearing once you receive an order of suspension. There is also a fee of $150 that needs to be paid.

If you are unsuccessful at the hearing, or do not request one, your license can be suspended for up to 270 days total or you may have to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) that must be installed. It has to be installed by an approved dealer and you will pay fees for installation and monthly monitoring, too.

Retaining a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney

Any DUI/DWI charge should be taken seriously. While you may have been charged, you have not been convicted yet, and that is why it is imperative to retain a skilled Maryland DUI attorney. The Law Office of Robert R. Castro specializes in criminal defense matters, like DUI and DWI charges. If you have been arrested and charged with either a DUI or DWI, contact our office today to schedule a consultation. Let us prepare a thorough defense and help get the charges reduced or dismissed entirely