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St. Mary’s County Maryland DUI/DWI Lawyer

Laws against drunk driving are one of the major reasons why there are fewer fatality car accidents than there were several decades ago. Despite this, alcohol still plays a role in a disproportionate number of traffic accidents that result in death or serious injury. Maryland law defines driving under the influence (DUI) as operating a motor vehicle when one’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher; in this regard, Maryland DUI laws are very similar to those in other states. Of course, a BAC of 0.08% means that your driving ability is significantly impaired; even lower concentrations of alcohol in the bloodstream are enough to increase the risk of causing an accident. Therefore, Maryland law defines driving while impaired (DWI) as driving when one’s BAC is at least 0.04% but less than 0.08%. If you are facing criminal charges for DUI or DWI, contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro to get a St. Mary’s County Maryland DUI lawyer to represent you.

Experienced St. Mary’s County Maryland DUI Lawyer

The courts treat most traffic-related behaviors that place others at risk, such as speeding or running red lights, as civil offenses if you do not cause an accident; lots of people who have never been charged with crimes have had to pay tickets because of driving mistakes. Drunk driving is so dangerous, however, that you can get criminal charges, and even go to jail, if you drive under the influence of alcohol.

Your St. Mary’s County Maryland DUI attorney agrees that keeping people behind bars for nonviolent crimes does more harm than good; it is demoralizing and traumatic for the defendants and their families, and it wastes public funds without addressing the larger problems in society.  This is especially true in DUI and DWI cases. Drunk driving is not a malicious act; it is usually a symptom of the defendant’s alcohol dependency. Therefore, treatment for substance use disorder is more effective at preventing future incidents of drunk driving, thereby making the roads safer, than imposing harsh criminal penalties on people convicted of DUI.

St. Mary’s County offers Substance Abuse Recovery Court (SARC) for some people accused of DUI or drug possession. People who have graduated from the St. Mary’s County SARC program, which includes frequent court attendance and substance abuse treatment, have a better chance of staying sober and avoiding more arrests than those who go to jail for DUI. Your St. Mary’s County DWI law firm can help you enroll in SARC if you are eligible; eligibility requirements include not having prior convictions for violent crimes, sex-related crimes, or drug trafficking. The first step to putting your DUI case behind you is to contact a DUI defense lawyer.

St. Mary’s County DUI Lawyer

Drunk driving is a serious issue in Maryland, and hundreds of people have lost their lives due to impaired drivers within the past few years. But with that being said, it does not make sense to face excessive penalties for DUI charges. If you are facing DUI charges after having a few too many in St. Mary’s County, you have every right to fight for your rights and defend yourself in the best way possible. Doing so can prevent you from being incarcerated while protecting your reputation and keeping your record clean. Get in touch with the Law Office of Robert Castro today to get started with a solid defense strategy, and call (301) 705-5137 to book a consultation.

The Difference Between DWI and DUI in Maryland 

The difference between a DWI and a DUI in Maryland is subtle but significant. In order to be charged with DWI (driving while intoxicated), you only need a BAC level of 0.07% or higher. In order to be charged with a DUI, your BAC level must be 0.08% or higher. As you might expect, the penalty for a DUI is worse than that of a DWI.

A Brief Summary of DUI/DWI Laws in Maryland 

Here is a brief summary of the various DUI offenses in Maryland and their penalties:

  • First Offense DWI: Up to 60 days in jail, a fine up to $500, and a license suspension of up to six months.
  • Second Offense DWI: Up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $500, and a license suspension of up to nine months.
  • Third Offense DWI: Up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and a license suspension of up to 12 months. 12 points are added to your license.
  • First Offense DUI: Up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, and a license suspension of up to six months. 12 points are added to your license.
  • Second Offense DUI: Up to two years in prison with a mandatory minimum of five days. You will also face a fine of up to $2,000 with a license suspension of between nine and 12 months. 12 points will be added to your license.
  • Third Offense DUI: Up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and a license suspension of 12 months.

Aggravating Factors in DUI Cases

It is important to understand that aggravating factors can make your DUI charges much more serious. Even if it is your first offense, an aggravating factor could potentially put you behind bars for a long time. Here are a few examples:

  • You cause an accident that results in serious injury or death
  • Your BAC is 0.15 or higher
  • You had a minor in the vehicle at the time of your arrest
  • You were speeding while intoxicated
  • You have had multiple DUI convictions in the past

Perhaps the most serious aggravating factor is causing injury or death while intoxicated. This can automatically result in up to three years in prison and $5,000 in fines – even if it is your first DUI offense. If someone dies in an accident as a result of your drunk driving, you could face up to five years in prison.

What is the Lookback Period for Previous DUIs? 

You may be wondering how long a previous DUI charge will remain relevant on your record. In Maryland, this “lookback period” is 10 years. This means that if you committed a DUI 20 years ago, you will only be charged with a first-offense DUI if you commit another DUI today. The same logic applies to DWI charges. In addition, any points added to your license will remain valid for three years after the violation. 

Where Can I Find a Qualified DUI Attorney in St. Mary’s County?

If you are facing DUI charges in St. Mary’s County, you need to book a consultation with the Law Office of Robert Castro at your earliest convenience. With our help, you can avoid unnecessary penalties while protecting your reputation. Even a minor DUI conviction can affect career opportunities and other aspects of your life. If you are facing a serious DUI charge, we can help you mitigate legal consequences to the best extent possible. Book your consultation today to get started.

Robert R. Castro has been representing defendants accused of DUI, DWI, and other criminal offenses in southern Maryland for the past 29 years.For more information or questions, contact the Law Office of Robert Castro to speak to an experienced lawyer at (301) 705-5137. The Law Office of Robert Castro is located at 2670 Crain Highway #411, Waldorf, MD 20601.