Drunk driving is treated very seriously in Maryland, and it’s not surprising that driving under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol is taken equally as seriously. In Maryland, the law states that it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of any substance that could potentially impact the ability to drive safely. This includes prescription drugs. Driving under the influence of a controlled substance is a different offense that will not be addressed here.
How do the Police Determine Whether you are Impaired by Drugs and Alcohol
If a police officer believes that you are driving under the influence or while impaired by any substance, that officer can pull you over. They may ask you if you’ve been drinking or have consumed any drugs. You will be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test at the police station and if your breath alcohol content (BrAC) is .08 or over you can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) per se. But what if your BrAC is a .04 but the police officer believes that you may be impaired by drugs in addition to alcohol?
If the police officer believes that you are under the influence of drugs, then he may ask you to submit to a series of field sobriety tests and a blood or urine test to determine if there are drugs in your system. You have the right to refuse to submit to a blood or urine test, but then your driver’s license may be suspended. The level of impairment will be based on the officer’s observations of whether you are capable of safely driving a vehicle. This can be a different amount of drugs depending on the person.
Penalties for Driving While Impaired by Drugs and Alcohol
If you’ve been convicted of driving while impaired by drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol, you face the same penalties you would if you were convicted of driving while impaired (DWI) by alcohol. A conviction for the offense of DWI can result in up to a $500 fine or a possible 60 days in jail for a first-time offender. Subsequent offenses could lead to up to a year in jail or another $500 fine. There are also administrative consequences for a DWI offense. The MVA may hand a DWI driver an 8-point penalty, which could lead to a license suspension.
Contact an Experienced DUI/DWI Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for driving while impaired by drugs and alcohol, you need a lawyer with DUI/DWI experience on your side. Contactthe lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC or call us at 866-444-6363 for a free consultation.