Maryland DUI FAQ
Answers from Our DUI Lawyers
The knowledgeable Maryland DUI defense attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC are here to help with every aspect of your DUI case. We understand that you probably have a lot of questions if you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI or DWI. Let us help by answering your questions and helping you navigate the road ahead.
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For further questions, call us at (301) 708-2677 or contact us online. We have five convenient offices in Bowie, Frederick, Lexington Park, Waldorf, & Rockville.
Where can I find Maryland laws pertaining to DUIs?
The Maryland laws that cover DUI and DWI elements and penalties can be found in the Maryland Transportation Code of the Maryland Statutes Annotated. Maryland DUI laws cover BAC limits, license suspensions, and ignition interlock device (IID) requirements. The DUI criminal defense lawyers at Alpert Schreyer can educate you on Maryland DUI law and may assist by defending you.
What are the BAC limits under Maryland law?
Maryland law provides for two standards of drinking and driving. First of all, a person can be charged with driving under the influence — or DUI — in Maryland for having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above. If you have a BAC of at least .08, the law considers you to be under the influence of alcohol “per se.” If you are under the influence of alcohol “per se,” the State does not need to introduce other evidence, such as field sobriety test results or the smell of alcohol on your breath, to prove that you had been drinking and driving.
If you are found to have a BAC level of less than .08, you can be found guilty or convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs (DWI). A DWI is a less serious crime than a DUI in Maryland. We can determine whether or not your criminal charge was proper under the circumstances of your case and can help you formulate a good legal defense to your charge.
What is the BAC limit for a minor?
Maryland treats underage drinking very seriously, and the penalties upon conviction can be particularly harsh. Maryland law currently provides for a “zero-tolerance” policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving by minors. Under state law, a person must be 21 years of age to consume alcohol. Anyone who is under 21 years of age is considered a minor for purposes of drunk driving charges. If an underage driver has any alcohol in his or her system, the driver can be arrested for a DUI. This is true even if the minor was not “drunk” or did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the arrest. The maximum BAC for a minor in Maryland is 0.02 percent.
What is the BAC limit for commercial drivers in Maryland?
Individuals who drive large trucks or tractor trailers are considered commercial drivers in Maryland. Commercial drivers are considered professional drivers, and as such, they are held to a higher standard of care under Maryland law. When it comes to drinking and driving, the maximum BAC for the driver of a commercial vehicle is .04%. If the driver’s BAC meets or exceeds that amount, then he or she can be charged with DUI in Maryland.
Can a high BAC affect my DUI charge?
Although the state of Maryland does impose stricter penalties by law for repeat offenders, Maryland criminal courts are NOT required to impose enhanced penalties upon those convicted of DUI with excessive breath or blood alcohol levels like other states do. No stricter penalties are required for those operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .15 or greater compared to a BAC of .08. However, many judges will take a higher BAC into consideration during sentencing and may impose stricter punishments upon those convicted of operating a motor vehicle with a high level of alcohol in their system.
What are the penalties for a DUI conviction in Maryland?
The potential penalties upon conviction of a DUI or DWI in Maryland depend largely upon the arrestee’s number of prior offenses (typically within the past five years). The potential sentence upon conviction also depends upon whether or not there were any passengers or children in the driver’s vehicle. It is also important to keep in mind that judges generally have wide discretion when it comes to imposing criminal sentences and penalties in Maryland DUI and DWI cases.
- A first-offense DUI conviction in Maryland can result in up to one year of incarceration, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
- A second-offense DUI conviction in Maryland can result in up to two years of incarceration (five days minimum), a fine of up to $2,000, or both
- A third-offense DUI conviction in Maryland can result in up to three years of incarceration, a fine of up to $3,000, or both.
In addition to these criminal fines and penalties, the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) can also impose administrative penalties. These administrative penalties usually come in the form of “points” on your license. If you accumulate between 8 and 11 points on your license, the MVA can suspend your license, and if you accumulate 12 or more points, your license can be revoked. These points cannot be taken off your driving record for a period of two years.
What is an ignition interlock device?
As of October 1, 2016, individuals who are convicted of a DUI can be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle. Once the device is installed, the driver must blow into the device in order for the vehicle to start. If the device detects any alcohol on the person’s breath, the vehicle will not start. IID’s are expensive, as are the installation and monthly maintenance fees associated with them.
Is it possible to get both a DUI and a DWI?
In Maryland, drivers can indeed be charged with both DUI and DWI at the same time. A DUI offense is more severe, but a DWI offense can carry significant consequences. If you’re convicted of DUI, the DWI charge will likely be merged into the greater charge.
How do I know if the officer who pulled me over administered the sobriety tests legally?
If an officer improperly subjected you to tests, pulled you over without just cause, failed to read you your Miranda rights, or otherwise violated your Constitutionally protected rights, you may be able to get the charges against you dropped or reduced or win at trial.
Can I Refuse a Breath Test?
Maryland is one of several states that has an implied consent law. What this means is that drivers alleged to be driving under the influence of alcohol must agree to take a breath test. If you do not cooperate and refuse to subject yourself to the breath tests, additional penalties can be leveled against you, including the suspension of your driver’s license for at least 279 days.
Can I ask for a blood test instead of a breathalyzer test?
According to Maryland law, the test for breath is the preferred method and blood can only be drawn in certain circumstances.
Can I talk to my lawyer before taking a sobriety test?
Unless you are on federal property, if you’re pulled over for suspicion of DUI in the State of Maryland, you can consult with your criminal defense attorney regarding whether or not you should take the test as long as the act of trying to consult with your attorney does not interfere with the administration of the test within two hours for alcohol and four hours for drugs.
What is Probation Before Judgment?
A “Probation before Judgment,” also known as a PBJ, offers first-time DUI offenders a chance to accept probation in lieu of conviction. A Probation Before Judgment is a disposition that allows the Court to remove a conviction from your record even if you have been found guilty in your case. There are restrictions for when and how a PBJ can be applied, so discuss these with your attorney.