Maryland drinking and driving charges are most commonly known as:
- Maryland DUI (driving under the influence) or
- Maryland DWI (driving while impaired).
A blood alcohol level of .08 or higher will result in “per se” intoxication and a Maryland DUI charge.
A blood alcohol level of .07 will result in an arrest for DWI. The State has to show substantial impairment of the driving abilities caused by alcohol use.
Specifically the statute provides:
DRIVING UNDER INFLUENCE (DUI)
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of alcohol per se will have increased penalties with second and third offense:
- First offense, imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or both;
- Second offense, imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or a fine not exceeding $ 2,000 or both; and
- Third or subsequent offense, imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $ 3,000 or both.
If the driving under influence per se while transporting a minor then:
- First offense, imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or a fine not exceeding $ 2,000 or both;
- Second offense, imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $ 3,000 or both; and
- Third or subsequent offense, imprisonment not exceeding 4 years or a fine not exceeding $ 4,000 or both.
DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED (DWI)
A person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while impaired by alcohol, penalties for such are:
- First offense, imprisonment not exceeding 2 months or a fine not exceeding $ 500 or both;
- Second offense, imprisonment up to 1 year or a fine not exceeding $ 500 or both; and
- Third or subsequent offense, imprisonment: 3 years and fine not exceeding $ 3,000 or both.
Again increased penalties under the section if transporting a minor: first offense up to 6 months/$1000 fines, second offense up to 2 years/fines up to $1000 and the third conviction up to 4 years/$4000 fines.
DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED BY DRUGS
A person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while impaired by any drug/combination of drugs, or a combination drugs and alcohol.
- First offense, imprisonment not exceeding 2 months/fines not exceeding $ 500,
- Second offense, imprisonment up to 1 year/fines not exceeding $ 500; and
- Third conviction and beyond, imprisonment up to 3 years/fines not exceeding $ 3,000.
Enhanced penalties again if transporting a minor under this section.
DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED BY DANGEROUS CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
Driving while impaired by dangerous controlled substance and the penalties significantly increase first offense: 1 year/$1000 fines; second offense 2 years/$2000 fines; third offense 3 years/$3000 fines.
Again enhanced penalties for transporting a minor.
Controlled dangerous substance is defined as drug or substance listed in Schedule I through Schedule V.
A person is guilty of reckless driving if he drives a motor vehicle:
- Driving in a manner with willful disregard for the safety of persons or property; or
- Driving in a manner with a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.
Negligent driving is defined driving a motor vehicle in:
- A careless or imprudent manner that;
- Endangers any property or the life or person of any individual.
Penalties: up to $1000 in fines.
Defined committing three or more of the following offenses at the same time:
- Traffic lights with steady indication;
- Overtaking and passing vehicles;
- Passing on right;
- Driving on laned roadways;
- Following too closely;
- Failure to yield right-of-way; or
- Exceeding a maximum speed limit.
FLEEING OR EVADING POLICE
An individual may not fail to stop his or her vehicle or flee on foot when a police officer clearly give:
- A clear signal both visual and audible to stop, and that;
- The Officer is fully uniformed or is in a police cruiser or otherwise it is clear that he/she is law enforcement.
It is violation of this section if an individual given proper signal to stop:
- Intentionally fails to stop the vehicle;
- Runs away or flees on foot or does not stop in any other means and ways.
Violation of this section is punishable by up to one year incarceration/$1000 fine for first offense; second offense: 2 years incarceration/$1000 fine.
If there is any bodily injury or death caused by the evading/fleeing police — penalties range from 3-10 years of incarceration.
DRIVING PRIVILEGES (DMV)
Maryland DUI (driving under the influence) DMV consequences include on the first offense up to 12 points on the driver’s license as well as up to 6 months suspension.
Maryland DWI (driving while impaired), while a lesser offense to a Maryland DUI up to 8 points on the Maryland Driver’s License record and again up to 6 months of license suspension.
It is imperative that upon DUI or DWI arrest in Maryland, a MVA administrative hearing is requested in writing within 10 days. The driving privileges are automatically suspended unless the hearing is requested.
Often times, Maryland DUI and Maryland DWI charges are dropped in court due to the State not following the legal formalities involved such as not calibrating the equipment used, not administering proper sobriety field test or illegally pulling a car over with no justifiable suspicion.
It is critical to seek representation of our experienced MD DUI lawyer or MD DWI lawyer from the outset to scrutinize the legality of the arrest, validity of the charges, and to assert all viable defenses in court.
Our Maryland Criminal Lawyer has an extensive experience and expertise in litigating successfully a Maryland DUI or a Maryland DWI charge obtaining dismissals, diversions or probation before Judgment when appropriate.
Contact our MD Criminal Lawyer/MD traffic lawyer today to schedule your intake appointment.