Calvert County DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer Fighting For Your Rights
Defending those accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
If you are of legal age, it is lawful to drink. What is not lawful is to drink and drive. If the police suspect you of driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, they will stop you. Once you are stopped, the police will give you field sobriety tests. If you fail the sobriety test, the police will give you a breath test. If the results are above the legal limit, the police officer will arrest you.
A conviction for DUI or DWI means more than just a possible fine. In Maryland, anyone convicted of a DUI or DWI will be required to pay fines and court costs. Your license will be suspended. Your insurance rates will skyrocket. You may be required to complete an alcohol or drug abuse program.
At Carey Law Office, we have been fighting for drivers charged with alcohol offenses for 40 years. We fight to have the charges dismissed or reduced. We seek acquittals in court. Criminal defense attorney Joseph Carey also represents drivers at MVA hearings. We have a strong track record of success helping drivers charged with a DUI/DWI stay out of jail and keep their driving privileges.
How does a DUI differ from a DWI in Calvert County?
Drivers can be charged with either Driving under the influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). A DUI is more serious than a DWI. A DUI requires either:
- That the driver’s blood alcohol concentration be .08 or more (.04 or more for commercial drivers). The police officer does not need to show that the driver’s driving was impaired. This type of DUI is called “DUI per se.”
- A showing that the driver’s ability to control his/her vehicle was substantially impaired by alcohol.
A DWI offense generally applies if the driver’s BAC was .07 or more, and his/her ability to control the vehicle was impaired to some extent due to alcohol consumption.
Generally, DUI and DWI also apply to drivers who operate their vehicles while under the influence of drugs. There is no BAC test for drugs. Instead, the level of impairment determines whether a DUI or DWI applies.
There are separate federal DUI laws.
What are the criminal penalties for a DUI or DWI in Calvert County, Maryland?
The penalties for a DUI conviction are:
- First offense: Up to 1 year in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
- Second offense: Up to 2 years in jail and/or $2,000 in fines.
The penalties for a DWI offense are:
- First offense: Up to 2 months in jail and/or up to $500 in fines.
- Second offense: Up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
The possible prison time and fines increase for subsequent violations. The penalties also increase if the driver was transporting a minor.
How does a DUI/DWI conviction in Calvert County affect your driving privileges?
If you are convicted of DUI or DWI, your conviction will be sent to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. For first time offenders of a DUI, your license will be suspended for up to six months. The length of the license suspension for second-time offenders is 12 months.
Drivers may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID), depending on the type of violation after their suspension period ends, for a specific number of months. Alternatively, a driver may seek to use an IID in lieu of a suspension.
An IID connects your car’s ignition system to a breath analyzer. If your BAC is too high, your ignition will not work. The IID also tests your BAC while you are driving in case you drink while you are driving. If the BAC is too high, the IID will force you to get off the road.
Generally, if you have a first offense DUI or a second offense DWI, you will be required to use the IID for six months. If you refused to submit to a breath or blood test, in violation of Maryland’s implied consent law or your BAC was .15 or more, you must use the IID for one year.
Drivers may be eligible for a restricted license. This license grants the right to drive – but only to work, to attend alcohol or drug counseling, or for medical treatment.
Practically, if your BAC is more than the legal limit, the police officer will take your driver’s license immediately and issue you a temporary license. You need to request the MVA hearing within 10 days of the traffic stop to use the temporary license. An experienced Calvert County MVA lawyer will advise you of the time limits, assert any defenses that might apply so you can keep your license, and clarify the terms of any suspension.
“Our firm has a close working relationship with one of the major IID installation companies in Maryland. Because of this, we have been able to secure a special installation rate for our clients. If you choose our firm to represent you, you can bring a copy your form from our office to the installer, who will waive the cost of installation (about $150) and the first month’s maintenance fee (about $75), saving you up to $225 on the entire system.” – Joseph Carey
How does probation before judgment (PBJ) work in Calvert County?
Maryland does have an alternative option for drivers charged with a DUI or DWI called Probation Before Judgment (PBJ). If you qualify, the case against is you put on hold. If you complete the terms of the probation, the charges are dismissed.
The conditions may include completion of an alcohol/drug treatment program and community service.
The judge assigned to your case has the discretion whether or not to grant the PBJ. To qualify, you must not have any prior DUI or DWI offenses – or any prior PBJ – within the past 10 years. You will not be eligible for a PBJ if there was an accident.
If you complete the PBJ conditions, you can truthfully say you have not been convicted of that crime. Also, generally, you should be able to keep your driver’s license provided you did not fail to submit to a breath test.
What defenses may be raised in a Calvert County DUI case?
At Carey Law Office, we assert every possible defense available to you. Common defenses include:
- Challenging the right of the police officer to stop you
- Challenging the validity of any checkpoint random stops
- Contesting whether the officer followed the proper procedures during the field sobriety tests
- Contesting whether the officer followed the proper procedures during the breath or blood tests
- Challenging the validity of any breath machine
Facing DUI charges in Calvert County? Carey Law Office can help
It is frightening to be pulled over by the police. Rest assured that you do have rights if you are charged with a DUI. At Carey Law Office, we have been fighting for the accused for 40 years. We work to have the charges dismissed, negotiate plea reductions, seek PBJs, defend you at MVA hearings, and defend you at a trial. We represent defendants in Calvert County and Southern Maryland. Call us at 301-464-2500 or use our contact form to schedule a consultation today to discuss your DUI case.