Bowie and Crofton DUI Defense Lawyer Protecting Your Future
Defending those accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Maryland and throughout the United States. Drunk driving is a dangerous activity that can increase the chances of the driver causing an accident where others might be injured or killed. If you made the mistake of under-estimating your level of impairment before you decided to drive, it is vital that you contact a Bowie DUI defense attorney right away to protect your rights during this process.
At Carey Law Office, we offer experienced DUI representation. We know that no two cases are the same, so we personally review every aspect of your case and we develop an aggressive defense for you. Schedule a confidential consultation at our offices in Crofton or Bowie to discuss your case right away.
What is the difference between a DUI and DWI offense in Maryland?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is the more serious offense, in which a person who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater is caught driving. (MD Code Transportation §21–902) When a driver is stopped with a BAC of .08 or higher, he or she can be charged with DUI regardless of whether the alcohol actually impaired his or her driving. (MD Code Transportation §11–174.1)
A person can be charged with driving while impaired (DWI) if he or she has a BAC of .07, and if drugs or alcohol affected the person’s ability to drive.
Criminal penalties for a first DUI/DWI conviction in Maryland
DUIs and DWIs are misdemeanors. For a first DUI offense, or the first DUI in the past five years, possible penalties include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If there was a minor in the car at the time, the penalty can increase to up to 2 years in jail, and up to $2,000 in fines.
For a first DWI offense, there is a fine of up to $500, and up to two months in jail. If there was a minor int eh car at the time, the penalty may increase to up to 6 months in jail, and up to $1,000 in fines.
Second and third DUI/DWI convictions
For a second DUI offense, a person might spend up to two years in jail, and be fined up to $2,000. For a third or subsequent, the penalties are up to 3 years in jail, and up to $3,000 in fines.
For a second DWI, the penalty can include up to one year in jail and up to $500 in fines. For a third offense, the penalties can be increased to up to 3 years in jail, and up to $3,000 in fines.
Administrative penalties for DUI
In addition to the criminal penalties for driving under the influence, there are also administrative penalties from the Maryland Motor Vehicles Administration (MVA), which are entirely separate from penalties imposed by the criminal justice system. Look at it this way: the MVA cannot put you in jail for getting a DUI; similarly, the court cannot suspend your driver’s license. It is essentially like getting one ticket and having two separate cases as a result. Your court case determines whether you will face jail times and fines, while your MVA case determines whether you will be allowed to keep your driver’s license.
If you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer, and you take a breathalyzer test that reveals your BAC meets or exceeds the legal limit of 0.08, the police officer will take your driver’s license and issue a temporary driver’s license. You must request an MVA hearing within 10 days of the traffic stop or the state of Maryland will suspend your driving privileges before your hearing, and deny you a temporary license. If you miss the 10-day deadline, you can still request a hearing within 30 days of the traffic stop, but you could still have your license automatically suspended for 45 days after the stop.
The MVA penalties for first-time DUI are:
- BAC of .08 to .14: 180-day license suspension, OR a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your car for up to one year, at your expense. For first time offenders who blow between a .08 and a .14, Maryland offers a “work permit” license, which means you can use your car to get to and from work, to attending counseling sessions, and for medical treatment.
- BAC of .15 and above: 180-day license suspension, though you may be able to have an IID installed for one year instead of the loss of license. If you blow a .15 or above, you are not eligible for the work permit.
- Breath test refusal: 270-day license suspension, though you may be able to have an IID installed for one year instead of the loss of license. If you refuse to take the breath test, you are not eligible for the work permit.
The MVA penalties for a second or subsequent DUI are:
- BAC of .08 to .14: 180-day license suspension, OR a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your car for up to one year, at your expense. Repeat offenders are not eligible for work permits.
- BAC of .15 and above: 270-day license suspension, though you may be able to have an IID installed for one year instead of the loss of license. Repeat offenders are not eligible for work permits.
- Breath test refusal: 2-year license suspension, though you may be able to have an IID installed for one year instead of the loss of license. Repeat offenders are not eligible for work permits.
Additionally, the MVA will give you 12 points on your driving record for a DUI, and 8 points for a DWI. Licenses with between 8 and 11 points will be suspended; licenses with 12 or more points will be revoked.
Understand that even if your license is taken away from you by the MVA, most administrative law judges (who you face at your MVA hearings) will allow you to keep your license if you miss the deadline. To request the reinstatement of a driver’s license, you must complete an alcohol/drug abuse treatment program.
The ignition interlock device (IID), and why you should choose us
The court may require that you get an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. An IID is a device that will not allow drivers to start the car until they blow into the breathalyzer, which measures their blood alcohol concentration. Failing the breathalyzer will prevent the car from starting. Many ALJs will allow you to keep your license in exchange for installing an IID.
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.
Federal DUI charges
If you are stopped by federal law enforcement while you are on federal property, such as a military base; while driving on a highway like the Baltimore-Washington Parkway; or at an airport or at a facility which is maintained by the federal government, you could be charged with a federal DUI. The penalties for a federal DUI are harsher simply because federal charges are almost always more severe than charges by the state. Penalties for federal DUI charges can vary depending on the circumstances of the stop.
What is probation before judgement (PBJ)?
Maryland law allows those facing a first-time DUI offense to be put on probation before they face judgment for the crime they have been accused of committing. So, rather than plead guilty, this person has the option of going on probation. A PBJ is only available to those facing their first DUI offense within at least ten years. The judge will ultimately decide whether to grant one or not.
Probation before judgment: MD Crim Pro Code § 6-220
(1) When a defendant pleads guilty or nolo contendere or is found guilty of a crime, a court may stay the entering of judgment, defer further proceedings, and place the defendant on probation subject to reasonable conditions if:
(i) the court finds that the best interests of the defendant and the public welfare would be served; and
(ii) the defendant gives written consent after determination of guilt or acceptance of a nolo contendere plea.
With PBJ, you can truthfully say that you have not been convicted of a crime. Additionally, your PBJ record, maintained by the MVA, is not available to your insurance company, so your insurance rates may not be affected.
How can a Maryland DUI defense lawyer help you?
The consequences for a DUI are anything but minor. From the inconvenience of having your license revoked to the points on your driver’s license, your freedom to drive will be taken away for at least six months. We know exactly how to advise our clients regarding keeping points off their driving records and reducing the fines associated with a DUI.
A DUI offense is a serious matter, with the potential to cause significant financial consequences and possible jail time if it is not your first offense. At Carey Law Office, we are here to safeguard your future. With us by your side, you will enjoy the benefit of our nearly 40 years of experience helping others who have faced DUI charges. We are not here to judge you or your actions – we are here to protect your rights and do everything possible to get your criminal charges eliminated or reduced.
Facing DUI charges? Let us help
Seeing those flashing lights in your rear-view mirror and then failing a breathalyzer test might feel like the worst day of your life. At Carey Law Office, we protect our clients’ rights as they move through the criminal justice system after being charged with a DUI. We have had an office in Bowie since 1981, and we have a new office in Crofton. Please call 301-464-2500 or fill out this contact form to schedule a confidential consultation with a DUI defense lawyer today.