When you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol for the first time, you may be shocked and frightened. You may not know what to do next or what the future holds for you. Here’s how you should handle a first time DUI charge in Maryland.
What is a DUI?
A DUI in Maryland is different from a DWI. A DUI occurs when a person stopped under suspicion of drunk driving submits to a blood or breath test and their blood alcohol content (“BAC”) is 0.08% or higher, or when the facts of their case show that their driving was substantially impaired by alcohol.
A DWI, on the other hand, occurs when a person stopped under suspicion of drunk driving submits to a blood or breath test and their BAC is 0.07% or less, and/or the facts of their case show that their driving was impaired by alcohol.
The Difference Between Criminal & Administrative Penalties
When you are charged with a DUI, you will potentially face both criminal penalties and administrative penalties. This means that you may have jail time, fines, and your license suspended. The penalties in Maryland for a first time DUI are as follows:
- Up to one year in jail, or up to two years if a minor was present in the vehicle at the time of the arrest
- Up to $1,000 in fines, or up to $2,000 if a minor was present
- Pre-conviction license suspensions of varying lengths, depending upon whether one submitted to or refused to take a breathalyzer test. If one submits, the suspension is for 45 days for a test result between o.o8% and 0.15%, and 90 days for a test result of 0.15% or more. If the test is refused, the suspension is for 120 days.
- A post-conviction license suspension of 6 months
- Mandatory alcohol assessment/counseling before license reinstatement
- If the court so chooses, an ignition interlock device may be installed, requiring the driver to submit to a BAC test (usually in the form of a breath test) before the car can be started
When to Contact a DUI Attorney
The look-back period for DUIs in Maryland is five years, meaning that any subsequent DUI offense within five years of the first will be charged as a second or third offense. With each subsequent offense, the penalties get even more stringent, potentially landing the defendant in jail for years at a time. Additionally, a DUI is a black mark on your driving record and will undoubtedly cause your insurance rates to go up.
The best defense against a DUI charge is one that utilizes a variety of tactics to increase the chances that the charges will be dismissed altogether. Attorney J. Christopher Llinas has the expertise and resources to zealously advocate for your rights under the law after a DUI arrest, and he will go the extra mile in your case.
Contact Attorney Llinas today to discuss the arrest in detail and to learn more about your rights and legal options. Don’t wait — in a DUI case, it’s imperative that you act quickly and reach out for legal representation as soon as possible. Call today at (443) 235-5793 to begin building your defense.