DUI & DWI Lawyer serving the entire Eastern Shore of Maryland, including Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset Counties
Have you been charged with a DUI or DWI in Ocean City?
For an Immediate Consultation, Give Me A Call (443) 235-5793
You may had been drinking but felt well enough to drive. Before you knew it, you were sitting handcuffed in the backseat of a police patrol vehicle.
You may have made a bad decision. We all do.
And right now, you have a million questions running through your mind…
“Will my driver’s license be suspended?”
“How much money will this cost me in fines?”
“Will I have to go to jail?”
“If this goes on my permanent record, could it impact my current or future employment status?”
Drinking Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs and Drinking While Intoxicated (DWI) are serious offenses. That’s why you need an experienced and trusted criminal and traffic defense lawyer on your side.
I’m J. Christopher Llinas, a former prosecutor and public defender with over 18 years experience tackling the tough cases. As an experienced lawyer in Worcester County for drunk driving charges, I will listen to the specifics of your drunk driving case and craft a defense that gives you the best possible outcome.
Call my office today at (443) 235-5793 for a FREE consultation.
Potential Lines of Defense
Here are just a few broad examples of various defense strategies we may be able to pursue. Please keep in mind, that without knowing the details of your case, these may or not be relevant.
Traffic Stop – Was there a valid reason to stop your car? The police officer can only arrest you if there was a reasonable suspicion to believe that a traffic violation had occurred or a crime had been committed.
A motion to suppress evidence can be filed if there is a chance the traffic stop was illegal.
In other words, nothing that happened after you got pulled over (including breath and field sobriety tests) would be admissible in court.
Videotape – If there is a videotape of the arrest, this needs to go through a forensic analysis.
Did the police officer follow procedure? Did you have any physical problems that explain your difficulty with the field sobriety tests?
Chemical Tests (breath, blood) – Chemical tests are not error proof. In a breath test, the government needs to prove that it was operated by a licensed, qualified person and that the breathalyzer was in working order when it was administered.
Sometimes, there is radio frequency interference that can affect the reading, from the police officer’s radio for example.
Additional ways the test may be inaccurate include mouth alcohol contamination which can happen if you belch 20 minutes prior to giving a sample.
You may suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disorder or chronic heartburn, or you may have had a fever at the time — all these conditions can affect the reading.
Blood samples are also not error proof. Test tube vials can be out of date or contaminated which can lead to a false result.
So, don’t lose hope! These are just a few of the ways we may be able to prove your innocence.
Maryland Law Recognizes Two Types of Drunk Driving Offenses:
- DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL (DUI)
- DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED BY ALCOHOL (DWI)
DUI charges are more serious than a DWI. Under Maryland Law, a person is guilty of a DUI if he/she is found to be under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to such a degree that it renders him/her incapable of driving safely.
A person is also considered under the influence if their physical and/or mental faculties become impaired due to the effects of alcohol or a controlled substance, or if his/her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit of .08.
Immediately following a DUI arrest, Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration will suspend your license. You can contest the suspension by requesting an administrative license review hearing, but you must do so within 30 days.
We can help you navigate this process.
DUI Criminal Penalties
DUI penalties are determined based on whether or not you have any previous DUI convictions. A first time offense is considered a misdemeanor, and any subsequent offenses may qualify as a felony.
- Up to one year in prison
- Fine up to $1,000
- A six-month suspension of your right to drive
- 12 points on your driver’s license
- Up to two years in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of five days in jail
- Fine up to $2,000
- 12 month suspension of your right to drive.
- An ignition interlock device, similar to a breathalyzer must be installed on your vehicle’s dashboard before your license is restored.
- Before you start your car, you must blow into the device, and if it registers over the legal limit, it will prevent the engine from starting.
- Up to three years imprisonment
- Fine up to $3,000
- Loss of your license for 18-months
- Ignition interlock device
Under Maryland Law, a person is guilty of a DWI if he/she has consumed alcohol to a degree that it has impaired his/her normal coordination to drive safely.
A breath test result between 0.07 and 0.08 qualifies as a DWI.
A DWI is considered a misdemeanor.
- 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine
- Up to eight points on your driver’s license
- Up to 1 year of jail and/or $500 fine
- Up to eight points on your driver’s license
- Up to 1 year of jail and/or $500
- Suspension of license for 1 year
*DUI and DWI punishments can be significantly enhanced if there is a minor child in the vehicle while the driver is drunk. Also, a driver under the age of 21 can be charged with DUI with a BAC of just .02.
What Happens If I Refuse The Breath Test?
DUI and DWI offenses almost always involve the request that a person submit to a breath or blood alcohol test. The person can refuse a breathalyzer test but the MVA will most likely suspend your driver’s license.
Refusal to take the test on a…
- First offense: 120 day driver’s license suspension
- Second offense: 1 year driver’s license suspension
- Third offense: 1 year driver’s license suspension
If for whatever reason a blood or breath test is not administered, other evidence is required to support a drunk driving conviction, including, but not limited to:
- The person’s driving prior to being stopped;
- The person’s presentation, demeanor, speech, coordination, and conduct during the stop;
- The presence of any open containers of alcohol in the vehicle;
- The person’s statements and admissions, if any; and
- The person’s performance on certain field sobriety tests (FST’s) during the stop
The weight of the evidence, taken as a whole, will dictate a DUI conviction, a DWI conviction, or no conviction at all.