What Are the Penalties for First-Time DUI in Maryland?
Maryland law prohibits driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even if it is your first DUI offense, you could face some serious penalties, including driver’s license suspension, probation, community service, mandatory alcohol education, ignition interlock program, and fines. If there are aggravating factors, you could even face some jail time.
The good news is that you can hire a Maryland DUI attorney to help defend against the charge and protect your rights. Continue reading to learn more about the penalties for first-time DUI in Maryland and how you can defend against these charges.
First-Time DUI Offense in Maryland
A first-time DUI offense means that the driver has no prior DUI-related convictions. A driver is considered to be driving under the influence (DUI) if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or above. A person can also be charged with driving while impaired (DWI) if their BAC level is less than 0.08 percent, but higher than 0.07 percent. While DWI is considered a lower standard, it could also result in similar penalties as DUI charges.
Penalties for First-Time DUI in Maryland
There are two categories of penalties for first-time DUI convicts in Maryland. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) doles out the first type of penalty. The second type is criminal penalties by the Maryland court system.
You could get a driver’s license suspension based on the results of the breathalyzer test results. The suspension can range from 180 to 270 days as per Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration rules. The driver may be eligible for a hardship license, which allows for restricted use such as driving to the workplace or school. However, the driver can still be subject to the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) and travel restrictions.
The fines for a first-time DUI offense could be up to $1,000, not including other potential costs such as court fees. A first-time DUI offense can also lead to a maximum of one year in jail. This is most common if there were aggravating factors such as prior convictions or if you caused an accident that resulted in severe injuries or fatalities. According to Maryland DUI laws, the penalties for drivers with commercial licenses could be different.
Defending Against First Time Offense DUI Offense Charges
If you can put up a strong defense to DUI charges, you could get them dismissed or reduced. There are several strategies for defending against DUI offenses. However, you should work with a DUI criminal defense attorney to determine the best course of action.
You can challenge the traffic stop that led to the DUI charges. Law enforcement officers need to have a valid reason to stop you. If you can prove that was not the case, all evidence gathered against you can be inadmissible in court and your case could be dismissed.
It’s natural for a driver to feel nervous when they get pulled over by a police officer, but you must stay calm, not confront the officer, and only share necessary information. Admitting fault or behaving aggressively can undermine your case. However, if the officer who arrested you did not read you your Miranda rights, statements you made during or after the arrest could become invalid.
As a defense against DUI offense charges, you could challenge the accuracy of the breathalyzer, field sobriety test, or blood test results. The police are required to follow a certain protocol to administer the tests. If that is not followed, it can render the results invalid. Other defenses include a rising BAC level or proving the existence of medical conditions that led to high BAC.
Consult with an Experienced Maryland First DUI Attorney
The consequences for first-time offenders include administrative and criminal penalties. While the charges for a first-time offense are relatively less severe, you still want to take them seriously and do everything you can to have the charges dropped or reduced.
It’s best to get a DUI attorney involved in the process as early as possible. They can guide you through each step of the way to ensure you don’t make any mistakes and follow the best course of legal action to successfully defend against the charges.
If you have been charged with DUI, get in touch with The Parker Law Team at (410) LAW-YERS to consult with an attorney. We have the skills, resources, and experience to fight for your rights and defend against DUI charges.