Maryland arrests for drunk driving occur every day, yet no one ever thinks they will be arrested. You may be shocked if you suddenly find yourself facing a DUI with harsh penalties. If you are reading this, you probably want to know what to do if you get charged with a DUI in Maryland.

You may be unsure how this charge will affect your future. You could end up missing work and losing income, or you may be in danger of losing your job. With the added stressors of being unsure about finances and concerned about potential jail time, you need legal assistance.

DUI LAW sign with Judges Hammer

You need a high-quality defense team working for you. The dedicated DUI Lawyers with Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell, LLC can build a solid defense on your behalf so you may be able to avoid some of the financial or legal consequences of a DUI charge. There are important filing deadlines that must be met to prevent the loss of your license following a DUI stop.

DUI Charges in Maryland

If you have been arrested and charged with a Maryland drunk driving charge, the best thing you can do to build your defense is contact a Maryland DUI attorney with the resources and experience to handle your case. Your DUI attorney will review your case and find the best options for defending your case in court. Your attorney may suggest sentencing options such as treatment and probation, negotiating a reduced charge, challenging illegal police procedures, or disputing the blood alcohol test analysis. Maryland has the following five major DWI or DUI charges:

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se 

A DUI per se means that a driver is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol solely based on their tested blood alcohol content level. The blood alcohol concentration would show .08 (or more) grams of alcohol per 100 mL of blood. The legal limit in Maryland for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08%. 

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If a driver is pulled over with a BAC of .08 or higher, they can be charged with a DUI per se, even if they are not exhibiting any signs of impairment. You do not need to be drunk or physically impaired to be charged with a DUI per se.

Charges of DUI per se include the following penalties:

A first-offense DUI per se conviction: 

  • Jail time up to 1 year
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • 12 license points 

A second-offense DUI per se conviction:

  • Jail time up to 24 months
  • Fines up to $2,000
  • 12 license points 

A third-offense DUI per se conviction:

  • Jail time up to 5 years 
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • 13 license points 

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

A charge for driving under the influence of alcohol without proof does not automatically result in a conviction, unlike a DUI per se. Prosecutors have an easier time proving a DUI per se because no proof is needed other than the chemical test results. A DUI can have the following penalties if the prosecutor can prove their case against you:

A first-offense DUI conviction:

  • Jail time of up to one year 
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • 12 license points

A second-offense DUI conviction:

  • Jail time of up to 24 months
  • A fine of up to $2000
  • 12 license points

A third-offense DUI conviction: 

  • Jail time of up to five years
  • A fine of up to $5000
  • 12 license points

Driving While Impaired (DWI) By Alcohol 

A driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.07% or above will have a charge of driving while impaired. These charges are slightly less severe than a DUI. Charges for a DWI can carry the following penalties:

A first-offense DWI conviction: 

  • Jail time of up to 60 days
  • A fine of up to $500
  • 8 license points

A second DWI offense conviction: 

  • Jail time of up to 12 months
  • A fine of up to $500
  • 8 license points

A third DWI offense conviction: 

  • Jail time of up to five years
  • A fine of up to $5000
  • 8 license points

Driving While Too Impaired by Drugs and/or Alcohol 

A person cannot drive a vehicle while impaired by a drug, a combo of drugs, or a combo of alcohol and drugs. The penalties for this charge can include:

A first-offense conviction: 

  • Jail time of up to 2 months
  • A fine of up to $500

A second-offense:

  • Jail time of up to 12 months
  • A fine of up to $500

Driving While Under the Influence of a Controlled Dangerous Substance Under Maryland DUI Law

Judges Hammer With Alcohol And Car Keys

A person cannot attempt to drive a vehicle while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance if the person is not entitled to use the controlled substance. The consequences for driving while under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance carry the following penalties:

A first-offense:

  • Jail time of up to 12 months
  • A fine of up to $1,000

A second-offense:

  • Jail time of up to 24 months
  • A fine of up to $2,000

A Maryland DUI lawyer from PPS&R, LLC will diligently represent your DUI case from intake to the verdict. 

Fighting a Maryland DUI Arrest

People make mistakes, and law enforcement officers are no exception. Unfortunately, it is common for people who have not been drinking or doing drugs to be charged with a DUI or DWI because a law enforcement officer incorrectly administered a preliminary breath test or field test. Our Maryland DUI lawyers can find evidence that the tests were performed incorrectly or that the devices were in poor working order. 

Other mistakes can also occur in DUI cases. For example, a mistake can occur if a police officer violates your legal rights leading up to, during, or after the arrest. To protect you from a wrongful conviction and fight for your legal rights, our Maryland DUI attorneys will review your case for any procedural errors made by the police officer or the prosecution.

Minimizing Conviction Impacts

When a DUI conviction cannot be avoided, our legal team will fight tirelessly to minimize the penalties of the conviction. This can be achieved by using substantive documents to highlight your achievements and good character, such as bringing light to your volunteer efforts or successful career achievements. Certain steps can also be taken to convince the prosecutor to agree to reduce your DUI charges.

Judges Hammer With Car Keys

One way your charges can be reduced is by your offering to participate in an Alcohol Education Program (AEP). While this program may require some extra time and effort on your part, the added work you put in will be much better than being convicted of a major DUI offense. By working with you on various strategies, we can better fight your DUI charges prior to your court date.

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Your DUI Charge Dismissed

Every DUI case is unique, with different circumstances, police officers, and jurisdictions. When facing a Maryland DUI charge, it is in your best interest to follow the guidance of a defense attorney with extensive experience handling DUI cases. You should also familiarize yourself with the specific circumstances you may be facing so that you can assist your attorney and strengthen their efforts to defend you. For example, it is beneficial for you to understand the following:

  • How the DUI charge could impact your future ability to drive
  • The preliminary motions that may be filed for your DUI case
  • Which circumstances could allow an advantageous plea bargain 
  • Which DUI defense is most suitable for a court trial

Working with Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell, LLC can put your mind at ease, knowing that your lawyer will be walking you through this crucial information so that you are well aware of the possible consequences your DUI case could involve. 

Five Mistakes You Should Avoid Making With Your DUI Defense in Prince George’s County 

The following is a list of mistakes often made by Maryland residents who are facing DUI charges. It is important that you understand these scenarios to have the best chances of a successful outcome for your DUI case. 

Not requesting an administrative hearing regarding your license suspension.

Many Maryland drivers who have been charged with a DUI fail to adhere to the set deadlines relating to the suspension of their license. Some people fear dealing with the problem head-on or not understanding the severity of losing their driver’s license. Also, many people tend to ignore the short deadlines corresponding to their DUI cases.

An administrative hearing must be requested by the driver within 10 days of receipt of their DUI suspension and charge if they want to continue driving their vehicle while they wait for their court hearing date. Maryland requires drivers to either enroll in an ignition interlock program within 30 days or request a hearing, during which they will serve a suspension during the wait time. 

Drivers automatically have their licenses suspended after 45 days. If you waited over 45 days to contact a DUI attorney, we may still be able to assist you in getting a valid driver’s license to get you back on the road.

Not installing an ignition interlock device in your automobile 

A large number of drivers choose to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles rather than challenge their license suspension. If you fail to install the ignition interlock device within 30 days, new issues may arise. Since a suspension is automatic after 45 days, you should have the device installed right away. 

If you are unsure which options are best for your situation, a DUI lawyer from PPS&R, LLC can inform you of what they suggest is best for your case.

Ignoring necessary treatment needs

It is important to address the elephant in the room. Whether you think you have an addiction problem or not, a judge will not take your word for it. Many unhappy DUI defendants show up to their court date months after they have been charged without thinking about the cause of their DUI charge.

Identifying the main issue that caused your DUI charge is an important step in the process to ensure that when you head to your court date, we have a solid safety net to enable us to recommend a trial and not have to fear a possible sentence.

Not hiring a Maryland DUI Lawyer 

People have the constitutional right to represent themselves in court. This does not necessarily mean it is a good idea to do so. Unless you have a solid legal background in criminal cases, you are putting a lot on the line.

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Many Maryland DUI defendants opt to represent themselves or use the services of a Public Defender. Sometimes, the court proceedings go smoothly, but it is important to remember that DUI cases are more than just a court date. The dedicated DUI lawyers with Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell, LLC can foresee potential issues, such as license suspensions, before they occur and can prepare you for any collateral consequences of your case.

Accepting a guilty plea before considering a trial 

Many Maryland criminal defense lawyers will quickly take a DUI case without thinking twice. When this happens, a large majority of people charged with a DUI consistently end up taking the following steps:

  1. DUI charge
  2. Retain legal counsel 
  3. Enter a guilty plea

This is a very unfortunate recurrence, and many innocent defendants were never educated on the possibility of a beneficial outcome in a trial. This happens because the legal counsel they chose was not a knowledgeable DUI specialist. You need an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer with a proven track record in court.

Will I Get Jail Time for a DUI in Maryland? 

In Maryland, jail time is a very real possibility for a DWI or DUI. If you are found guilty and convicted, the penalties of a DWI or DUI could include jail and hefty fines. Consulting a skilled DUI attorney who knows the ins and outs of the Maryland criminal justice system can help you avoid harsh punishments on the day of your court trial. 

Typically, a first-time offender can avoid jail time if they take the proper steps and carefully follow any advice given to them by their DUI attorney.

Will a Maryland DUI Or DWI Charge Affect My Driving Privileges?

The potential administrative penalties drivers could face from a DUI or DWI charge are overseen by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). The penalties are based on several factors that are specific to your DUI case. Some of the factors that could be considered include the following:

  • Whether or not you agreed to a breathalyzer test or a blood sample
  • The results of the test or sample 
  • If you refused the breathalyzer or blood sample
  • Whether there was an allegation of DUI of a controlled dangerous substance
  • If your license receives points from a conviction
  • Previous DUI convictions/charges/breathalyzer tests

What Will Happen to My License?

The Motor Vehicle Administration of Maryland handles all licensing issues. If you had a valid Maryland state license at the time you were arrested and charged with a DWI offense, you were likely given a temporary paper copy of your Maryland license that is valid for only 45 days. There are many steps that must be taken within that 45-day window. It is in your best interest to contact a knowledgeable DUI attorney within 10 days of your arrest to get a full analysis of any potential licensing issues with your DUI case.

Our law firm can confidentially review your prior driving record to better inform you of our opinions on your case. Maryland allows DUI offenders to request a motor vehicle administration hearing within 10 days of the removal of their license, but this window closes quickly. Whether or not you agreed to a breath sample, the following outlines the license suspension for first and second offenses:

Refusal of Breath Sample

First refusal

  • 270-day suspension or 1-year ignition interlock 

Second refusal

  • 24-month suspension or 1-year ignition interlock

Breath Test Result Between .08% and .15%

First offense

  • 180-day suspension or 6 months ignition interlock or restricted license eligibility 

Second offense

  • 180-day suspension or 1-year ignition interlock

Breath Test Result Over .15%

First offense

  • 180-day suspension or 1-year ignition interlock

Second offense

  • 270-day suspension or 1-year Ignition Interlock

Contact Our Maryland DUI Lawyers Today

If you have been charged with a DUI in Maryland, you might feel like your life is spinning out of control and have worries about your future. What will you do if you can no longer drive? What does that mean for your job or your family? 
There are so many questions and what-ifs that can be involved when you are pulled over for a DUI. The legal team at Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell, LLC has the skills, experience, and knowledge of the Maryland legal system to assist you with your DUI charges. Reach out to us today using our online contact form or call (410) LAW-YERS, (410-529-9377), to schedule a free consultation.