DUI Penalties in Maryland
Once you are charged for DUI/DWI in Maryland the potential for serious consequences to your freedom and wallet cannot be understated. Working with a skilled DUI lawyer at the earliest possible moment should be a priority. You want to go on the offensive to maximize the possibility of a successful resolution of the charges.
As a Maryland DUI Lawyer, I can tell you that some of the penalties that can be handed out include suspending your license, probation and for those with more than one arrest jail time. The severity of the suspension, monetary fines and prison time go up if minors or personal injuries are involved. It goes without saying that if your are charged with DUI or DWI you should immediately go to work preparing your defense.
Administrative and Criminal Penalties for DUI Conviction in Maryland
As you know, you get your license from the Department of Motor Vehicles. It is their job to issue licenses to every driver up to and including big truck drivers. The court system doles out criminal punishment for those who break the law. Therefore, with a DUI/DWI offense you must answer to both the MVA and the criminal system For the most part, people are aware of the two parts, but not the impact they can have on each other.
Administrative hearings for DUI/DWI and other driving offenses are heard by an administrative law judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings in Hunt Valley or a local Department of Motor Vehicle location. For example, in a recent case I subpoenaed the arresting officer which resulted in the hearing being rescheduled in Frederick because it was closest to the officer's barracks.
As you can expect, the penalties you face in the administrative proceedings differ from the criminal proceedings. In the administrative hearing, you are faced with:
- Suspension of Driving privileges: If found guilty at the administrative hearing the judge can order that your license is suspended from a minimum of 45 days up to 120 days.
- Ignition interlock: The judge can also require that you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle before your license is re-issued. Essentially, you get the device installed and take your paperwork to the MVA to re-issue your license. You bear all the costs associated with installing the interlock and maintaining which includes a monthly fee.
- Please note that is you have an earlier conviction for DUI and you blew a .15 or higher in the current charge, you face a mandatory 6 month interlock period that is addition to any previous suspension or interlock order. Therefore, Driver A may have received the interlock at the MVA heairng six months ago and then is found guilty after trial. Driver A has to complete the current interlock period before starting another six month per recent changes to the law. This is not cheap and hopefully will achieve its intended goal of reducing drunk driving.
At the criminal proceedings which are held in the District Court, you can expect to face in order of escalation seriousness
- DUI probation: It is possible for you to get probation as part of the resolution of your DUI/DWI charge. You need to ensure that you follow through with the probation requirements or risk more adverse consequence's.
- DUI fines: The Court can order a fine as a stand alone penalty or in addition to probation or jail time. The maximum monetary fine is established by law depending on the actual DUI/DWI charge,but the Court can assess a lesser amount.
- DUI Jail time: As with most crimes there is the likelihood of jail time if you are found guilty.
- Driving Under the Influence conviction carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine.
- The lesser offense of Driving While Impaired carries a maximum penalty of two months in jail and/or a $500 fine.
It is important to remember that the facts of your case are going to drive the strategy and outcome of your case. Therefore, it is important that you consult a knowledgeable lawyer and thoroughly discuss everything that happened before, during and after the arrest. You never know what could useful to your defense.
If you or loved one has a question about a DUI or DWI click here to talk to a lawyer.