Being charged with driving under the influence is a serious criminal charge in Maryland. The state has opted for a unique approach to prosecuting impaired driving by establishing both a DUI and DWI standard. For alcohol impairment cases, the 0.08% blood alcohol concentration threshold applies while 0.07% BAC results in a DWI charge where the driver is impaired but not considered intoxicated.
This also allows for some level of plea bargaining or even a case dismissal in situations where the active impairing substance is not alcohol. Each impaired driving case is unique in some aspect, but all are serious legal matters in Maryland that can result in severe penalties following a conviction based on the defendant’s previous driving history.
Even a first-offense charge for DUI can result in harsh penalties. The first consideration is jail time, which can be assessed for up to one year based on material case factors used in prosecution and facts entered in criminal defense. A fine of up to $1000 may also be ordered. DWI penalties are two months in jail and a $500 fine maximum.
Multiple offenders face enhanced penalties from subsequent DUI charges in Maryland. This includes anyone receiving a DUI conviction or “probation before judgment” plea bargain in the prior 10 years. Second-offense punishment can range up to two years of confinement and a $2000 fine. A third-offense DUI is capped at three years incarceration and $3000 fine. Multiple DWI convictions will result in exactly half of the potential penalties of a DUI based on material factors and defending arguments.
It is important for defendants to remember that aggravated charges may also be filed when children are in the vehicle at the time of the citation. Additionally, a conviction for either DUI or DWI will result in eight demerit points being applied to their driving record, which means a license suspension will typically be ordered.