In Maryland, there are two different drunk driving statutes, and the crime that you are charged with depends on your blood alcohol level. In either scenario, you could face jail time, a fine or other penalties for a first or subsequent offense.
Driving under the influence
If your blood alcohol level is .08 or higher, you will likely be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). This is a per se offense, which means that the state won’t need anything other than the results of a Breathalyzer, blood or urine test to prove that you violated the law. The penalties for a first offense include up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 and a license revocation of up to six months. Penalties may be enhanced if you were caught with children in your vehicle.
Driving while impaired
If your blood alcohol content is lower, you’ll likely be charged with driving while impaired(DWI). This is not a per se offense, which means that you’ll likely have a better opportunity to create a criminal defense strategy to dispute the state’s allegations. A first conviction will carry penalties of up to two months in jail, a fine of up to $500 and a license suspension of up to six months.
There are many strategies that you might be able to use to cast doubt on a DUI or DWI charge. For instance, in some cases the Breathalyzer test was conducted improperly or the machine provided an inaccurate result. Alternatively, you may claim that you were the victim of an improper traffic stop, which might render any evidence found during the stop inadmissible. This may be enough to have the charge dropped or reduced.