Drinking and driving is a public health and safety issue.
Over the past five years, impaired drivers have accounted for roughly one third of all roadway deaths in Maryland, according to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. On average, there are 7,884 impaired driving crashes statewide, resulting in 171 fatalities and 4,026 injuries every year.
But, people are human and, on more than occasion, someone has a couple of drinks and heads off to home or remembers, after a couple of cocktails, the errands they have to run and hits the road.
There are two basic “impaired while driving” charges in Maryland – DUI and DWI. This blog post focuses on Maryland DUI penalties. A DUI is a greater offense than a DWI. A separate blog post will discuss Maryland DWI penalties.
DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” Being charged with a DUI in Maryland means that your blood alcohol concentration posted at 0.08% or higher. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the amount of alcohol present in a 100 milliliter (mL) volume of blood.
Blood alcohol levels after alcohol consumption can depend on many factors, including gender, body weight, whether food was eaten along with the drinks and the amount of alcohol in the drinks. But, where one drink equals 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor (40% alcohol), 12 ounces of beer (4.5% alcohol), or 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol), a 160-lb man who has had two drinks an hour would test at .05%, a 180-lb man who has had two drinks an hour would test at .04% and a 200-lb man who has had two drinks an hour would test at .04%.
Penalties for a Maryland DUI
If charged with a DUI, there are both administrative penalties, such as license suspension, and possible criminal penalties, such as jail time. It depends upon whether this is a first offense.
A first-offense DUI in Maryland carries a six-month license suspension, a fine of $1,000, 12 points assessed against a drivers’ license, participation in the Alcohol Education Program and the installation of an ignition interlock device on the impaired driver’s car.
An ignition interlock is a device that prevents a vehicle from starting when it detects a certain level of alcohol on the driver’s breath and requires the driver to retest at random points while they are driving. The ignition interlock device is installed at the expense of the driver charged with the DUI. The DUI driver must also pay a monthly monitoring fee.
A first-offense DUI in Maryland doesn’t require mandatory minimum jail time, but does come with a potential period of incarceration of up to one year.
A second offense Maryland DUI comes with a license suspension of up to one year, a fine of $2,000, mandatory minimum of five days jail time with a maximum of two years, 12 points assessed against a driver’s license, required participation in the ignition interlock device program and mandatory participation in an alcohol abuse assessment program.
The possible penalties are even higher with a third Maryland DUI charge and conviction.
If you are stopped by a police officer and are suspected to be under the influence, the law enforcement officer may request that you to submit to a field sobriety test or a portable breath test.
If you test above the legal limit for alcohol, you will be issued an “Order of Suspension” along with your traffic citation. The police officer will confiscate your Maryland driver’s license and may issue you a 45-day temporary paper license.
An experienced Maryland attorney can help you with your DUI charge. In some instances, a Maryland DUI can be reduced to a lesser charge or even dismissed. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Maronick have experience fighting Maryland DUI charges. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.244.5068 or via our website for a free consultation.