Maryland DWI laws specify administrative and statutory penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and for driving while impaired by alcohol, controlled substances, or prescription drugs. The state laws make the interstates, state highways, and county roads safer for all who live in, work in, or visit Maryland.
Maryland police suspend driver’s licenses, arrest and serve criminal citations, and add points to driving records for driving while intoxicated. Your driver’s license will be revoked if you get 12 points on your driving record, and a hearing will be necessary to reinstate it.
What Is a DWI under Maryland Law?
Your first driving while impaired (DWI) arrest is a misdemeanor offense under Maryland DWI laws. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08, or 80 mg of alcohol in a deciliter of blood, you are illegally intoxicated and you will be charged with driving under the influence (DUI).
The legal limit for a commercial driver is .04, and the legal limit for a teenager is .02. If any amount of a controlled substance is present in a driver’s blood stream, the driver may be charged with driving while impaired. If you pass the breathalyzer test and you fail a sobriety test, you’ll be charged with driving while impaired (DWI).
What Happens If I get Pulled Over?
If a police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, they’ll pull you over and give you an Advice of Rights form. They’ll also offer you a blood, breath, or urine test to determine your BAC. Under Maryland DWI laws, the police officer selects the test, and the test results become evidence in court. You will be arrested, handcuffed, and taken to jail if the test proves you are driving while impaired. The officer will also give you a traffic citation.
Can I Refuse the Tests?
Signing your Maryland driver’s license implies consent to follow the transportation laws of the state of Maryland. Specifically, your driver’s license implies consent to take a chemical test to determine the alcohol content of your blood. Your Advice of Rights form explains suspension of your right to drive in Maryland, additional penalties you may face, and the Ignition Interlock Program.
What Happens If I Refuse Them?
Your Advice of Rights form requires your signature and a simple check which clarifies that you agree or refuse to take the test offered to you. If you refuse to take your chemical test, the officer will issue an Order of Suspension for your driver’s license and a traffic citation. A commercial driver who refuses to take the test loses his commercial driver’s license. For a $150 fee, you can request an administrative hearing to defend your right to your driver’s license.
What Are the Penalties I Should Expect?
You will be arrested for driving while impaired and you will go to jail. Moreover, your first DWI will impose serious obligations and financial constraints. Consequently, your penalties will be jail time, fines, criminal court appearances, and administrative hearings. You will also have to pay attorney’s fees, court and administrative fees, and your insurance rates will soar.
What Happens If I Have a Child Passenger?
If you are driving under the influence with a minor child in your vehicle, your first DUI or DWI charge results in two years in prison and a $2,000 fine. Your second DUI offense within five years with a child in your car at the time of your arrest results in three years in prison and a $3,000 fine.
First Offense DWI
You have only 10 days after your arrest to petition for an administrative hearing. You will lose your driver’s license. Furthermore, you can also lose a job or custody of your children if you drive while impaired. Your first DUI or DWI conviction results in a six month suspension of your driver’s license, a $500 to $1,000 fine, two months in jail to one year in prison, and 12 or 8 points on your driver’s license.
Second offense DWI
Your second DUI or DWI offense results in a one-year revocation of your driver’s license, a $2,000 fine, two years in prison, and 12 or 8 points on your driver’s license. Under Maryland DWI laws, you will have to attend mandatory substance abuse counseling. Effective October 1, 2016, ignition interlock devices (IID) are installed on your vehicle when you get your license reinstated. You must blow into the device to start your car. If alcohol is detected on your breath, your car will not start.
Underage Drinking Fake Identification
Under Maryland DWI laws, if you are under 21 years old and in possession of alcohol or have consumed alcohol, you will be fined $500. If you are found guilty a second time you will face a $1,000 fine. Moreover, if you are under 21 and possess a fake identification card, you will spend two months in jail. 12 points will appear on your driving record and and your driver’s license will be revoked. If you sell fake IDs, you can be sentenced to two years in prison for each fake ID. You’ll also be fined $2000. Your license will also be revoked for 12 points on your driving record.
Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor
Maryland’s policy on underage drinking is “zero tolerance”. The license of a driver under the age of 21 has “Under 21 Alcohol Restriction” on it. Furnishing alcohol to a minor is a $2500 fine, or a $5000 fine, for a second conviction.
Maryland defense attorneys have even published authoritative books on DUI/DWI defense. Experienced Maryland defense attorneys may be able to get your charge or sentence reduced or dismissed in criminal court. However, Maryland no nonsense DWI laws intent that you will not drive at all if you ever drive while intoxicated.
It’s extremely hard to have an attorney prove that your breath test or field sobriety test was not accurate. You will still need representation in administrative hearings at the Maryland DMV to have your driver’s license reinstated. Your car insurance rates will quadruple.
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