Laurel, MD DUI Lawyer
Being accused of driving under the influence in Maryland can be frustrating and complicated, especially since the state maintains four separate categories for alcohol and drug-related driving offenses. If you are facing Maryland DUI charges, an experienced Laurel, MD DUI lawyer can explain the charge against you and the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Call and schedule a free consultation with a Laurel criminal lawyer today to see what an attorney can do for you.
DUI Charges in Maryland
In Maryland, a DUI charge refers to driving under the influence of alcohol, as well as driving under the influence of drugs or other controlled substances. A driver may also face lesser “driving while impaired” (DWI) charges, but a DUI is the more serious offense. Because a DUI in Maryland should not be taken lightly, it is especially important that you work with an experienced Laurel DUI lawyer if you have been accused of DUI.
Whether a driver is charged with a DUI or a lesser alcohol-related driving charge typically depends on the blood alcohol content level registered at the time of the stop. A BAC of 0.08 percent is considered an automatic – or “per se” – violation under Maryland Code 21-902(a)(2), resulting in a DUI charge. A BAC of less than 0.08 percent but more than 0.05 percent typically results in a DWI charge instead.
The arresting officer’s subjective perceptions may also affect the level and type of offense with which a driver is charged. If you are facing a DUI and believe your BAC results may be inaccurate or that the officer’s wrongful perceptions during field sobriety testing resulted in unfair charges against you, luckily a Maryland DUI attorney can help.
DUI Penalties in Maryland
A first-time DUI in Maryland carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and $1000 in fines, though there are several situations that can carry heightened penalties. A driver with a prior alcohol-related driving conviction faces a doubled penalty.
Transporting a minor while under the influence of alcohol also carries a doubled penalty of up to two years in jail and $2000, or up to three years in jail and $3000 in fines if the driver has a prior alcohol-related driving charge. Two prior DUIs or DWIs could land a driver in jail for up to four years, with a fine of up to $4000, if a minor was in the vehicle at the time.
Mandatory Minimum Penalties
Drivers with previous alcohol-related driving offenses during a five-year period also face mandatory minimum penalties that increase with each subsequent conviction. Two convictions carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five days in jail and three prior convictions requires a driver to spend no less than ten days in jail. Drivers may also be required to participate in alcohol abuse assessment and education programs.
Consult an Experienced Laurel, MD DUI Lawyer
While the penalties associated with DUI in Maryland can be intimidating, your Laurel DUI lawyer can fight for reduced penalties or dismissed charges on your behalf, especially if he or she identifies weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you.
A DUI attorney in Laurel will understand that many DUI charges are unfair and that BAC testing equipment can malfunction and officers can make mistakes. If you believe you have been wrongfully charged with DUI, working with an experienced attorney is the first step you can take toward clearing your name.