FAQs: Maryland DUI Penalties

The following is information on DUI penalties associated with driving under the influence in Maryland. To learn more consult with a Maryland DUI lawyer today.

What are the Collateral Consequences of a DUI Conviction?

Collateral consequences of a conviction include an additional suspension of an individual’s driver’s license or driving privilege beyond what is triggered by the administrative action. Higher insurance rates can also accompany a conviction. There are also travel restrictions, for example Canada will not let people in, at least automatically, if they have a DUI conviction on their record. Those are the major consequences. There are also consequences in terms of employment. For example, if the individual wants to drive for a living, future employers are going to be very concerned if they had DUI convictions.

Are these Consequences Exacerbated by Subsequent Offenses?

Absolutely. Every single one of those consequences is exacerbated by subsequent offenses. People with multiple DUI convictions have a hard time finding inexpensive auto insurance. People with multiple DUI convictions will also have difficulty finding a driving job. Multiple convictions can also be a hindrance to travel, especially to Canada.

Are the Penalties the Same for DUI and DUI Per Se?

Yes, the penalties are exactly the same. They are separate charges, but they carry the same penalty. DUI is drunk driving, so the state has to prove that you were operating a motor vehicle and that you were under the influence of alcohol. It’s sort of a subjective standard. DUI Per Se is driving a motor vehicle with a breath alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. If the state can prove the driving and the state can prove that the breath test results were .08 or higher, then the conversation isn’t whether you are drunk or  sober, the conversation is did you blow a .08 or higher. The first step in fighting a DUI Per Se charge is trying to get the breath test suppressed, either by proving improper machine certification, improper calibration, improper officer certification, or failure to comply with the rules. Having confident counsel can make a huge difference.

What are the Penalties for Tampering with an Ignition Interlock Device?

An individual who is suspected of tampering with an ignition interlock device can get the same penalty as an individual who blows a positive result in the interlock. Any suspected tampering will result in a one-month extension of having the interlock. After three extensions, an individual is removed from the program. Those extensions could also be triggered by positive results or by rolling retest refusals, which occur when the person is driving and the interlock asks them to blow and they don’t do it.

What are the Penalties Associated with Failing an Ignition Interlock?

In Maryland, the Ignition Interlock Program will send any individuals who fail an extension letter saying, “You failed. You had a positive result of alcohol this month. We’re going to extend you by a month.” So the 12-month ignition interlock requirement becomes a 13-month term after one failure, a 14-month term after two failures, a 15-month term after three failures, and on the fourth failure the individual is terminated from the program.

What are the Penalties for Refusing to Perform the Field Sobriety Tests?

There are no legal consequences associated with refusing a field sobriety test. That’s why it is always a good idea to refuse the tests. When an individual refuses field sobriety tests, the officer has to base their decision to arrest on the evidence they’ve gathered at that point. More often than not, when an individual refuses to perform field sobriety tests, the officer can’t arrest them. The question really becomes how much evidence the officer has at that point. If the field sobriety tests are done, the officers are probably going to have significantly more evidence than they would if an individual had refused the test.

Does Refusing to do Field Sobriety Tests Impact a Criminal Case or Imply Guilt?

In my experience, refusing the field sobriety tests only affects the criminal prosecution for DUI positively because it provides the officer with less evidence. There are very rare cases, probably between two and four percent of the cases, in which an individual actually passed the field sobriety tests. In the vast majority of the cases individuals are going to give the officer enough clues to justify the arrest.

Can Results from the Field Sobriety Tests be used against a Motorist?

The field sobriety tests absolutely will be used against the motorist. Any individual who consents to field sobriety tests is giving the officer probable cause since it is extraordinarily rare for an individual to actually pass field sobriety tests. The tests themselves aren’t necessarily designed to detect impairment; they are designed to give an officer probable cause to arrest somebody for suspicion of DUI. The point of the test isn’t to see if the individual has been drinking and driving; the point of the test is to give the officer a reason to make an arrest and they’re designed with that in mind.