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Montgomery County DWI Charges

In addition to standard DUI charges, individuals in Montgomery County, Maryland may also be charged with driving while intoxicated in certain cases. Below is what you should know about DWI charges and how it differs from that of DUI. If you have already been charged with DWI or DUI charges consult with a Montgomery County DUI lawyer today to discuss your case.

How is a DWI Charge Different From DUI?

Compared to a DUI a DWI charge is a lesser offense. The easiest way to think about it is that if a DUI is considered drunk driving then a DWI is considered buzzed driving. So while a DUI is a violation of MD Transportation Article 21-902 (a), DWI is a violation of MD transportation code (b) which means it carries lower penalties for the same circumstances.

So for a DWI charge you are facing a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail, a $500 fine and 8 points on your driver’s license. A first offense DUI on the other hand carries one year of incarceration, $1,000 fine, 12 points on your license. Now in both cases those are maximum penalties, which are not generally realistic penalties in Maryland for first offenders, however penalties can be serious and warrant contact from a Montgomery County DWI lawyer.

Is There Any Differences in The BAC Requirement?

Well for DUI to be charged, there needs to be a showing of either a significant impairment or a BAC of 0.08 or higher. If an individual blows a 0.07 that creates a presumption that they were DWI, although you can rebut that presumption by showing that they did well on their field sobriety test, you weren’t driving badly, or that there was not enough other evidence to convict you of being buzzed and driving a vehicle. If an individual blows a 0.06, then there’s no presumption and if an individual blows an 0.05, then it’s a presumption of sobriety. So, as a Montgomery County DWI lawyer can explain, 0.07 is something of a DWI sweet zone.

Is It Treated Differently By Prosecutors?

Prosecutors will often offer a plea to a DWI when they don’t have a breath alcohol content on a person. You’ll usually be charged with both DUI and DWI in a DUI case. In a case where they can’t prove that you were drunk, the prosecution may offer to dismiss the drunk drinking and go forward on only the buzzed driving tickets. So it’s very rare to see a DWI without an attached DUI.

As a Montgomery DWI lawyer, What Steps Do You Take In Building a Defense?

Well the first thing a Montgomery County DWI lawyer will do is interview the client and talk to them about what happened, their personal background and whether it contributed to the accident, their medical history, and other things that could potentially relate to the case. After that, the next step is to examine all the evidence the state has. This means looking at copies of the police report, looking at certifications for the breathalyzer test and it’s technician, and any video or audio equipment that may exist of the accident, at which point it is time to prepare the case for trial and to to trial with the client.

Why Is It Important To Hire A DWI Attorney With Experience Practicing in Montgomery County?

Well there are two things that are really important in hiring a lawyer for a DUI case or DWI case in Montgomery County. One is their  understanding of DWI law. DWI law is more technical than lots of other areas of criminal defense. So having a lawyer who’s done a lot of DUI cases who has experience handling DUI cases, I think is extremely important because you want to have somebody who knows all of the laws that you’re going to be facing and all potential penalties and all the technical  challenges and defenses of that area of law. And then, it’s really important to have a lawyer who knows the prosecutors and judges where you’re going to be tried. Knowing the personalities involved in a DWI case in Montgomery County can have a huge impact on the actual outcome of the case. Knowing that the judge is amenable to this type of legal argument or this judge is not fit for sentencing can play a huge role on how the case actually impacts your life. So having a lawyer who had experience both with DUI and DWI law as well as experience in Montgomery County is extremely important.