Saint Mary’s County DUI Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Saint Mary’s County, please contact a Saint Mary’s County DUI lawyer today for a free consultation. Receiving a DUI charge, especially for the first time, can be a frightening and stressful experience. Fortunately, our experienced Maryland DUI attorneys are available to clients who need assistance on the Eastern Shore and throughout the state of Maryland.
When you contact our law offices, we’ll conduct your free initial consultation, which will provide our Saint Mary’s County DUI lawyers with the information necessary to understand your unique needs and circumstances. Call today to learn more.
Lower Blood Alcohol Limit
Maryland recently lowered the blood alcohol content (BAC) required for police to charge a driver with a criminal charge. Maryland allows a driver to be charged with driving while impaired (DWI) if their BAC is .07 or above, a lesser offense than a charge of driving under the influence (DUI). Drivers are charged with DUI if their BAC is .08 or above. A first offense brings fines up to $1,000 and/or one year in jail, and the person charged could have their license revoked for up to six months. The charge also puts 12 points on a Maryland driver’s license. However, a person may be charged with DWI under Maryland law even if his or her BAC is less than .07, provided an officer can document that the individual’s driving was impaired significantly, such as if he or she was weaving erratically, driving on the wrong side of the road or exhibiting other obvious signs of intoxication.
Once a person has been arrested for DWI or DUI in Maryland, his or her driver’s license is confiscated and a temporary permit, good for only 45 days, is issued. The officer forwards the confiscated license to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. Within ten days of the arrest, the driver must contact the MVA to schedule an administrative hearing in order to avoid suspension of their driver’s license. The hearing normally is held between four and six weeks after being scheduled. If the driver does not contact the MVA, the arrested individual’s license will be suspended as soon as the MVA receives the confiscated license.
The MVA hearing is conducted before an Administrative Law Judge employed by the Office of Administrative Hearings, not by the MVA. This process is to provide the accused with a fair and impartial hearing officer. Evidence against the accused is presented to the hearing officer, as is testimony from the arresting officer. However, the accused has a right to have Saint Mary’s County DUI lawyer represent them at the hearing, and present evidence in their defense. Witnesses are also permitted at the hearing. In St. Mary’s County, the MVA office is located at 27351 Point Lookout Road in Leonardtown, Maryland.
In addition to the administrative hearing required by MVA, anyone charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland faces criminal charges as well. A first offense DUI or DWI case is considered a misdemeanor in Maryland, but that does not mean there are not serious consequences. A first-time conviction can bring a jail sentence of up to two months for DWI and one year for DUI. In addition to jail time, fines for a first offense DWI are up to $500, while DUI carries fines up to $1,000. The presence of a minor passenger in the vehicle may double those fines.
Restricted License and Alcohol Treatment
Maryland law allows eligible drivers to obtain a restricted license, which allows them to drive only under certain circumstances (for example, to drive only to work). However, the ALJ may require the driver to attend a state-approved alcohol education program prior to issuing a restricted license. The course may also be required in order to have a suspended license reinstated. The District Court of St. Mary’s County hears cases involving DUI and DWI. The court is located at 41605 Courthouse Drive in Leonardtown, Maryland. Click the below link for more information on the court.
If you have been arrested for DUI or DWI in St. Mary’s County, it is important to contact an experienced Saint Mary’s County DUI lawyer who understands the laws of Maryland regarding MVA administrative hearings, as well as criminal cases heard in the Circuit Court of St. Mary’s County. Contact us by phone or online today for a free case consultation.