Fight a DUI/DWI in Maryland
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It’s scary for anyone to be taken into custody and charged with driving under the influence. The potential punishment of a conviction of an alcohol offense is enormous. Multiple DWI convictions can result in the revocation of your driver’s license. CDL license holders can even lose their license for the rest of their life.
There are seven basic alcohol-related offenses under the Maryland transportation article, including:
- Driving under the influence
- Driving under the influence per se
- Driving while impaired by alcohol
- Driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcohol
- Driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance
- Driving after an arrest for DUI or DWI
- Consumption of an alcoholic beverage while driving
DWI laws over the last several years have reached the epitome of strict law enforcement. State attorney, judges, and other agencies are really pressing down the hammer with first-time offenders, as well as multiple offenders.
If you’ve been charged with any kind alcohol-related driving offense, call the Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates at (443) 709-9999.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a very serious crime in Maryland. The courts have traditionally treat driving under the influence of alcohol differently than many other crimes. A DWI is treated as a lifelong offense.
The state attorney’s office will evaluate the nature and extent of the offense by determining:
- If there were any injuries involved
- The amount of drugs or alcohol consumed
- The extent of property damage involved in the situation
- Any property damage that has not been paid for by the perpetrator
- If there was any death or other serious injuries
- The BAC level registered by the defendant
- If the defendant refused to take a breathalyzer
- The cooperation of the defendant
- Whether or not the defendant is a multiple offender
- Any other criminal activities on the defendant’s record
The maximum penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol is one year in jail and a fine. If you were convicted of an alcohol-related offense in 1980 and receive your second offense in 2000, it’s duly noted by the state attorney’s office as a second offense. The time between the first and second offense matters, but the court will look at it as a second DWI no matter what.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se
This statutory charge occurs when the defendant takes the breathalyzer and their blood alcohol content (BAC) has a registered alcohol content level of .08 or more at the time of testing. The penalties involved are exactly the same as driving under the influence of alcohol. The prosecution attempts to show that because the defendant “per se” blew a BAC over .08, then the evidence speaks for itself.
Driving While Impaired
Driving while impaired is typically described as the lesser of the two categories of driving impaired. This typically means that the defendant was “less” unable to operate a vehicle then driving under the influence. Typically, this charge can occur with the BAC level of .04 through .08. The maximum penalty for driving while impaired is 60 days in jail and a fine.
Probation Before Judgement
If it is determined by a DWI lawyer that you cannot win your case, the next option is to try and obtain the probation before judgment (PBJ). Many times, a judge will offer a first-time defendant probation before judgment if they show that they took this charge very seriously. Probation before judgment is not a conviction, instead, the court will strike the conviction before entering it on the official record. An individual who receives probation before judgment can honestly say they have never been convicted of a crime.
What Happens When You’re Stopped by a Police Officer?
Typically, an officer will approach the vehicle. They usually already suspect that individual has been operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. As soon as the officer approaches the vehicle window, they will indicate that they smelled the odor of alcohol. They will ask the driver to exit the vehicle and to perform field sobriety tests.
These tests include but are not limited to:
- Leg stand test
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus
- Walk and turn test
Even though you may believe that you did well on these tests, the officer will find some sort of problem. Thankfully, the field sobriety tests are nationalized exams and a good Baltimore DUI defense lawyer can cross-examine an officer to determine whether or not the defendant completed the test properly.
A police officer will also offer a preliminary breath test at the scene to determine if there is alcohol in the bloodstream of the defendant. If you refuse the temporary test, it is not held against you but the officer will usually make note of the refusal. After the testing, the officer will usually arrest the individual and take them back to the station. That is when breathalyzer is completed.
Administrative Courts & Consequences
You have the criminal DWI case, but there is also the administrative case. With the advent of the new administrative sanctions in Maryland, every driver who has a BAC level over .08 or refuses to take the BAC test must have an Intoximeter placed in their vehicle.
An individual who has a CDL license will face much stricter and tougher consequences than someone who has a regular class C license in Baltimore. However, there is no doubt that the legislature is creating much tighter rules and regulations regarding anyone who has a DWI. Not only are they costly and expensive, it could put you in a situation where you have no ability to drive.
The administrative court is held separately from the criminal court. There are very strict time requirements as far as requesting a hearing in these situations. Failure to do so on time may prohibit an individual from obtaining the relief they need regarding retaining their driver’s license.
Call a DWI Lawyer in Maryland to Stand Up for Your Rights
It is extremely important that your defense lawyer understand how to prepare for these cases. Probable cause is a big issue used to sometimes beat the case. Our firm encourages clients to complete an alcohol-related class. When it comes to using every tool in our arsenal, the Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates is determined to secure the best