Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges should be taken very seriously. Here in Maryland, DUI/DWI is sometimes called the “homicide of the misdemeanor world” because the state assigns such severe punishment for it.
Few other crimes in Maryland’s district courts are so likely to send someone to jail, impact their work and personal life, and limit their ability to drive. If you’ve been charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland, you need excellent legal representation as soon as possible.
On this page, we’ll answer common questions about Maryland DUI and DWI cases. However, this is general information that may or may not apply to your case. For legal advice regarding your unique situation, please call us 24/7 at 410-753-4611 or schedule your free consultation online.
Maryland DUI And DWI FAQ
Losing your driver’s license depends on your circumstances and previous DUI/DWIs, but it’s likely to be temporarily revoked. A first-time DUI offender in Maryland usually receives 12 points on their license and six months of license revocation. A second-time offender faces a full year of license revocation or more depending on your circumstances and history.
Yes, you will most likely have to pay fines for your DUI. First-time offenders are usually assigned $1,000 in fines and repeat offenders may pay $2,000 or up to $5,000. Keep in mind that other financial penalties sometimes apply too. If you damaged someone’s property, you could owe payment that reimburses them for their losses.
There are various types of charges with various penalties. If you are found guilty of DUI, DUI Per Se, or DWI by Controlled Dangerous Substance, you could receive 12 points on your license and a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first offense, 2 years and $2,000 for a second offense, and 3 years and $3,000 for a third offense.
If found guilty of DWI by Alcohol or DWI by Alcohol and Drugs, you are more likely to receive 8 points on your license and a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail for a first offense and 1 year for any subsequent offense. As you can see, your penalties will come down to which precise charges you have, your history, and whether or not the judge assigns you the maximum penalty.
Yes, you can get a DUI if you’re underage in Maryland. You will likely face stiff penalties as the courts want to send you a message that prevents you from getting another DUI. Minors with DUI charges face the same legal consequences as adults, plus they receive strict restrictions from the Motor Vehicle Administration that may delay obtaining or keeping a driver’s license.
At Zirkin & Schmerling Law, our clients frequently need fast information about the steps to take immediately after a DUI arrest. That’s why we created the Roadmap for Your Maryland DUI/DWI Case. We encourage you to read the full roadmap for detailed insight into the steps that should happen after your arrest. A summary is below.
Roadmap for Your Maryland DUI/DWI Case:
- Day 1 – Roadside arrest – Ask to speak to your lawyer NOW!
- Day 1 – Police station – Ask to speak to your lawyer AGAIN!
- Day 1 – Formal charges
- Day 1 – Completing paperwork
- Initial bail hearing
- Bail review
- Motor Vehicle Administration hearing
- A trial date in the District Court
- A trial date in the Circuit Court
- Face your consequences and pay your penalties
In Maryland, you’re “under the influence per se” when you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater. Another variation is “driving while impaired” which involves a BAC of .07 or higher. Anyone under the age of 21 who drives with any amount of alcohol in their system can be charged with DUI. Drug impairment is not defined by BAC but is, broadly speaking, illegal.
When you’re found guilty of a Maryland DUI, you face two months to five years of jail time and up to $5,000 in fines. The variation depends on factors like your previous driving history, DUI history, and the circumstances of your current case. The punishment for DUI increases each time you have a subsequent conviction.
For example, if you are a repeat DUI offender who was arrested for a new DUI while transporting a minor child, your jail time could be five years plus an extension of several years or more for your compounding factors. DUI offenders tend to receive the maximum possible penalties when they put children at risk, hurt other people, cause catastrophic crashes, and continue to re-offend.
An ignition interlock device is like a breathalyzer that controls whether your car is operable or not. After a drunk driving conviction, the state of Maryland may require the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. You’ll have to blow into it before driving and during driving to allow your car to function.
People who are in drunk driving accidents are more likely to have severe injuries than those in other types of accidents. Drunk driving reduces the driver’s reaction time and contributes to injury-causing forces through speeding, colliding with other vehicles, hitting fixed objects, and dealing crushing blows to the body.
Among the most common drunk driving accident injuries are broken bones, spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), organ damage, deep lacerations, dismemberment, and amputation. Many of these injuries become permanent body damage.
There are several types of DUI hearings. Your initial bail hearing usually occurs within 24 hours of your arrest and establishes pretrial conditions. The next hearing is a bail review hearing to determine whether you will be released pending trial. Later, you’ll have a Motor Vehicle Administration hearing to decide how your case may impact your driver’s license and standing with the MVA.
Finally, a trial date will be set in district/circuit court and you’ll eventually learn the outcome of your case including penalties. At every hearing, you’re entitled to have an attorney present, so ensure you have a qualified Maryland DUI attorney there to help protect your rights.
Have a Legal Question? We Have Answers
When you need to learn more about your rights, the attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling Law can help. Contact us or call us at (410) 753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our experienced DUI and DWI lawyers today.