Maryland DUI Law can be found in the Md. Transportation Code Ann. § 21-902. In Maryland there are three types of drunk driving laws: DUI (Driving Under the Influence), DUI per se, and DWI (Driving While Impaired). You can be charged with a DWI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is between .04 and .07 percent, irrespective of your actual ability to drive a car. Often, people who have a low BAC, but fail the field sobriety test are charged with DWI. To be charged with a DUI per se, your blood alcohol content must be .08 percent or higher. Both DUIs and DWIs are very serious offenses.
Can I refuse to take the breathalyzer?
In Maryland you are always allowed to refuse the breath tests offered; however, there can be serious consequences related to your driving privileges.
The two breath tests offered in Maryland related to a DUI/DWI are the preliminary breath test (PBT) and the chemical breath test. Typically the PBT is offered on the side of the road when the officer is trying to determine if he/she has probable cause to arrest you. Usually the chemical breath test is offered back at the police barracks after you have been arrested for a DUI/DWI.
Once again, you can refuse to take both tests. Should you refuse to take the preliminary breath test there is no immediate affect to your license. If you refuse to take the chemical breath test you license will automatically be suspended for 120 days for a first offense. If you refuse to take the chemical breath test a second time your license is suspended for one year. Once you have refused to take the test the only option you would have to keep your license would be to opt into the ignition interlock program. This would allow you to keep your license, but you would have to have an ignition interlock on your vehicle for one year.
What are the penalties for drunk driving in Maryland?
There are two types of penalties you can be subject to for driving drunk in Maryland: Administrative and Criminal. An administrative penalty deals strictly with your license. There is no possible jail time or monetary fine to pay. A criminal penalty on the other hand, includes jail time and monetary fines. You can expect to be subject to both types of penalties if you are convicted of drunk driving in Maryland.
If you are convicted of a DUI, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration will assess 12 points to your driving record. . This may result in having your license and driving privileged revoked. If you are convicted of a DWI, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration will assesseight points to your driving record. . Often, a DWI conviction will cause your license to be suspended. If you are convicted of drunk driving in Maryland, a judge may also require you to install an ignition interlock device in your car as a condition of having your license reinstated. Administrative penalties are more severe for repeat offenders.
You have the right to request a hearing before an administrative law judge, where you can argue your case to keep your license from being suspended or revoked. Time is of the essence, and you must request this hearing almost immediately after the issuance of the Order of Suspension. An attorney can be instrumental in helping you keep your driving privileges.
There is no mandatory jail time for your first DUI/DWI in Maryland. However, you may be sentenced for up to two months in jail at the judge’s discretion for your first DWI. You may be sentenced for up to a year in jail upon conviction of a first DUI. This is in addition to any fines and other penalties such as the imposition of the ignition interlock.
Subsequent offenders will face the possibility of additional time in jail.Under Maryland law, a person may receive a Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) for their DWI/DUI. Technically, a PBJ is not a conviction. Should you receive a PBJ, no points will be assessed to your license. Under Maryland law, an individual is not eligible for a PBJ if they have received a PBJ within a ten year period of time.
An attorney is instrumental in helping you with your DUI/DWI case. For more information about Maryland DWI and DUI law, Contact the experienced attorneys at the Zirkin and Schmerling Law.