In Maryland, all drunk driving charges are serious. DUI and DWI are both jailable offenses, and they can both lead to your license being suspended or revoked, even for a first offense. I have helped many people successfully navigate these charges without going to jail or losing their license, and I can also help you. You don’t have to plead guilty. I have beaten field sobriety tests, I have caused MVA cases to be thrown out, and I have made judges disbelieve the testimony of police officers. I know the law inside and out and I know the strategies that can make your case a winner. Call me now at (301) 556-8709 so that we can start making your case a success.
One Incident, Two Cases
A Maryland drunk driving case has two major aspects that proceed simultaneously. The first aspect of your case is your upcoming trial on the criminal charges of Driving Under the Influence (DUI, TA 21-902(a)) or Driving While Impaired (DWI, TA 21-902(b)), where you go before a judge on your trial date, and you could potentially be sent to jail.
The second aspect of your Maryland DUI or DWI case is your administrative case. There are Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) hearings and administrative penalties for DUI breath test results and breath test refusals. Your Maryland MVA administrative case decides whether your driver’s license should be suspended or revoked, but cannot result in imprisonment. If you value your ability to drive, your administrative case may be as important or even more important than your criminal DUI charges.
Even though the MVA is primarily about your license and the court is primarily about your freedom, both the court and the MVA can require you to put an interlock on your car, or require an alcohol restriction on your license. Changes in the law in the last few years have made ignition interlocks a more common issue, expanding participation requirements for the ignition interlock program.
Your criminal DUI charges in court and your administrative case at the Maryland MVA are separate proceedings, though they can sometimes affect each other. It is possible to win one and lose the other even when the facts and issues are similar.
I take a holistic approach to each DUI or DWI case, handling both your criminal charges and any related MVA hearings as part of a coordinated strategy suited to your particular needs.
If you are charged with a Maryland DUI or a Maryland DWI, please call me today at (301) 556-8709.
Maryland DUI and DWI Criminal Penalties
Separate from the potential effect on your driver’s license at the Maryland MVA, Maryland DUI charges also carry significant criminal penalties. The maximum penalties below may seem daunting, but remember that I can help you avoid many or all of these consequences. While I will be able to give you a much more specific idea of what will happen after I am acquainted with the facts of your particular drunk driving case, without any additional aggravating circumstance, imprisonment for a first offense is unlikely.
Maryland Penalties for Conviction of DUI (TA 21-902(a) Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol) or a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS)
- No previous DUI or DWI offenses: 1 year, $1,000, 12 points
- One previous DUI or DWI: 2 years, $2,000, 12 points, mandatory minimum of 5 days if there is one previous DUI conviction within 5 years
- Two or more previous DUI or DWI: 3 years, $3,000, 12 points, mandatory minimum of 10 days if there are two previous DUI convictions within 5 years
- DUI while transporting a minor: 2 years, $2,000, 12 points
- DUI while transporting a minor, second offense: 3 years, $3,000, 12 points, mandatory minimum of 5 days if the previous conviction was within 5 years
- DUI while transporting a minor, third or subsequent offense: 4 years, $4,000, 12 points, mandatory minimum of 10 days if there are two previous convictions within 5 years
Maryland Penalties for Conviction of DWI (TA 21-902(b) Driving While Impaired by Alcohol) or a Combination of Drugs and Alcohol
- DWI with no previous DUI or DWI convictions: 2 months, $500, 8 points
- DWI with at least one previous DUI or DWI conviction: 1 year, $500, 8 points
- DWI while transporting a minor, no previous DUI or DWI convictions: 1 year, $1,000, 8 points
- DWI while transporting a minor, second or subsequent DUI or DWI conviction: 2 years, $2,000, 8 points
Maryland Penalty Enhancement for Refusing a Breath Test in Connection with a DUI or DWI Conviction
- Refusing a breath test related to a Maryland DUI or DWI conviction : up to 2 months and $500 added to the maximum penalties listed above
If you plead guilty or are found guilty by the court, the judge will either enter a conviction, or enter a finding of Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) without entering a conviction. If a conviction is entered, there may be another administrative proceeding separate from the first administrative proceeding. The first administrative proceeding is about the DUI breath test or a refusal of the test, and happens in almost every case. The second set of administrative proceedings only occur if a judgment of conviction is entered, and they concern penalties for your criminal conviction of DUI or DWI, where the MVA may act on the conviction and the points assessed against you, plus any other points that you may have accumulated in the last two years, and may suspend or revoke your license. As in the first proceeding, we can request a hearing, where I can argue for a lesser penalty, or for no penalty at all.
After conviction for a Maryland drunk driving or drugged driving offense, there are often a variety of reasons that the MVA can revoke or suspend your license, each of which may have its own proceeding associated with it. These proceedings are sometimes consolidated into a single proceeding. Even though there may be multiple different reasons that your license may be suspended or revoked, these penalties often run concurrently, which effectively means that only the more severe penalty applies.
Maryland MVA Post Conviction DUI and DWI Maximum Penalties
Maryland MVA Penalties for DUI Conviction
- No prior convictions: License Revocation
- One or more prior DWI convictions within 5 years: License Revocation and/or 1 Year Suspension
- One or more prior DUI convictions within 5 years: License Revocation and/or 1 Year Suspension, 45 Day Minimum Suspension
Maryland MVA Penalties for DWI Conviction
- No prior DUI or DWI convictions: 60 Day License Suspension
- One or more prior DUI or DWI convictions within 5 years: 1 Year License Suspension
- Two or more prior DUI or DWI convictions within 3 years: License Revocation
Maryland MVA Penalties for DUI or DWI Conviction of a Driver Under 21 at the Time of the Incident
- No prior DUI or DWI convictions: 1 Year License Suspension
- One or more prior DUI or DWI convictions: 2 Year License Suspension
Maryland MVA Penalties for Points (If you are convicted in court, 8 or 12 points will be assessed against your license, which the MVA will act upon)
- 8 or more points: License Suspension
- 12 or more points: License Revocation
No matter how bad the situation seems, there are things that I can do as your lawyer to improve your chances.
The police have to follow many detailed and complex rules at every step of your encounter with them, and they almost never follow all of them correctly. There are also many medical conditions and prior events that can affect your performance on the tests. Any of these could allow you to keep your license, or save you from a conviction that may follow you for the rest of your life.
Starting at the initial consultation, I will take the time to find every bit of information that could help you walk away from your case unscathed. Expect to spend at least an hour speaking with me at the beginning of your case, and more later.
Some people delay because their trial date is far in the future, but in a Maryland DUI or DWI case, you can lose your license long before your trial ever starts. Please contact me as soon as possible after your arrest. The MVA can independently take your license away from you based on a test or a refusal alone. You can request an MVA hearing soon after your arrest, and there are also other alternatives to suspension, but the deadlines come quickly and you will need legal advice to decide the best course of action.
MVA License Suspension Hearings for Maryland DUI and DWI Breath Tests and Refusals
After you are arrested for DUI or DWI, a police officer will offer you a breath test, or occasionally a blood test. If you take a test with a result of .08 or above, or if the police believe that you refused to take a test, the MVA will try to suspend your license to drive. These administrative suspensions can occur even if you are not convicted of DUI or DWI, and can apply even if you are never charged with a crime.
Maryland MVA Administrative Penalties for Maryland DUI and DWI Breath Tests and Refusals
- Breath test refusal: 270 day license suspension for a first offense, two years for a subsequent offense
- Breath test > .08, but less than .15: 180 day license suspension for a first offense, 180 day suspension for a subsequent offense
- Breath test > .08, but less than .15 (accident resulting in death): 6 month license suspension for a first offense, 1 year suspension for a subsequent offense
- Breath test > .15: 180 day suspension for a first offense, 270 days for a subsequent offense
- Breath test > .15 (accident resulting in death): 1 year suspension for a first offense, 2 years for a subsequent offense
You need to specifically request an MVA hearing if you want one. If you do not, your license will be automatically suspended after a certain number of days. At the MVA hearing, I can contest the evidence against you, ask the MVA not to impose a penalty, or ask the MVA to impose a lesser penalty.
Depending on your situation, your prior offenses, and your priorities, you may be better off not requesting an MVA hearing. The decision to request an MVA hearing or to choose another alternative is important, with many long term consequences. The decision must be made quickly, and it requires my expert advice.
It is essential that you speak to me about your DUI or DWI case as soon as possible after the incident. While you have up to 30 days to request an MVA hearing, an MVA hearing should be requested within 10 days after the incident if at all possible, as otherwise the MVA may suspend your license while you are waiting for a hearing date. You will also need time to consult with me and make a decision, and extra time may also be required for certain other important requests that should be delivered to the MVA before the 10-day deadline.
Even if you are not concerned about protecting your driver’s license, you should contact me as soon as possible after your DUI arrest, as there are court deadlines before your trial date which, if ignored, will result in the loss of important rights.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI or DWI in Maryland, call (301) 556-8709 today so that we can start making your case a success.