Maryland driving while impaired by alcohol (DWI) charges are punishable by up to two months in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense. Even though driving while impaired by alcohol (DWI) is the lesser offense of the typical Maryland drunk driving charges, it carries a possible jail term and can also affect your license status, leading to a suspension or worse if not handled properly. You may also be charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol or driving while under the influence of alcohol per se, other related and somewhat more serious charges that you may also have been ticketed for.
If you are reading this, you are already taking the first necessary step. As your lawyer, I can take immediate steps to defend your freedom and your license against these serious charges.
A Maryland Driving While Impaired by Alcohol charge alleges that you drove while your normal coordination was impaired to some degree by alcohol. A substantial degree of impairment is not required as it is in Maryland driving under the influence charges, which is to say you do not have to be very drunk to be drunk enough to violate this law, you just need to have your normal coordination impaired to some degree. Many jurisdictions do not have laws that prohibit even minor impairment like Maryland’s driving while impaired law does. You may be too drunk to drive in Maryland even if you would not be too drunk to drive in some other jurisdiction.
In order to punish you for a Maryland driving while impaired by alcohol offense, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving, moving, operating, or actual physical control of a vehicle and that your normal reactions are impaired to some degree by alcohol. You can violate the law even if you were attempting to drive the vehicle, or even just exercising control over the vehicle without actually driving it. It is possible to be convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol even when the car is stopped and in park, depending on the surrounding circumstances.
Staying out of Jail
Before you can go to jail, or be sentenced at all, the State has to be able to prove that you are in fact guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, either by producing evidence and live witness testimony in court, or by inducing you to plea guilty in return for some form of consideration. Depending on your case, I may be able to win at trial, resulting in an acquittal on all or some of the charges, or reach a favorable plea bargain. I can help you evaluate your chances and achieve a favorable outcome whichever way you choose to proceed.
Subsequent convictions can result in mandatory minimum jail sentences, depending on how many prior convictions you have for driving while impaired by alcohol or driving while under the influence of alcohol. These can sometimes effectively be avoided, even though the law makes them mandatory. Just because you have a prior offense does not mean that there was necessarily a prior conviction. The court may have imposed a sentence of probation before judgment, which is not a conviction. Even when a mandatory minimum sentence is authorized by the law, I may be able to avoid that mandatory minimum sentence in your case depending on the circumstances.
Contacting me is the first step to protecting your rights, your freedom, and your license. I can almost always keep a first time offender out of jail, and I can usually accomplish that even if the blow is impressively high or there are bad circumstances involved in the case. Second time offenders and more can still often be kept out of jail, but it gets progressively harder to accomplish as your record gets worse. While my office is in Montgomery County in Rockville, I practice in counties all over Maryland, and I am familiar with their practices. Some counties and judges are tougher on sentencing than others, and some are more or less likely to find you guilty after a trial, or to require an ignition interlock. I can make a big difference for you in these cases, even if you do not want to have a trial. You will need my help to get the best results.
Keeping Your Maryland Driver’s License
If you refused to take a breath test at the police station, or if you did take a test and blew a .08 or above, the MVA will try to suspend your license for some duration, and/or require an interlock. I can usually help you avoid the suspension, by having it reduced, modified, or eliminated entirely, depending on the case. If you blew a .08 or refused the test, you have also probably been charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and driving while under the influence of alcohol per se.
If the only offense you are charged with is driving while impaired, and you are not also charged with driving under the influence or driving under the influence per se, it probably means that you took a test and blew something below a .08. If you take the test in the police station and blow less than a .08, the MVA will not take any action against your license unless the court finds you guilty rather than granting you a disposition of probation before judgment. Sometimes the court is willing to grant probation before judgment later, and I can sometimes delay the MVA in those cases until you are no longer guilty. If you are found guilty, the MVA will attempt to suspend your license, and notify you of your right to request a hearing. I can also represent you at that hearing and I can help mitigate or eliminate any penalties at that hearing.
Call (301) 556-8709 today, because your freedom, your record, and your right to drive are important.