JD James

& Associates, P.C.

The Law – DUIs and DWIs

 

In the State of Maryland, drinking and driving is a criminal misdemeanor offense.  Therefore, if you are drinking and driving, you are potentially subject to the imposition of fines, arrest, loss of driving privileges and/or jail.  

 

** The following information is intended as a basic discussion of rules associated with drinking and driving in Maryland, but is not a full recitation of the law.  For specific information pertaining to your situation, please contact an attorney directly as soon as possible as time is of the essence. **

 

Maryland Transportation Section 11-174.1 provides for two types of offenses, specifically Driving While Under The Influence (DUI) and Driving While Impaired (DWI). 

 

A DUI in Maryland is based on a blood concentration of .08 or higher.  In this case, a driver is legally assumed to be under the influence.  In addition, if you are under 21, any alcohol in your system is considered a violation of the law and will result in a DUI.  A driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .07 is  considered to be impaired and will be charged with DWI.  

 

Furthermore, impairment extends to the use of drugs, including decriminalized or legalized drugs and/or controlled substances such that driving while using or impaired by use is illegal.

 

MVA Hearing For License Suspension

 

A driver who has been charged with DUI or DWI has the right to request a hearing to review license suspension from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).

 

This hearing must be requested within 30 days of the traffic stop.  To make sure your license is not suspended prior to the hearing, you must send your request within 10 days of the traffic stop.  If your request is postmarked after the 30th day following the traffic stop, the hearing request will be denied.  If the hearing request is sent within 30 days, but not within 10 days, the suspension will automatically begin on the 46th day after the traffic stop.  If you do not request a hearing, the suspension will automatically begin on the 46th day.

 

If you are issued a temporary license by a police officer at the traffic stop, a request for a MVA hearing made after the 10 days does not extend the temporary license.

 

Commercial License Driver (CDL) holders may face different penalties.

 

The MVA will only consider the following facts at the hearing:

  1. Whether the police officer who stops or detains a person had reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol, while impaired by alcohol, while so far impaired by any drug, any combination of drugs, or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol that the person could not drive a vehicle safely, while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance, in violation of an alcohol restriction, or in violation of § 16-813;

  2. Whether there was evidence of the use by the person of alcohol, any drug, any combination of drugs, a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol, or a controlled dangerous substance;

  3. Whether the police officer requested a test after the person was fully advised, as required under subsection (b)(2) of this section, of the administrative sanctions that shall be imposed;

  4. Whether the person refused to take the test;

  5. Whether the person drove or attempted to drive a motor vehicle while having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at the time of testing;

  6. Whether the person drove or attempted to drive a motor vehicle while having an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more at the time of testing;

  7. If the hearing involves disqualification of a commercial instructional permit or a commercial driver's license, whether the person was operating a commercial motor vehicle or held a commercial instructional permit or a commercial driver's license; or

  8. Whether the person was involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of another person.

  9. The sworn statement of the police officer and of the test technician or analyst shall be prima facie evidence of a test refusal, a test result indicating an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at the time of testing, or a test result indicating an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more at the time of testing.

                 - Maryland Transportation Section 16-205.1

 

Criminal Penalties

According to Maryland Transportation Section 21-902, 27-101, if you are arrested for DUI or DWI, you will be required to appear in court.  If you are found guilty, penalties include fines between $500 and 5,000 and or/ two months to five years in jail.  The punishment depends on a number of factors including the facts of your case and criminal background.  Prior DUI or DWI convictions require stricter penalties for repeat offenders.  Further, transporting a minor during the commission of a DUI or DWI offense substantially increases penalties.

 

Ignition Interlock Program

 

You may request to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program.  Under this program, a driver may only operate a motor vehicle with the interlock device installed.  The MVA monitors this program and more information can be found here: https://mva.maryland.gov/about-mva/Pages/info/26200/26200-14T.aspx