When facing charges of driving while under the influence, you no doubt have a lot of questions. While I would be happy to answer them during a free consultation on your case, you may find some answers here as well.
What’s the difference between a DUI and a DWI?
Not all states have separate DUI and DWI charges. Maryland is unique in this way. Both charges are quite different and can result in different penalties.
Usually defendants are given citations for both DWI and DUI when they are arrested. The State usually proceeds on a DWI if there is no breath result, or a breath result of .07 to .08. However, if there is a breath result of .08 or higher, the State usually proceeds on the DUI charge.
A DUI is the more serious charge. Driving Under the Influence of alcohol is the basic drunk driving charge in our state. You may face this charge if you are found to have a blood alcohol level that is .08% or higher.
A DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated and is slightly less serious than the DUI. DWI is the charge that applies when you are under the .08% legal limit but are still considered impaired.
The penalties for these charges differ as well. With a DUI you could face up to a year in jail while a DWI has a maximum penalty of 2 months. Your fine and driver’s license suspension will also be greater with the DUI charge.
For additional information on DUI and DWI charges and their potential sentences, take a look at the DUI/DWI Penalties page.
What happens if I refuse to take the breath test?
Many people think this is a good idea. Refusing a breath test can have negative effects, however, if you are later found to have actually been intoxicated. Under Maryland law, if you refuse your breath test, you may be sentenced to an additional $500 in fines and 2 months in jail.
In addition to the increased penalty, the refusal may look bad to the court. Being uncooperative with a drunk driving investigation can color a judge’s opinion on your willingness to do right.
Will I lose my Driver’s License after a DUI/DWI Arrest?
Typically, following a DUI arrest, you are given a temporary license to drive for the next 45 days. At that time you have 10 days to schedule a hearing with the MVA to schedule a hearing with the MVA to attempt to maintain your driving priviledges. If you do not request the hearing within 10 days, your license will be suspended on the 46th day following your arrest. This is why it is crucial you immediately contact an attorney to help with this and your criminal charges.
All DUI and DWI offenses add points to your license. The accumulation of points can have a range of effects, including the inability to get car insurance. To help make sense of the point system and your period of revocation, call me today.
Will I have to serve jail time for a DUI / DWI in Maryland?
Both DUI and DWI charges carry the potential for jail time. If this is your first offense, however, you will likely be able to complete your sentence without having to spend additional time in jail.
As your convictions for drunk driving offenses mount, however, the likelihood that you will have to spend some time behind bars also increases. As stated, it’s possible to spend up to 1 year in jail for a DUI charge. It’s possible, though not likely.
What are my chances of Getting Probation Before Judgment?
A Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) is a unique second chance opportunity that the Maryland courts grant to some defendants. It entails the judge striking the guilty verdict and serving a period of probation. If sucessful during this period, the points will never be assessed to your license.
The best candidates for a PBJ are those without a criminal background. If this is your first charge, your chance of getting a PBJ is quite good. If, after looking at your case, we determine this is a good option for you, I will advocate for this on your behalf.
Do I need an Attorney for DUI Charge?
The fast answer is no, you don’t absolutely have to have a defense attorney. However, people rarely move forward with criminal charges without one.
Having a defense attorney on your side ensures you have the legal knowledge and skills to correctly defend yourself in a court of law. Having an attorney is a right written into the Constitution precisely because it is so useful.
When it seems as if the criminal courts of Maryland or the District of Columbia are against you, having an advocate on your side with knowledge of the system can be a great reassurance.
Call For a Legal Consultation on Any Drunk Driving Charges in Maryland
Maryland Drunk driving cases can be beaten! To find out what I can do to help you protect your rights and freedom to drive, call (888) 452-4344.
Call me at (888) 452-4344 for my legal opinion on a defense of your arrest. My case evaluation is free.