Harford County DWI Lawyer
Maryland is known as being extremely strict when it comes to motor vehicle violations and penalties. If you are facing charges in Harford County for driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both alcohol and drugs (DWI), a Harford County DWI lawyer can help. We offer solid experience in DUI and DWI cases in Harford County and beyond, as well as extensive knowledge of the state of Maryland’s specific laws, regulations, and sentences.
Harford County DWI Lawyers Can Help
In this article, we are focusing on DWI offenses and penalties. What constitutes a DWI, as well as how a DWI differs from a DUI is important. The state of Maryland defines operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher as a DUI. A DWI, on the other hand, is defined as operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.07-0.08. In addition, a BAC of 0.05 to 0.07 could constitute a DWI, depending on other relevant factors, although the BAC alone cannot be used to presume a DWI offense. A BAC lower than 0.05 will not result in a DWI offense, but even a BAC in this lower range can become an issue if you have been convicted of any DUI or DWI before, or if you are under 21.
The DWI label also encompasses a broader range of possible violations than a DUI. Specifically, a DUI usually refers to driving while under the influence of alcohol. A DWI can indeed be based on BAC content, but, as its full title implies, possible DWI offenses also include driving while impaired by drugs. There is even a provision that applies DWI penalties to anyone operating a vehicle while impaired by any “controlled dangerous substance,” even though the substance itself may not be illegal. The law does include a provision taking into account a driver who is entitled to use the controlled substance.
How does Harford County Treat DWI Charges?
With a population of more than 240,000, Harford County is the seventh-largest county in the state of Maryland. In 2010, more than 900 arrests were made for either DUI or DWI in Harford County, a fairly low number in comparison to statistics from the rest of the state. However, more than half those cases resulted in a guilty verdict–a very high percentage when compared to tatistics from other Maryland counties. These facts underscore the importance of hiring a Harford County DWI lawyer when facing a DUI or DWI charge in Harford County.
What are the possible penalties for a DWI conviction in Maryland?
Many factors play into a final court decision and sentence, including prior history and previous convictions, but even for a first DWI offense mandatory penalties include a jail sentence of up to two months and a maximum fine of $500. These fines and penalties increase in severity if you are a repeat offender, with a possible jail sentence of up to one year and/or a fine as high as $500.
If you are convicted of driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance, you face a maximum jail sentence of one year and/or fine up to $1,000, even with no prior DWI violations.
Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) may also impose penalties for driving while impaired, including suspensions of the offender’s operator’s license and enrollment in treatment and/or prevention programs. Any DWI violations, whether for alcohol, drugs, or controlled dangerous substances, carry much stricter penalties if one or more minors are present in the vehicle at the time of the violation. Previous convictions for drunk driving or driving while impaired also lead to stiffer penalties for a repeat violation.
If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated in Harford County, you should consult with a Harford DWI lawyer to discuss your options.