Howard County DUI Attorney
Receiving a charge of driving under the influence or driving while impaired in Howard County, MD can be a horrific experience, regardless of whether it is a first offense or not. You can suffer dire personal and professional consequences – even before you appear in court – without the aid of an experienced Howard County DUI lawyer to guide you through these trying times. Should you ever be stopped, arrested, and/or charged with a DUI in the area, know what you should expect and how law enforcement will conduct the process.
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- What to Expect Following An Arrest
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Howard County DUI Lawyers Handle These Cases
In Maryland, there are different types of “drunk driving” offenses:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI)
- Driving while under the influence and under the age of 21
- Driving while impaired by alcohol (DWI)
- Driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcohol (DWI)
- Driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substance (DWI)
Consequences of a Howard County DUI
Fighting a DUI/DWI charge is often complicated. It may not be clear what your next step should be. A Howard County DUI lawyer can discuss your options with you and help you make an informed decision.
The legal limit for intoxication in the state of Maryland is 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). For many, only a couple of drinks can propel them close to that level. If you are a Maryland Driver’s License holder, your license will be seized and a temporary 45-day license will be issued, providing you with as little as a 10-day window for you or your attorney to request a hearing with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MVA) Office of Administrative Hearings, where you will have a hearing for the issuance of a restricted license, allowing you to drive to and from work and school. Without that hearing, or if your request is too late, your license will be suspended on the 46th day following your DUI/DWI stop.
If you were pulled over on suspicion of DWI/DUI, get asked to perform field sobriety tests, and do not submit to a breathalyzer test, your Maryland license will be automatically confiscated and suspended for 120 days, regardless of the MVA hearing or you can opt into an Ignition Interlock Program.
The MVA also keeps a record of all demerit driving points of those who are licensed to drive in the state. Each offense is assigned a value of one to 12 points. Some offenses, like leaving the scene of an injury accident, driving on a suspended license or driving without insurance, carry the maximum of 12 points, while those such as reckless driving or aggressive driving are worth five. DWI and DUI convictions can carry as many as twelve points, which is the level where the MVA can restrict or suspend your license. If you accumulate more than 12, your license can be revoked.
Additionally, if you’ve already been charged with at least one DUI in Howard County, chances are that local law enforcement will not take subsequent offenses lightly. Know how they handle and treat multiple offenses to understand how to better defend your case.
MVA Pre-trial Sanctions in Howard County
The legal and financial consequences are still potentially very serious for those convicted of DUI or DWI. Repeat violators – both alcohol- and drug-related driving offenses – can pay higher fines and incur even more jail time. The penalties are generally the same for minor drivers (under 21 with over .02 percent BAC) and commercial vehicle operators (0.04 percent).
Mandatory penalties upon conviction for DUI/DWI in Maryland can include:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) – A conviction for a first offense DUI is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in county jail (or prison in some cases). A second offense may carry a sentence of up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000. A third conviction carries up to three years in prison and/or a fine up to $3,000.
- Driving while impaired by alcohol; .04-.07 BAC (DWI) – This carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.
If an individual has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol within five years of having been convicted of any drunk driving-related violation, then he or she must receive a comprehensive alcohol abuse assessment and, if recommended at the end of the assessment, the court can order the offender to participate in an alcohol program.
- Driving while impaired by alcohol and drugs or controlled dangerous substances (DWI) – This carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.
- Driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substance (DWI) A first offense can bring a sentence of up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. A second conviction (which can also include a DWI) calls for a $2,000 fine and two years in prison. A third offense can land the convicted person in prison for three years and bring a fine of up to $3,000.
That’s not all. For all DUI offenses, if a minor is in the vehicle, the prison sentences and fines are raised by one year and $1,000 for each repeat offense, up to a limit of four years’ incarceration and $4,000. All DUI drug offenses can subject the accused to drug possession charges if they are found to be in possession. Depending on the amount and type drugs in question, the penalty and prison time you could serve if convicted are added to those above. And if you’re carrying serious amounts or types of drugs in your vehicle, if it’s felony possession, a DUI penalty could pale in comparison to the drug conviction that’s folded into your DUI.
How a Howard County DUI Lawyer Can Help
If you have been pulled over and charged with drunk driving, be it DUI/DWI or any other criminal violation, the Howard County DUI lawyers with our firm have the experience to represent you and obtain a favorable outcome relative to the circumstances of your case. There is sometimes a possibility to fight a DUI charge, and an attorney can also fight effectively for your driving rights at MVA hearings, helping keep your demerit points to a minimum. Call today for your free consultation.