DUI Attorneys Serving Millersville, Maryland
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, also called driving while impaired, driving while intoxicated, and drunk driving is responsible for scores of traffic fatalities and injuries each year. According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, alcohol-related crashes were to blame for over 17,000 deaths in 2006 alone. State and federal legislatures enact laws to prevent the many injuries and deaths that result from alcohol-related crashes. In their zeal to eradicate drunk driving, organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have pushed many states to enact tough laws that impose even tougher penalties for driving under the influence. In Maryland, you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) if you are driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, or both. “Actual physical control” means that you don’t have to actually be driving the vehicle to be charged with DUI or DWI. In fact, the car does not even have to be running for you to be deemed in actual physical control of it. If you are charged with DUI or DWI, you face stiff penalties, including suspension of your driving privileges, exorbitant fines, and even jail time.
Maryland’s DUI laws create a presumption that you are driving while under the influence of or impaired by alcohol if a breath or blood test indicates that you have a certain level of alcohol in your blood. That threshold level is .07% for DWI and .08% for DUI. The prosecuting attorney only has to demonstrate that a test indicated that you were over the “legal limit” in order to prove you are guilty of DUI or DWI. Once this is established, the burden then shifts to you to prove that you were not under the influence of alcohol. You may do this by introducing evidence of your own, such as proof that the chemical test was inaccurate or the machine was faulty, the results of an independent chemical test of your blood alcohol concentration, or witness testimony that rebuts the presumption that you drove under the influence of alcohol.
For more information on DUI/DWI, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking and talk to Arnold F. Phillips by calling today. We serve the areas of Millersville, Cumberland, McHenry, Garrett County, and Allegany County, Maryland.
The penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances in Maryland are severe. If you have been arrested for DUI or DWI, you face suspension of your driving privileges, excessive fines, points on your motor vehicle record, probation, and even jail time. A conviction for DUI or DWI can also carry with it other penalties as well, such as increases in your insurance premiums, loss of professional licenses, and loss of future employment or other opportunities due to your criminal record. In some cases, you may risk a complete loss of your insurance coverage as well.
Suspension of License
At your administrative hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), a judge will determine the length of time for which your license will be suspended. The OAH then notifies the MVA, who updates your motor vehicle record (MVR) accordingly. The following table lists the statutory guidelines for suspensions of driving privileges that the judge must follow.
DWI .07 – .08 %
Up to 60 days
Up to 1 year
DUI .08 – .15 %
Extreme DUI .15 % or higher
Refusal to submit to a chemical test
In addition to the suspension of your driving privileges, you may also receive points on your Motor Vehicle Record (MVR). For DUI (.08% BAC or higher), you face a penalty of 12 points on your MVR. For DWI (.07% to .08% BAC), you face a penalty of 8 points on your MVR. Excessive points on your MVR may result in suspension or revocation of your driving privileges. Many first-time offenders may be able to avoid these added points to their records or achieve restricted driving privileges, which allow you to travel to work or install an interlock system in your vehicle.
An interlock device is a machine that is installed in your vehicle by a licensed automotive shop. The interlock device requires you to blow into the machine in order to test your breath for the presence of alcohol before you start your ignition. In addition, the machine will signal for you to blow into the device periodically while your vehicle is in operation. If alcohol is detected, the ignition will shut down. For refusal to submit to a breath test, you may be able to avoid suspension of your license if you agree to install an interlock device on your vehicle for a minimum of 1 year. The device will cost you an installation fee, plus around $70 per month to operate. Therefore, you must decide whether you would prefer to lose your license for 120 days or pay to have the device installed for 1 year. In making this decision, it is important to note that if the interlock device detects alcohol on your breath even once, the MVA may suspend your license for 120 days anyway.
In addition to the suspension of your driver’s license and points on your motor vehicle record, you also face stiff criminal penalties, including jail time and fines. The following table lists the criminal sanctions you may face for a DUI or DWI conviction.
DUI (.08 % or higher)
DWI (.07% to .08%)
Criminal penalties for DUI or DWI in Maryland are severe. For first-time offenders, sentencing judges may sometimes order a probationary period in lieu of jail time (see “Probation Before Judgment” section below). If you have been arrested for DUI or DWI, you should consult an experienced DUI attorney who can fight to reduce your criminal penalties.
Probation Before Judgment
It is possible for first-time offenders to avoid many of the harsh penalties that accompany a DUI or DWI conviction by receiving probation before judgment (PBJ). A PBJ is not a guilty verdict. In fact, it is neither a guilty nor a not guilty verdict. As such, it cannot be used against you in a later DUI or DWI proceeding. If the judge orders a PBJ, you may avoid the points on your license, fine, and jail sentence that are typically imposed if you are found guilty of DUI. Therefore, if you are a first-time offender or it has been a significant period of time since a prior DUI offense, you may wish to seek a PBJ. A judge is prohibited from ordering a PBJ if you have received probation before judgment within the past 5 years. A judge will order you to take some form of alcohol education or awareness classes if a PBJ is granted. Therefore, when seeking one, it is a good idea to complete alcohol education courses before your trial date in an attempt to gain the judge’s goodwill.
For more information on Penalties In Maryland, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking and talk to Arnold F. Phillips by calling today. We serve the areas of Millersville, Cumberland, McHenry, Garrett County, and Allegany County, Maryland.