DUI Arrest in Maryland
In Maryland there are very strict laws in place against drunk driving and driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Specifically, the blood alcohol limit for a driver over the age of 21 is .08% BAC (Blood alcohol content). For those under the legal drinking age, the legal blood alcohol limit drops to just .02% BAC which is the equivalent of one drink. One reason for this is that some products and/or over the counter medicines such as cough syrup and lozenges, can actually cause a blood alcohol reading to register up to .02%. Commercial drivers, on the other hand, have a legal blood alcohol limit of .04% when behind the wheel.
An officer who believes a person is driving under the influence or drunk driving will pull the driver over based on that suspicion assuming he has a “reasonable belief” to feel as if the driver is breaking the law. Following the stop, the officer will generally ask the driver to perform a series of field sobriety tests to determine whether the driver is intoxicated. These roadside gymnastics include taking a look at the driver’s eye movements (HGN- horizontal gaze nystagmus test) in addition to other ridiculous coordination exams. If a PBT is available to the officer at that time, it may be administered to the driver for a preliminary reading of his or her blood alcohol level by measuring the driver’s exhaled breath; this test is not admissible in Court against the driver.
If the PBT comes back above the legal limit, the cop uses that number as part of his probably cause and the driver is generally arrested and charged with a Maryland DUI/DWI or drunk driving among other charges. It is the driver’s right, however, to refuse a PBT and there is no penalty for refusing this particular test. However, this test is different then the breath test performed at the station where there are MVA and other legal consequences for refusing to take the test after being properly advised of your rights under DR15.
The DR15 rights are required to be read in their entirety to the driver before being asked to blow in the machine. The law states that the driver must be informed of their rights to blow or not blow before being asked to do so. In light of the fact that all Maryland drivers are deemed to have given their consent to blow at the time they obtain a drivers’ license, the reason for the reading of the rights is so the driver will know exactly what the administrative penalties will be upon the refusal to blow. At present the penalty is 120 days suspension of one’s license or the interlock on the car for one full year at the driver’s expense. Conversely, if the driver does blow and the number is .08% or more, on faces a suspension of the license for between 45 days and 90 days depending on the number that is blown. The good news is the suspension for blowing an illegal number into the machine can be modified for work purposes where as the suspension for refusing to blow cannot be modified for work except for obtaining the interlock. There is one benefit to the interlock, notwithstanding the financial side of the equation, you are free to drive without limitation day or night, versus the work modified license which is only good for work purposes.
Fighting a Maryland DUI/DWI or Drunk Driving Charge
Driving under the influence charges in Maryland can bring huge consequences that can impact the rest of your life. A first DUI is a misdemeanor charge and carries the potential for jail up to one year. A conviction on this charge stays on ones’ record for life and results in 12 points on the license. With a second conviction for DUI in a 5 year period of time, there is a minimum of five days in jail. Subsequent DUI charges (more then two) in a 5 year period of time will result in a mandatory ten days in jail. See 27-101 Fines & Penalties Transportation Article, “Imprisonment Defined”. For each DUI conviction there will be 12 points assessed thus loss of license is always a potential consequence.
A DUI conviction will show up on a person’s record any time a criminal background check it run, contrary to popular belief. Any kind of criminal charge can make it difficult to get a job or to get approved for other things that require a person to pass a criminal background check. Furthermore, a recent DUI resulting in probation can prevent a person from being able to own/possess a firearm in the State of Maryland.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI the consequences are significant and long lasting; consequently it is important to contact a qualified and experienced attorney right away to begin working on your case. A qualified and experienced lawyer may be able to help you get your charges reduced or dropped especially if this is a first-time offense for you. First offense or not, many DUI cases can be won for a variety of reasons which may not be immediately apparent. It is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney immediately.
If you are looking for a lawyer to fight your Maryland DUI charge, then contact the DUI defense team at Robinson & Associates. You can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with their team of dedicated and experienced lawyers by calling 443-524-7395 right now. We are always available.