State and local law enforcement officials are taking an increasingly tough stance on drunk driving and other forms of driver impairment.
The laws provide strict penalties and police are aggressive in stopping suspected violators. License suspension, major fines, and even prison sentences can be imposed for violations.
There are legal defenses applicable in DUI cases. That is why it is crucial to contact a Rockville DUI lawyer as soon as possible if you are facing a charge involving impaired driving.
A knowledgeable defense attorney will know how the laws apply to the facts of your case and can guide you through the proceedings to work toward the best possible resolution.
When police stop a driver suspected of being impaired, they may ask the driver to take a breath or other chemical blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test. This blood test measures the amount of alcohol present in 100 milliliters of blood. .08 grams per milliliter is the legal limit for most drivers for an automatic finding of DUI. This is referred to as a .08 BAC.
If a driver tests over the .08 BAC limit or refuses to take a chemical test for drug or alcohol use, the police can suspend and confiscate a driver’s license immediately, although they may issue a temporary 45-day paper license. A Rockville DUI lawyer can help individuals contest the suspension of their license.
They can also issue a fine for refusal to take the test, because any driver using public roads is deemed to have consented to take such a test. This is referred to as “implied consent.” The BAC limit is lower for certain categories of drivers including commercial drivers and those under the age of 21.
The impaired driving laws in Rockville include two degrees of severity. Driving under the Influence (DUI) is punished more harshly. A driver may be convicted of this violation if the BAC level is:
Even if the driver’s BAC has not reached these limits, it is possible to be convicted of this offense if it is found that the consumption of alcohol has sufficiently impaired the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle.
Considered a slightly less serious offense, a finding of driving while impaired or DWI may be based on a BAC finding of .05 to .07 or a determination that alcohol or the use of controlled substances has impaired the driver’s ability to a degree, but not enough to warrant a charge of DUI.
The maximum fines and times of imprisonment depend on whether the conviction is a first offense or subsequent violation.
A first-time DUI conviction carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $1,000, while a first time DWI conviction has a lesser maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
For a second offense, the maximum penalty for a DUI conviction is two years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,000 and the DWI conviction carries a maximum of one year in jail and a $500 fine.
For third and subsequent convictions, the maximum penalty is the same – up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000.
Maryland has also recently expanded the circumstances which will require a driver to install, and pay for, an ignition interlock device. In addition, the state can assess points against a driver’s license and suspend that license.
It is important to act quickly to preserve your legal rights and driving privileges. An experienced Rockville DUI lawyer understands the intricacies of the laws and how to execute the best possible defense based on your circumstances.
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