Maryland DUI/DWI Defense Lawyers
At Davis, Upton, Palumbo & Dougherty, LLC, our lawyers know that a DWI or DUI charge is not something to take lightly. We will defend you vigorously against the charges and work hard to protect your rights. Contact our Southern Maryland law firm at (410) 535-1780.
Two primary drunk driving charges
DWI, or Driving While Impaired, is the lesser of the two drunk driving charges. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or below, you can be charged with, and may be convicted of, this offense. DUI, or Driving Under the Influence is the more serious of the two drunk driving charges, You can be charged with DUI if your BAC is .08 percent or higher.
A DUI/DWI is actually two proceedings — criminal and administrative
An arrest for DWI or DUI will typically involve both criminal and administrative proceedings. Simply put, the criminal proceedings will determine whether you will go to jail as a result of the charge and the administrative proceedings will determine whether you will be able to continue to drive.
Criminal - If you are arrested and charged with a DWI or DUI offense, you will have to appear in District Court to answer to the charges. If you are charged with DUI, you also have the right to request a jury trial and have the case transferred to Circuit Court. If you are convicted of a DWI or DUI, you may be sentenced to jail and/or ordered to pay a fine. You may be placed on probation and ordered to attend alcohol counseling. In addition, if you are convicted of DUI and are not granted a Probation Before Judgment, the conviction will result in 12 points on your driver’s license. Similarly, a conviction of DWI with no Probation Before Judgment will result in 8 points on your driver’s license. Your license may be suspended if you accumulate more than 8 points in any two-year period and may be revoked if you accumulate more than 12 points in any two-year period.
Administrative - If you are stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired, the police officer may ask you to perform field sobriety tests, to take a preliminary breath test, or to take a Breathalyzer test. If you are unconscious or otherwise unable to consent to take a Breathalyzer test at the time of arrest, the police officer may require that you take a blood test to determine the alcohol content of your blood. If you refuse to take the Breathalyzer or blood test, or take the test and register a BAC over 0.08%, your license may be administratively suspended. If this occurs, you have the right to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. You only have ten days after an arrest for DUI or DWI to request a hearing in order to prevent your license from being suspended while you wait for a hearing to be scheduled. If you do not request a hearing within thirty (30) days after an arrest, you will not be eligible for a MVA Hearing. At this administrative hearing, your license may be suspended or revoked or you may be referred to the Medical Advisory Board. However, you may be eligible for and receive a Restricted License, which allows you to drive to and from work or to and from any alcohol counseling program you are attending. You also may be eligible to participate in the ignition interlock program, which will allow you to continue to drive.
Administrative and criminal penalties for a drunk driving conviction
Penalties for drunk driving in Maryland are increasingly harsh and have become more complicated over the years. They vary according to many factors, including BAC, the number of prior offenses, and whether an accident occurred as a result.
First time DUI:
- Fine up to $1,000
- Up to One year in jail for a First Offense
- Up to Two years in Jail for a Second Offense
- Up to Three years in Jail for a Third or Subsequent Offense
- 12 points on your driver’s license record
- Revocation or Suspension of your driving privileges
First time DWI:
- Fine up to $500
- Up to Two months in jail for a First Offense
- Up to One year in jail for a Second or Subsequent Offense
- 8 points on your driver’s license record
- Suspension of your driving privileges
Refusing to take a breath test:
- License suspension of 120 days for a First Offense
- License suspension of One (1) year for a Second or Subsequent Offense
- Refusal may be used against you in the criminal proceedings
Breath Test with Result of .08% or more but less than .15% BAC
- License suspension of 45 days for a First Offense
- License suspension of 90 days for a Second or Subsequent Offense
Breath Test with Result of .15% BAC or more
- License suspension of 90 days for a First offense
- License suspension of 180 days for a Second or Subsequent Offense
The penalties listed here are only the beginning. For related matters, such as vehicular homicide, the penalties can be much greater. It is important to talk with a defense attorney as soon as possible after any drunk driving charge.
What Can We Do for You?
We will evaluate the police report to ensure the arrest was valid. We will look at how the breathalyzer test was administered. We will review the DR-15A Advice of Rights form with you. We will review the Certification of Police Officer and his statement of Reasonable Grounds for the arrest and will challenge those grounds when appropriate. We can help you fill out the Hearing Request Form to ensure that you request your MVA hearing timely and properly. We will negotiate plea bargains with the prosecutors and will vigorously defend you in Court in those cases where plea negotiations are not successful. We will prepare you for Court. We will make sure you get the counseling or admission into an alcohol treatment program you need before you are sentenced. We will request that you be granted a Probation Before Judgment, if necessary. We will represent you in filing a Motion for Reconsideration. We will also represent you at the MVA Administrative Hearing to minimize the effect on your ability to drive.
Contact the Prince Frederick office of Davis, Upton, Palumbo & Dougherty, LLC to learn how we can help. Call us at (410) 535-1780.
30-minute free initial consultation