In the state of Maryland driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are serious criminal offenses as well as traffic offenses. Both offenses center around drunk driving yet have differing legal consequences. In some situations, the driver may be initially charged with a DWI and DUI. The prosecution will pursue a DWI charge if there is no breath result or if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is lower than .07%. If the driver’s BAC is .08% or higher, the prosecution will likely proceed with a DUI.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DWI or DUI in Maryland, contact my law office for a consultation. Depending on the nature of the case, I may be able to have the DUI reduced to a DWI, or completed dismissed. Read on to learn more about the difference between a DWI and DUI in Maryland and how I can help you.
A DWI is the lesser offense of a DUI. As mentioned above, a DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated. A driver may be charged with a DWI if his/her BAC is between .04 – .07%. For a first-time offender, the driver may face up to two-months in jail and be required to pay a fee of $500. In addition, the driver’s license will be suspended and up to 8 points may be added to his/her driving record. If the driver refused to take a chemical test pursuant to Maryland’s implied consent law, or failed the test, his/her driver’s license will be suspended as well.
A person is usually charged with a DUI if his/her BAC is .08% or higher. A DUI is a more serious crime in comparison to a DWI and results in harsher penalties and fines. For example, a first time offender may spend up to a year in jail and be required to pay a $1,000 fine. In addition, the driver will lose his/her driver’s license and have up to 12 points added to his/her
As you can see above, the consequences for a DWI/DUI mostly center around a driver’s BAC. If a driver’s BAC is .08% or higher, he/she will likely be charged with a DUI. You should contact an experienced Maryland attorney immediately after being charged with a DWI/DUI. An experienced attorney can help reduce the charge due to the amount of proof required for the state to uphold either charge. Though a DWI is a lesser charge, it still carries severe penalties. A driver charged with a DUI may be able to plead down to a lesser offense and reduce the penalties/fines asserted against him/her.
If your driver’s license was revoked because you accumulated 12 or more points on your driving record,or because you violated an alcohol restriction, you may be eligible to have your license reinstated after a specified period of time.
The minimum amount of time you must wait before requesting reinstatement of your license after it was revoked depends upon the number of times you have had your Maryland driver’s license revoked:
• One revocation 6 month waiting period
• Two revocations
• Three revocations
• Four or more revocations 24 month waiting
The waiting period starts on the day that you turn in your driver’s license after it has been revoked, or the date of revocation, whichever is later. You must turn in your most recently issued license.
If you believe that you meet the criteria to reinstate your license, you may call or visit the MVA’s Driver Wellness & Safety Division (DW&S) and request to have your driver’s license reinstated. You will be asked for your full name, address, date of birth and driver’s license number, if you know it.
The MVA will review your driving record for insurance violations, child support violations and any other problems that may disqualify you from reinstatement. If we discover a problem in your driving record, we will send you a letter explaining why you are not eligible for reinstatement. If there are no apparent problems, we will mail or hand to you an application form.
Once you have the application completed for reinstating your Maryland driver’s license, return it to the MVA’s Driver Wellness & Safety Division. In addition, you will need to send the correct application fee. Upon receipt of the application and fee, there will be a final ruling on the reinstatement of your driver’s license and you will be sent a letter either granting or denying reinstatement. If you are granted reinstatement of your driver’s license, take the letter to any full service MVA branch office and apply for a new license. You may be required to take the law, vision and/or driving skills tests again. In addition, you will be subject to all MVA eligibility requirements.
If the reinstatement of your driver’s license is denied, you do have the right to appeal the decision of the MVA to the office of administrative hearings. Contacting an experienced Bel Air, Maryland traffic violations attorney is a wise move as they can help you get your license reinstated.
If you are pulled over for driving under the influence or driving while impaired in the Bel Air, Essex or Towson, Maryland areas your life can get very complicated very quickly. Not only are you facing criminal charges, an MVA hearing and a license suspension but you may also be looking at thousands of dollars in fines, fees and court costs. While it is common knowledge that driving after drinking alcohol is against the law people still do it. Below are several things you should d if you have been pulled over for a DUI or DWI in Towson, Maryland:
1. Once police are behind you and flash their lights carefully pull over to side of the road using your turn signal.
2. As the police officer, or officers, approach your vehicle stay inside the vehicle with your hands on the steering wheel.
3. Be polite and cooperate with police.
4. Once it is requested by the police officer find and produce your drivers license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
5. If you choose to you may invoke the Fifth Amendment. This means that you do not have to answer any questions they ask you. If the police officer asks if you have been drinking calmly say that you are claiming your Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself.
6. If/when you are asked to take a chemical test or blood alcohol test you do not have the right to refuse that test. Due to Maryland’s Implied Consent Law you must take the test. Otherwise, your drivers license will be automatically suspended for a period of 120 days. The period of suspension will be longer if you have prior DUI’s.
7. Do not get out of your vehicle unless you are asked to. If you are asked to get out try very hard not to stumble or fall when getting out.
8. Refuse any and all field sobriety tests. These are not required under Maryland law. You can fail these tests for numerous reasons even if you are completely sober such as having poor balance, poor vision and or a medical condition.
9. If you are ultimately arrested for DUI or DWI do not hesitate to call Towson Maryland Drunk Driving Defense Attorney John G. Turnbull III at (410) 321-8860 for a free consultation.
Contact Ellicott City DUI Lawyer John G. Turnbull for more information about his drunk driving criminal defense legal services. Mr. Turnbull provides defense to Maryland residents facing DUI charges and DWI charges. He also serves those living in other states but are facing DUI and or DWI charges in Maryland. As mentioned above, depending on the nature of your case, Mr. Turnbull may be able to have your DWI/DUI charge reduced or completely dismissed. Do not delay in contacting his Essex DUI law office.