How to Handle Your First DUI Offense in Maryland
When you are charged for driving under influence for the first time, it can be tense. This might be your first encounter with such a situation or your first time being charged for anything by the police.
Many times, a person charged with driving under influence or DIU is unaware of the dealings henceforth. It is important to make yourself aware of the rules, processes & consequences of driving under influence.
In the state of Maryland, for a first DUI charge, a person might not need to worry about severe penalties that a subsequent DUI offense will accompany, this in no way implies that the first offense isn’t any tough. It’s always better to have a Maryland criminal defense lawyer fight for you if you think you’ve been handed an unfair DUI charge.
In this article, we’ll understand all the intricacies involved with a DUI offense and hopefully by the end, you’ll be well acquainted with what’s to be done.
Need more info? Check out our Ultimate Guide for Dealing with a DUI Arrest in Maryland.
Your first DUI charge in Maryland
A driver will face a DUI charge if his or her blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or more.
Although that’s the general limit, an officer is permitted to issue a DWI or a Driving While Impaired charge for blood alcohol concentration as low as 0.05.
Understanding DUI penalties in Maryland
Being convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI) and Driving While Impaired by Alcohol (DWI) land different penalties.
In Maryland, for the first offense of DUI, you can face a penalty of up to $1000 and a jail time of up to a year. A double penalty of $2000 and two years of jail time can be issued if a minor is found to be present in the vehicle. Additionally, one will be assessed 12 points on his or her driving license leading to revoking of license for up to 6 months.
A second DUI offense in Maryland will attract a penalty of $2000 and up to two years in jail time, while a driver will have to spend 5 days in jail as a mandatory requirement.
If you are convicted of a first offense of Driving While Impaired by alcohol, you will face up to $500 as a fine and up to two months of imprisonment. Consequently, 8 points will be assessed on your driving license and your license will be suspended for 6 months. If the person convicted of DWI is under the age of 21, the duration of license suspension will be one year.
For a second DWI offense, the fine remains the same but the time of imprisonment increases up to a year. Additionally, the suspension of the license will be up to a year and for someone convicted of DWI who is under 21, the suspension can be 2 years.
Although it’s not common for someone to be imprisoned for an entire year, the penalties by themselves can cause some damage. Not just monetary punishment, when convicted of a DUI offense, one no longer has a clean record. This can hamper a person’s career or education.
It’s important to keep your record clean. To do that, you might need to present your case. Having a Maryland DUI lawyer by your side can make the process a lot easier.
The best way to handle a DUI charge in Maryland
The moment you see a police car approaching you, pull over on the side. The officer might give you some instructions.
You will be asked to show your license, car papers and insurance. It’s understandable that in this situation you will be under a lot of stress & because of this, you might end up saying something that will work against you in the future.
When an officer approaches you, they know you are drunk and so they ask you questions. In this situation, you must know that you have the right to remain silent, use it to your advantage. Only respond to what is essential & once you present the required documents you don’t need to answer a lot of questions.
You’ll likely be detained or arrested if your BAC is at or above Maryland’s limit. Once it happens one should seek legal help from experienced DUI defense lawyers.
How can a DUI defense attorney help you?
When you first walk away from a DUI offense, you end up with a dozen pages of paperwork. These papers are very specific and filled with legal jargon.
It’s difficult for people to understand what all of it means if it’s the first time they’ve been charged with a DUI offense. A Maryland criminal defense attorney will explain the scope of charges against you and guide you on the possible outcomes of your case.
In most cases, a DUI defense attorney will send you to an alcohol education program. Judges like to see a person take charge and not just respond to a certain formality. It is expected that if you have any alcohol issues, they will be addressed in the alcohol education program.
After all of this is done, it’s up to the defense attorney to check the validity of the basis the prosecution is using to prove you guilty. If the judge declares you to be not guilty, you’re good. In case your attorney thinks the judge wasn’t sympathetic and you have a strong defense, you will have to ask for a jury trial.
A Maryland lawyer who specializes in DUI cases may be able to clear your name and give you a fresh start.
If you are charged with an unfair DUI offense in Maryland, you must go through all the requirements to make sure you have a clean record. Not having one might heavily impact your career, education or public benefits.
In this article, we went through almost everything there is to know about a DUI offense and the steps you need to take to get your name clear of an unfair charge. Next time you are asked to pull over (hopefully not), you know what to do.