Drunk Driving Allegations
Yes, the cost of an experienced defense attorney to fight against a drunk driving charge may seem steep, but the cost of pleading guilty and its effect on your livelihood may be an even higher expense. If you are charged under Maryland Transportation Article 21-902 for a DUI or DWI, then you could go to jail and or pay a fine. A DUI/DWI conviction (or Probation Before Judgement) will stay on your record for life. If you have a Commercial Driver’s License or CDL, there might be additional consequences you face. In addition to fines and/or jail time and a criminal record, you face suspension and/or revocation of your license by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).
If you were charged with a DUI or DWI in Maryland, you will see the Maryland Transportation Article 21-902 on your charging documents. Knowing what section of the stature you were charged with is extremely important.
If you were charged with 21-902(a)(1)(i), the State must show that you were driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol. If you were charged under section 21-902(a)(1)(ii) then you were charged with the “pro se” section of the statute which means that the State must show that you were driving or attempting to driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08.
What penalties do I face? What if this is my second or third DUI? Am I considered a subsequent offender?
First DUI conviction- If you are convicted of driving/attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol, or driving/attempting to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher and it is your first conviction, you face the possible penalty of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both.
Second DUI conviction- If it is your second conviction of driving/attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol or driving/attempting to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher and it is your second conviction, you face the possible penalty of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or a fine not exceeding $2,000, or both.
What if my prior conviction was a conviction under a different section of 21-902?
If your prior conviction was not under the same section of 21-902 as your current conviction and was under a different section such as driving/attempting to drive while impaired by alcohol, or driving/attempting to drive while impaired by drug(s)/drug(s) and alcohol, or driving/attempting to drive while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance that you are not entitled to use then it may still be considered a prior conviction for the purposes of enhanced penalties. Subsequent offender penalties for a violation of section 21-902 (a) will still be possible if you have a prior conviction under one of the sections mentioned above if that prior conviction was within 5 years before the current conviction.
What happens if a minor was in the vehicle when I got arrested for a DUI?
Under section 21-902(a)(2)(i) of the Maryland Transportation Article there is more punitive consequences if you have a minor in the vehicle while driving/attempting to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The difference is that for a first offense DUI with a minor in the vehicle you face imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or a fine not exceeding $2,000 or both; and for a second offense of a DUI with a minor in the vehicle the penalty is 3 years or a fine not exceeding $3,000 or both.
For the purpose of determining subsequent offender penalties for a DUI while transporting a minor under 21-902(a)(2)(i), a prior conviction under 21-902(b)(2), (c)(2), or (d)(2) will also be considered a prior conviction.
Are DUI penalties different that DWI penalties?
Under section 21-902 (b)(1)(i) you may not drive/attempt to drive a vehicle while impaired by alcohol (DWI). For a first DWI conviction you could be imprisoned for up to 2 months or ordered to pay a $500 fine, or both. For a second offense, imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $500 or both.
Are there also subsequent offender penalties for DWI prior convictions?
Yes! Likewise, a prior conviction DUI under subsection 21-902(a), (c), or (d) will be considered a prior conviction for the purpose of determining subsequent offender penalties for a 21-902 (b) DWI conviction
Driving While Impaired (DWI) when there is a minor in the vehicle just like a DUI, there are enhanced penalties for DWI while transporting a minor. If you are convicted of DWI with a minor in the vehicle, the first offense carries the penalty of possible imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of $1,000, or both.
If you were charged with Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Impaired, contact Caroline Norman Frost for a free consultation. As a former Assistant State’s Attorney who used to prosecute drivers, she is more than equipped to prepare a defense and go to trial. She is also prepared to analyze the evidence against you and negotiate an ideal plea in the event that you decide you do not want a trial.