First Offenses

Facing Serious Traffic Charges in Maryland (DUI, DWI, Driving While Intoxicated) First Offenses

Certain driving related traffic offenses, such as, DUI, DWI, driving without insurance, or with a suspended license, and hit-and-run are taken very seriously in the State of Maryland. If you are found guilty of such an offense in Maryland you may face incarceration or other forms of punishment, loss of your license, or significant fines. If the traffic offense for which you are charged involves alcohol you already know that you need an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer as soon as possible. You know that a conviction for any of these serious traffic charges could impact your life significantly. The question is… how do you find a lawyer with the most experience… an attorney that has successfully defended individuals hundreds of times for charges of DUI or DWI in the past…. ; a criminal defense lawyer with a great reputation? (Learn about us)

DUI Related Punishments for First Offenses

First Offense DUI (Driving Under the Influence)

If you are convicted of driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more the penalties include the possibility of the following: up to 1 year in jail; Up to a $1,000 fine; and 12 points on your driver’s license.

First Offense Underage DUI

Maryland has zero tolerance for minors that drink alcohol and drive. With a BAC of just .02 a minor can receive a penalty up to $500.00 and a one year driver’s license suspension. In order to avoid the one year suspension, the minor may have install the interlock device in his or her vehicle for six months. If the minor still has a provisional license, there can be additional adverse consequences.

First Offense Driving While Impaired

Even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is less than .08 you can still be convicted of driving while impaired. If you are convicted of driving while impaired the penalties could include up to 60 days in jail and a $500.00 fine. (NOTE: If the police allege that you were impaired by drugs the penalties could be more significant. See below.)

First Offense Driving While Impaired with a Minor in the Vehicle

Maximum penalties may be enhanced under certain circumstances. If a minor was in the car while you were impaired the maximum penalties rise to 6 months in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.

First Offense Driving While Impaired by Drugs

If you are convicted of driving while impaired by drugs the penalties can include up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000.00 fine.

First Offense DUI with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

An arrest and/or finding of guilt for a DUI or DWI can have exceptionally serious consequences for individuals holding a commercial driver's license. If you have a CDL and need it for your employment we recommend you consult with us as soon as possible after your arrest. The decisions you make in the first few days after your arrest regarding your driving privileges may result in the loss of your CDL. If you opt for a temporary work-restricted license or interlock restricted license, your CDL may be suspended.

What Happens if I Refuse to take the Breathalyzer Test

The decision whether to take the breathalyzer test depends upon the circumstances of each individual case. One should always keep in mind that there are consequences for refusing to take the Breathalyzer test. As of October 1, 2016, new legislation, often referred to as 'Noah's Law," mandates a 270 day Maryland license suspension for a first instance of refusing a police-requested blood or breath test. In most cases, this suspension can be avoided by opting to install the interlock device in your vehicle for one year. It used to be that the penalties for refusing a test were far more severe that taking and failing the breath test. However, Noah's Law also significantly increased the penalties for taking the breath test and failing. A rest result of 0.08 to 0.14 could lead to a 180 suspension or a six month interlock requirement; a test result of 0.15 or above could lead to a 180 day suspension or a one year interlock requirement. For many people facing these consequences, there is little incentive to take the breath test when doing so may give the police additional evidence that makes it easier for the government to prosecute and penalize the driver further in court.

Consequences of a DWI/ DUI Conviction

If you are found guilty of DUI or DWI in the State of Maryland the consequences may be far-reaching. In addition to the potential fines and punishments. It also sets up the possibility that any future DUI or DWI offense would be a repeat offense. This increases the likelihood of jail time and even higher fines. Additionally, a first or additional DWI/ DUI is likely to cause your insurance rates to rise substantially. One of our lawyers will know about other sentencing alternatives to request of the judge in the event that you are found guilty at trial. Some alternatives include alcohol or drug treatment programs, community service, and probation. In Maryland, it is possible for a judge to find you guilty but then strike the guilty finding and sentence you to probation. This is referred to as probation before judgement or a “PBJ”. If you receive probation before judgment (“PBJ”) this result could not only keep you from serving jail time, but it could also protect your record; enable you to keep your driver’s license, and keep points off your license.