Gaithersburg DUI/DWI Attorney Defends Drivers' Rights
Maryland lawyer advocates for motorists accused of operating under the influence
When you've been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI), you need knowledgeable and determined legal counsel to help mitigate the consequences of your arrest. Loss of license, fines and jail time are a distinct possibility in Maryland where aggressive enforcement of drunk driving laws is the norm. The Law Office of Christopher J. Smith, LLC in Gaithersburg is ready to provide the staunch defense you need. Even after a test that exceeds the legal intoxication limit, there are many potential ways to counter DUI and DWI charges. My firm reviews the facts to determine if an unlawful traffic stop, lack of probable cause or unreliable forensic evidence tainted the case against you. When an acquittal is unlikely, I work to improve the result by arguing for lenient sentencing.
Understanding Maryland's drunk driving laws
Maryland law has two basic categories of drunk driving charges. The more serious charge is a DUI. This charge is substantiated by a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test that exceeds the legal limit of 0.08 percent. DWI is a lesser charge for drivers whose BAC is found to be between 0.07 and 0.08 percent, but were nonetheless demonstrably impaired. Officer testimony regarding erratic vehicle operation is often critical in DWI cases. Subjective impressions of the driver at the time of the stop are also used to show evidence of impairment.
Penalties for DUI/DWI offenses in Maryland
DUI/DWI penalties depend on a number of factors, such as BAC level, prior convictions, whether a minor was in the vehicle, and whether the infraction resulted in an accident that damaged property or injured a person. In general, here are the penalties possible for a drunk driving conviction in Maryland:
- First time DWI — A driver might receive as many as 60 days in jail and a $500 fine for a first-time offense.
- Subsequent DWI — Repeat offenses can result in a year in jail and another $500 fine.
- First time DUI — The maximum penalty is one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Second DUI conviction — A second conviction can draw up to two years in jail and a $2,000 fine.
- Third DUI conviction — Three-time offenders could be punished by as many as three years in prison and a $3,000 fine.
In addition to these criminal sanctions, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration imposes a 12-point penalty, which triggers a driver's license suspension. A court can also order a convicted drunk driver to install an ignition interlock device, so the car cannot be started unless the driver passes a breath test for sobriety.
Attorney advises on administrative license suspensions for breathalyzer refusal
Maryland has an implied consent law, which basically states that anyone who drives on public roads in the state has consented to a breath test if an officer has probable cause to believe the driver is operating the vehicle under the influence. You are allowed to refuse the test, but in that case, you face an automatic administrative suspension of your license for 120 days, whether or not you are ultimately convicted of a DUI.
Firm defends motorists charged with driving on a suspended license
Driving with a suspended license is a serious charge, especially if your license was suspended for DUI. This is more than just a traffic ticket, it's a misdemeanor criminal offense that could put you in jail for up to one year. I provide robust defense to fight unwarranted allegations and mitigate any penalties.
Contact a skilled Maryland lawyer for a free consultation about your drunk driving charge
The Law Office of Christopher J. Smith, LLC in Gaithersburg represents Maryland and Washington, D.C. drivers accused of DUI and DWI. Call 301-760-7460 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation.