Maryland Drinking & Driving Lawyer
If you are facing DUI charges in the state of Maryland, it is essential that you have a strong legal advocate in your corner from start to finish. The penalties for a DUI can be severe, yet the outcome can be so much better when you have an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney fighting for you. Since the state of Maryland has several different types of intoxicated driving offenses, it is especially important that you have someone in your corner who fully understands the differences. Scott MacMullan will fight for you following your DUI charges.
Scott understands that a DUI conviction can adversely affect your life for a very long time to come, and he will work to ensure those negative outcomes are as minimal as possible. Many people are embarrassed after being charged with a Maryland DUI and may decide to simply plead guilty and move on with their life. This is absolutely the worst course of action! If you are facing Maryland DUI charges, talk to Attorney Scott MacMullan before you make any decisions that will affect your future for years to come.
What Are the Different Types of Intoxicated Driving Offenses in Maryland?
A DUI in Maryland is more serious than a DWI. A DUI is driving under the influence, with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, or could be charged when a driver does not have a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher but was obviously significantly impaired by a controlled substance or by alcohol. A DWI is the less serious charge and requires that the driver consumed some level of alcohol or drugs and, as a result, his or her normal coordination was impaired to some extent.
How to Avoid Making Additional Mistakes After Being Pulled Over on Suspicion of DUI
If you have had anything to drink, you know you are in trouble when you see the police lights behind you and hear the siren. There are, however, certain things you can do—and avoid doing—which can significantly increase your chances of a better outcome to your charges. First of all, after giving your name and address—politely—and giving the officer your license, insurance, and registration, stop talking. One of the primary ways police officers gather incriminating evidence against those they stop on suspicion of DUI is to keep them talking. The more you talk, the more likely you are to say something that will be used against you later on. Many people are under the impression they can talk their way out of a DUI arrest. Just know that you cannot—and remain quiet.
If the officer continues asking you questions, politely say that you will not answer any questions until you have had the opportunity to speak to an attorney. Repeat this as many times as you need to. It is also important to know that field sobriety tests are not mandatory in the state of Maryland. The only thing a field sobriety test will do is give the officer more reason to suspect you of DUI. Field sobriety tests can be difficult for some people who are absolutely sober to complete, and if you are taking medications, are ill, have vertigo, are wearing heels, or simply have bad balance, you will most certainly not “pass” the tests. Politely refuse field sobriety tests always. While you can refuse a breath, blood, or urine test in Maryland, whether you should is a much more complicated question. If you refuse a Maryland breathalyzer test, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 270 days. A second refusal will result in your driver’s license being suspended for one year—regardless of how your DUI or DWI charges turn out.
What are the Criminal Penalties for Maryland DUI and DWI Convictions?
In the state of Maryland, a DUI involving a controlled substance and a DUI involving alcohol carry the same general penalties. A first offense for either will result in up to one year in jail and a maximum of $1,000 in fines. If, however, you had a minor in the vehicle with you, your jail time could be increased to two years, and your fines to $2,000. A Maryland DWI offense—like a DUI offense—involves the same penalties for alcohol or drugs. For a first DWI offense, you could serve up to two months in jail and be required to pay a fine as large as $500. Like a DUI offense, if you had a minor in the vehicle with you at the time of your arrest, the jail time and fines will increase—up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
What are the Collateral Consequences of a Maryland DUI or DWI Conviction?
A DUI conviction will result in a maximum of six months suspension of your driver’s license. You do have the option of applying for the ignition interlock program to shorten your suspension period or allow you to drive during the entire suspension period. After 180 days with the ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, you can apply for license reinstatement. Any driver with a BAC of .15 percent or higher must have an ignition interlock device for one year prior to becoming eligible for reinstatement.
In addition to a suspension of driving privileges, a conviction for DUI or DWI can significantly increase your insurance rates, or you could be dropped by your insurance company altogether. If your job involves driving as a part of the job, you could lose your job, or if you hold a CDL license, you could lose your CDL endorsement. You could even find it more difficult to obtain employment in the future following a Maryland DUI or DWI conviction.
What are the Defenses to Maryland DUI or DWI Charges?
While your specific defense will be carefully crafted by your Maryland DUI attorney, based on the facts of your case, some of the more common defenses to Maryland DUI or DWI charges include the following:
- The initial stop was unlawful, as the officer had no probable cause to believe you committed a traffic violation and no reasonable, articulable suspicion to believe a criminal law was violated.
- The results of your field sobriety test can be challenged as the assessment is very subjective, not to mention influenced by environmental conditions at the time. Additionally, the officer may not have properly administered the tests.
- The results of your breathalyzer test can be challenged based on the accuracy of the device, the certification of the administering officer, or the certification of the device itself.
- The testimony of the arresting officer can be challenged during the trial when your attorney cross-examines the officer.
- You were not properly Mirandized following your arrest.
Why Should You Contact an Experienced Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney?
Always remember—just because you have been charged with a Maryland DUI or DWI does not mean you will be convicted of the offense. Scott MacMullan will provide you with the strongest defense possible, ensuring there is a thorough investigation of the evidence and facts against you. The state must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and, in truth, this is a fairly high standard. Many overzealous prosecutors overcharge offenses, meaning Attorney Scott MacMullan has room to negotiate the outcome on your behalf. Contact Scott MacMullan Law, LLC, at (443) 494-9775 today for an advocate who will protect and fight for your rights throughout your DUI or DWI case.