Maryland DUI Overview
According to Maryland state law, a driver can be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) when his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is measured at 0.08 percent or higher. It’s important to note that the state doesn’t consider whether a driver’s driving ability was actually impaired or not. Instead, Maryland law only looks at whether the driver was driving a vehicle at the time of the arrest, that he or she consented to have their BAC was measured, and that it was at a level higher than 0.08. This is considered a per se violation of Driving Under the Influence.
A person need not offer a breath sample to be charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or While Impaired by Alcohol. A court may consider other factors, including bad driving, odor of alcohol, poor field sobriety tests and other circumstantial evidence when determining a person’s liability. Bad driving is not even necessarily a factor when one is charged with DUI or DWI. For example, you can be charged with a Maryland DUI at a checkpoint even if you have not violated any other traffic laws.
In states like Maryland, it’s a crime to drive with a BAC level higher than 0.08 percent. Again, it doesn’t matter if the driver drove erratically or perfectly—it’s still considered drunk diving. This is called Driving Under the Influence Per Se. To prove guilt in a DUI Per Se case, the prosecutor must prove the following:
- The driver drove the vehicle
- There was a basis to stop the vehicle
- The driver was properly ordered out of the vehicle
- The driver did not perform satisfactorily on field sobriety tests
- Probable cause existed to arrest the driver
- The driver’s BAC at the station was a .08 or higher
Maryland has two different BAC requirements depending on age. .08 is the standard for those who are old enough to legally consume alcohol, however drivers under the age of 21 can be charged with a DUI if their BAC is measured at .02 or higher.
Driving While Impaired by Alcohol
In the State of Maryland, a person may be charged with the offense of Driving While Impaired by Alcohol if their BAC measures at 0.06 or 0.07. DWI is considered a lesser offense than DUI and the penalties associated with this allegation are less severe. It is important to recognize that a 0.07 BAC level is considered a Per se violation of Driving While Impaired and the State need not prove anything more than the same six factors listed for a DUI Per Se prosecution. If a person has a 0.06 BAC, the State has the additional burden of demonstrating that the Driver’s driving was affected by alcohol in order to secure a conviction. While DWI is a less serious offense than DUI, it is a criminal offense that carries significant jail time and points.
Criminal penalties regarding DWI and DUI are different. A conviction of DWI can incur a term of imprisonment of up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500. DUI carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. With multiple offenses come the possibility of enhanced penalties. Other factors, including having a child in the car at the time of arrest can also cause enhanced DUI penalties.
Kush Arora is a Maryland criminal defense attorney who has experience defending DUI and traffic citation cases in Circuit and District courts. Before working at Price Benowitz, Kush worked as a Montgomery County, Maryland Assistant Public Defender. He has tremendous experience representing many clients on charges such as DUI, DWI and Driving on a Suspended License in front of juries and judges. Kush also works closely with Maryland probation officers and diversion programs to ensure that any traffic or DUI charge has a minimal impact on his client’s driving record.
Kush Arora Attorney at Law
51 Monroe St
Rockville, MD 20850