DUI & DWI Charges

A DUI or DWI can have a devastating impact on your life. From raised car insurance rates, to employment consequences, to driver’s license suspension, and jail time, you need the right information and representation to get your life back. There’s more to a DUI than a simple blood alcohol content (BAC) level.

 

We have the knowledge and the experience to attack the prosecutor's case every step of the way including the traffic stop, the field sobriety tests, the breathalyzer results, the officers training and knowledge, and any other evidence presented. We practice in both Maryland and D.C. and have ample legal resources available to you free of charge.

Maryland DUI & DWI

District of Columbia (D.C.) DUI & DWI

Maryland DUI & DWI Penalties 

The judge will consider a variety of factors when issuing a sentence for a DUI or DWI. At sentencing, the judge will consider the number of DUIs or DWIs you have had within the past five years, demonstrated accountability, the facts of the case, whether the incident involved an accident, etc.

For your first (1st) DUI charge in Maryland you can face the following penalties:

  • Jail time: up to 1 year

  • Fines: up to $1,000

  • Driving Record: 12 points

  • License Revocation: up to 6 months

For your second (2nd) DUI charge in Maryland you can face the following penalties:

  • Jail time: up to 2 years

  • Fines: up to $2,000

  • Driving Record: 12 points

  • License Revocation: up to 1 year

  • Ignition Interlock Device

For your first (1st) DWI charge in Maryland you can face the following penalties:

  • Jail time: up to 2 months

  • Fines: up to $500

  • Driving Record: 8 points

  • License Suspension: up to 6 months

 

For your second (2nd) DWI charge in Maryland you can face the following penalties:

  • Jail time: up to 1 year

  • Fines: up to $500

  • Driving Record: 8 points

  • License Suspension: 9 to 12 months

  • Ignition Interlock Device

 

Driving records points imposed stay on the driver’s record for two (2) years. Receiving 8 points will qualify the driver for license suspension. Receiving 12 points will qualify the driver for license revocation. The judge may impose additional sanctions such as community service hours, probation, attending AA, attending a victim impact panel, visiting the shock trauma center, etc. If you are found to be transporting a minor (a child is in the car) then you will likely face more severe penalties.

Whether this is your first or subsequent DUI, you should have an attorney represent you in court. 

Maryland Breathalyzer Test 

Where is the breathalyzer administered?

In Maryland, officers can administer a “preliminary breath test” on scene. You have the right to refuse this breath test and you should! This breath test is unreliable and is used to give the officer probable cause to arrest you.

Post arrest, at the police station or at an appropriate medical facility, the officer can take a blood, breath or urine test within two hours of the initial stop. Often times blood and urine tests are used if a breath test is not possible or if drug use is suspected (ex. Marijuana in system that would not show up in a breath test).

What are the penalties for refusing the breathalyzer?

If you refuse a breath, blood or urine test your driver’s license will be confiscated by the police officer and you will receive a temporary license. If this is your first time refusing a breath test in Maryland you can face a penalty of up to a 270 day driver’s license suspension. If this is your second or third time refusing a breath test you can face up to a 2 year driver’s license suspension.

It is important to note that even if you submit to the breath test and blow above a .08 you will still have your license suspended. If you blow above a  .08 and BAC you will face a 180 day driver’s license suspension. 

What is the purpose of the breathalyzer test?

The breathalyzer test measures a person’s blood alcohol content level also referred to as “BAC.” The result of this test is measured by a number. If your BAC is above a .08 then you can be charged with a DUI. If your BAC is between .08 and .04 than you can be charged with a DWI. BAC of .08 or higher is considered “under the influence per se” which means that the prosecutor can use this number and a lawful arrest to get a conviction for DUI. They do not need further evidence of impairment, such as driving pattern or field sobriety tests. This is more reason to refuse a breathalyzer test. The breathalyzer test provides the state with more evidence of your alleged impairment.

What are some reasons to refuse the breathalyzer test?

Just like the field sobriety tests, by refusing the breathalyzer tests you are giving the state less evidence to use against you. The breathalyzer test results will be brought in court and presented by the prosecutor of evidence of your impairment. Because the breathalyzer result is a number, those with a high BAC result may feel helpless in their defense. An aggressive and experienced DUI attorney can help you overcome this hurdle and build a defense to protect your rights, despite a high BAC.

Can the breathalyzer result be excluded from trial?

Yes, if there were problems with the machine or the way in which the way test was administered. These issues may render the results unreliable and the results may be inadmissible at your trial. Blowing a high BAC is not the end of the world. A knowledgeable attorney can help you overcome this obstacle in your defense.

Maryland Field Sobriety Tests 

During a DUI stop, the police officer is trying to collect evidence to prove that you were in fact driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Later in trial, the prosecutor will try to use that evidence against you to obtain a conviction. One way in which the officer collects evidence of impairment is by administering the field sobriety tests.

Generally the field sobriety tests consists of three exercises: horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), walk and turn, and one leg stand. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the agency that publishes the training materials and manuals on these exercises. Officers re given this training in the police academy. 

 

What are the penalties for refusing field sobriety tests?

The field sobriety tests are voluntary. But the officer won’t tell you that! The officer will make you feel that you must take the test. Since the test is voluntary, you will not face additional penalties or consequences from the MVA by refusing to take the field sobriety test. 

Maryland Refusal Consequences 

What are the penalties for refusing field sobriety tests?

The field sobriety tests are voluntary. But the officer won’t tell you that! The officer will make you feel that you must take the test. Since the test is voluntary, you will not face additional penalties or consequences from the MVA by refusing to take the field sobriety test. Refusing the field sobriety tests will likely lead the officer to arresting you for DUI. Nonetheless, you may want to refuse the field sobriety tests to avoid giving the officer more incriminating evidence of a DUI.

What are the penalties for refusing the breathalyzer?

If you refuse a breath, blood or urine test your driver’s license will be confiscated by the police officer and you will receive a temporary license. If this is your first time refusing a breath test in Maryland you can face a penalty of up to a 270 day driver’s license suspension. If this is your second or third time refusing a breath test you can face up to a 2 year driver’s license suspension.

It is important to note that even if you submit to the breath test and blow above a .08 you will still have your license suspended. If you blow above a  .08 and BAC you will face a 180 day driver’s license suspension. 

MVA Hearing After DUI Charge 

If you refuse a breath, blood or urine test your driver’s license will be confiscated by the police officer and you will receive a temporary license. If this is your first time refusing a breath test in Maryland you can face a penalty of up to a 270 day driver’s license suspension. If this is your second or third time refusing a breath test you can face up to a 2 year driver’s license suspension.

 

You may be able to get your license back, even after refusing a breath test or blowing over the legal limit of .08. File your request for a hearing immediately after your traffic stop. You have 10 days from the date of the Order of Suspension to submit your written request for a hearing to make sure that your driving privileges are not surrendered prior to the hearing. You must include the $150.00 filing fee when you submit your request for a hearing.

 

You have up to 30 days from the date of the Order of Suspension to request a hearing, however, after the 10 day mark, your driving privileges will be suspended until the hearing. If you do not request a hearing, your driver’s license will be suspended 46 days from the date of the Order of Suspension

 

At the hearing the burden is on you to show cause as to why your driving license should not be suspended.  The MVA’s Administrative Law Judge will only consider the following limited facts at the hearing:

  1. Whether the police officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of or impaired by alcohol or drugs

  2. Whether there was evidence the driver used alcohol or drugs

  3. Whether the police officer requested a test after the officer warned the driver of the penalties for refusal or a failed test

  4. Whether the person refused to take the test

  5. Whether the person drove or attempted to drive a motor vehicle while having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at the time of testing;

  6. Whether the person drove or attempted to drive a motor vehicle while having an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more at the time of testing;

  7. If the hearing involves disqualification of a commercial driver’s license, whether the person was operating a commercial motor vehicle or held a commercial driver’s license; and

  8. Whether the person was involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of another person.

Probation Before Judgment 

If you have been arrested for a DUI or DWI in Maryland you may be offered a Probation Before Judgment plea in lieu of trial. A Probation Before Judgment plea is when the court does not enter the conviction for the charge and instead places the individual on probation with certain conditions. The benefit of this plea is that you will not have a conviction on your record for the charge if you successfully complete probation with all of its conditions. Further, you will avoid having the points on your driving record and it will not show up as a conviction on your driving record, keeping your car insurance rate from increasing in most cases.

There are no hard set lines for qualifying for a Probation Before Judgment. The judge can offer and/or the prosecutor makes the recommendation.

Like any plea agreement, you cannot be forced to enter into the agreement. It is entirely your choice and a means to receive lesser penalties and punishment than allowed for under the law. If you take a PBJ plea, or any plea, you give up your right to trial and cannot challenge the state’s evidence against you.

 

If you are offered a PBJ plea you should consult with an experienced attorney to decide if it is the best choice for you given the facts of your case.

DUI vs. DWI in Maryland 

Maryland law distinguishes between DUI and DWI. DWI is short for “driving while impaired”. It carries lesser penalties and requires a lower BAC (.04 to .07) for conviction. A person may be charged with a DWI if they have a BAC lower than .08 and exhibit other signs of impairment in their driving pattern or performance during the field sobriety test. 

DUI is short for “driving under the influence”. It carries more severe penalties and requires a BAC of .08 or higher. In order to be convicted of DUI the prosecution must show that you were substantially impaired. 

Other Maryland DUI Information

If you've been charged with DUI or DWI, it's important to contact an attorney early. An attorney can advise you on possible outcomes after considering the specific facts of your case. If you refused the breathalyzer test or if your breathalyzer yielded results of a BAC of .08 or higher, an attorney can advise on you the steps to take to regain your driving privileges. 

There are many possible defenses and theories of defense in DUIs and DWIs. By contacting an attorney early, you will have a better chance at collecting and preserving vital information. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

D.C. DUI Penalties 

What are the penalties for DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in D.C.?

At sentencing, the judge will consider the number of DUIs or DWIs you have had within the past fifteen (15) years. The judge may impose additional sanctions such as community service hours. If you are found to be transporting a minor (a child is in the car) then you will face more severe penalties. If you are found to have a BAC over .20 you will face mandatory jail time starting at 10 days and increasing based on the BAC and the number of prior offenses.

For your first (1st) DUI charge in D.C. you can face the following penalties:

  • Jail time: up to 180 days

  • Fines: $1,000

For your second (2nd) DUI charge in D.C. you can face the following penalties:

  • Jail time: up to 1 year, with 10-day minimum mandatory jail sentence

  • Fines: $2,500 to $5,000

What are the penalties for OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) in D.C.?

For your first (1st) OWI charge in D.C. you can face the following penalties:

  • Jail time: up to 90 days

  • Fines: $500

For your second (2nd) OWI charge in D.C. you can face the following penalties:

  • Jail time: up to 1 year, with 5-day minimum mandatory jail sentence

  • Fines: $1,000 to $2,500

D.C. Breathalyzer Test 

Where is the breathalyzer administered?

 

In D.C., officers can administer a preliminary breath test on scene. You have the right to refuse this breath test without legal penalty. This breath test is not as reliable as the breath test administered at the station unreliable and is used to give the officer probable cause to arrest you.

 

Post arrest, at the police station or at an appropriate medical facility, the officer can take a blood, breath or urine test within two hours of the initial stop. Often times blood and urine tests are used if a breath test is not possible or if drug use is suspected (ex. Marijuana in system that would not show up in a breath test). By the time you are asked to give a breath sample at the station, you are already under arrest and at the station.

 

What are the penalties for refusing the breathalyzer in D.C.?

 

If you refuse a breath, blood or urine test and this is your first DUI offense your driver’s license will be revoked for 1 year. If you have a prior conviction for DUI or OWI, refusing the breathalyzer test will create a rebuttable presumption that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition, to a driver’s license revocation, refusing a breath test could affect negotiations with the prosecutor.

 

What is the purpose of the breathalyzer test?

 

The breathalyzer test measures a person’s blood alcohol content level also referred to as “BAC.” The result of this test is measured by a number. The legal limit for BAC is .08 in D.C. If your BAC is above .08 then you can be charged with a DUI. The purpose of the breathalyzer is to give the state more evidence to prove that you committed a crime.

 

Can the breathalyzer result be excluded from trial?

 

Yes, if there were problems with the machine or the way in which the way test was administered. These issues may render the results unreliable and the results may be inadmissible at your trial. Blowing a high BAC is not the end of the world. A knowledgeable attorney can help you overcome this obstacle in your defense.

D.C. Field Sobriety Tests

During a DUI stop, the police officer is trying to collect evidence to prove that you were in fact driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Later in trial, the prosecutor will try to use that evidence against you to obtain a conviction. One way in which the officer collects evidence of impairment is by administering the field sobriety tests.

Generally the field sobriety tests consists of three exercises: horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), walk and turn, and one leg stand. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the agency that publishes the training materials and manuals on these exercises. Officers re given this training in the police academy. 

 

What are the penalties for refusing field sobriety tests?

The field sobriety tests are voluntary. But the officer won’t tell you that! The officer will make you feel that you must take the test. Since the test is voluntary, you will not face additional penalties or consequences from the DMV by refusing to take the field sobriety test. 

D.C. Refusal Consequences 

What are the penalties for refusing the breathalyzer test in D.C.?

 

If you refuse a breath, blood or urine test and this is your first DUI offense your driver’s license will be revoked for 1 year. If you have a prior conviction for DUI or OWI, refusing the breathalyzer test will create a rebuttable presumption that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition to a driver’s license revocation, refusing the breath test could negatively affect plea negotiations with the prosecutor. 

What are the penalties for refusing field sobriety tests?

 

The field sobriety tests are voluntary. But the officer won’t tell you that! The officer will make you feel that you must take the test. Since the test is voluntary, you will not face additional penalties or consequences from the DMV by refusing to take the field sobriety test. 

D.C. DMV Hearing After DUI  

If you are arrested for a DUI, the arresting officer will give you a “Order of Proposed Revocation” regarding your driver’s license. You may be able to get your license back but you will need to act fast. If you are a D.C. resident you have ten (10) days from the date of the arrest to schedule a hearing at the DMV. If you are a non-D.C. resident you have fifteen (15 days) to schedule your hearing.

 

At the hearing, the arresting officer will have to appear and present testimony of what happened and you will have a chance to speak. You will be asked about your driving record and driving habits. It is crucial that you attend the hearing with an attorney. If you make statements regarding your arrest, the DUI or any other facts surrounding your case, your statements can be used against you later in trial. At the end of your hearing you will know if your license has been reinstated or if you were denied a reinstatement.

 
 
 
 

(301) 699 - 0764 Office 

(301) 363 - 2870 Fax

6801 Kenilworth Ave.

Suite 202

Riverdale, MD 20737

Contact Us

© 2018 by Yazdani Law Group, LLC.

Criminal defense attorney, DUI attorney, personal injury attorney representing clients in Maryland (MD),  and Washington, DC including: Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Beltsville, Bethesda, Bowie, Chevy Chase, Clarksburg, College Park, Columbia, Damascus, Ellicott City, Forestville, Frederick County, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Greenbelt, Howard County, Hyattsville, Kensington, Lanham, Montgomery County, Montgomery Village, North Bethesda, Prince Georges County, Potomac, Rockville, Silver Spring, Towson, Waldorf, Wheaton, Upper Marlboro.