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Maryland DWI Attorney

Drinking and driving is a serious crime in Maryland, and it is treated seriously by law enforcement and Maryland prosecutors. There are, technically, four types of charges that deal with intoxicated driving. Most people are familiar with the fact that driving with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent is considered driving under the influence (DUI). People are often less informed, however, on the standards and penalties of the broader category of driving while impaired (DWI). You can be charged with a DWI when your BAC is below 0.08. In addition, even if you refuse to take a BAC test you can be charged with DWI charges for driving while impaired by drugs or controlled dangerous substances. For the foregoing reasons, it is vital that you contact a Maryland DWI lawyer with substantial experience handling DUI and DWI cases.

Your license may be immediately suspended, providing you a ten-day window in which you or your attorney must request a hearing with the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings to be granted temporary driving privileges. If you do not submit this request, your driving privileges could be suspended until your trial. Pursuant to Maryland’s Implied Consent Law, if you are pulled over on suspicion of Driving While Intoxicated and do not submit to a breathalyzer test, your license can be confiscated automatically for 120 days. For this reason, you should also ask about how a DWI attorney can help with MVA hearings.

What is Driving While Impaired?

DWI Lawyer in MarylandDriving while impaired can fall into three distinct charges. First, the straightforward driving while impaired by alcohol charge usually comes into play when a person blows a BAC between 0.07 and 0.08. Section 21-902(b). This is essentially a less serious version of a DUI charge. Second, a driver can be charged with driving while impaired by alcohol and drugs even when blowing a relatively low BAC. Section 21-902(c). Third, a driver can be charged with driving while impaired by dangerous controlled substances — a serious criminal offense. Section 21-902(d).

Driving While Impaired by Alcohol: 21-902(b)

Maryland law establishes a presumption that a driver is impaired by alcohol when he or she blows a BAC between 0.07 and 0.08. Furthermore, even when a driver blows a BAC below 0.07, the government may provide evidence of impairment (e.g., field sobriety test results, officer testimony, driving behavior).

The penalties for this DWI charge are lighter than DUI penalties.

DWI Penalties 1st Conviction 2nd Conviction
No Minor in Vehicle Up to 60 days in jail, a fine of $500, or both. Up to one year in jail, a fine of $1,000, or both.
Minor in Vehicle Up to six months in jail, a fine of $1,000, or both. Up to one year in jail, a fine of $2,000, or both.

Driving While Impaired by Alcohol and Drugs: 21-902(c)

Here, the term “drugs” refers to substances that do not fall within Schedule I-V controlled substances (more information on Schedules here). Thus, this charge would apply when an individual has taken (largely over-the-counter) substances that might impair one’s ability to drive. This could include certain sleeping aids and allergy medication.

Alternatively, this charge could apply when a driver has taken legally prescribed medication, particularly when that medication interacts with alcohol. The penalties for a 21-902(c) DWI charge are the same as a typical DWI. It is common for law enforcement in certain areas to tack on 21-902(c) charges whenever a driver blows a low BAC or refuses to take a roadside Breathalyzer test.

Driving While Impaired by Controlled Dangerous Substances: 21-902(d)

The term “controlled dangerous substances” is explicitly defined as substances that fall within Schedule I through Schedule V. The major exception, however, is medication that has been legally prescribed to a driver. In such a case, the most appropriate charge would be a 21-902(c) DWI.

A 21-902(d) DWI charge is more serious than other DWIs. Specifically, the penalties parallel DUI penalty progression. In addition, this charge is often accompanied by charges of drug possession. Details on penalties are available here (include link).

Importance of Experienced DWI Representation

In Maryland it is very important to retain a lawyer with extensive experience in DUI and DWI cases. Building a strong defense requires a Maryland DWI attorney who knows how to find and attack the weakest points in the government’s case. Furthermore, local attorneys can provide valuable, and sometimes indispensable, context to the case. For more information on the value of a local DWI lawyer, read Mr. Tayter in his own words here (include link).

Although it is rare to receive a maximum penalty, it is nonetheless common for drivers to receive penalties out of proportion with the underlying facts. Contacting a Maryland DWI lawyer will ensure that you have a skilled and knowledgeable party in your corner. Mr. Tayter is just such an attorney and he will work vigorously to mitigate the impact of any DWI charge. Call his Maryland law office today.

If you have been pulled over and charged with drunk driving, be it DWI or any other criminal violation, our attorneys have experience representing their clients and obtaining positive results in their cases. We will be able to help you at trial, and we will also make sure that you are as prepared as possible throughout the course of your journey through the judicial system. We understand that the system can be confusing for you, especially if this is your first experience with the law. We want to make sure that you are as comfortable with the process and as knowledgable about our strategy as you can possibly be. We will explain the fine points of the laws you are accused of violating as well as the specific charge the state has levied against you. Call a Maryland DWI attorney in our office today for more information regarding your case.

Our attorneys have handled cases in this area of law and, just as importantly, in the courtrooms where your case will ultimately go to trial if it reaches that stage. We will be able to look ahead and foresee any obstacles or issues that might arise. We understand what the state needs to prove before they can convict, and we are familiar with strategies to use to poke holes in the state’s evidence. We know the judges who might hear your case and what they look for in these trials.  If you need help handling your defense against a DWI charge in the state of Maryland, allow Ed Tayter and the MD DWI attorneys with our firm to work for you. Call us today for a free consultation.