How Exactly Is A DUI Defined In Maryland?
A DUI is driving or attempting to drive any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Of course, driving and under the influence of alcohol have their own specific definitions.
What Can Someone Expect After They Have Been Pulled Over On Suspicion Of DUI?
There is always going to be a basis for a traffic stop. There must be some sort of violation before an officer can pull you over. He will make initial contact with you and ask you for your license and registration. At that point, if he suspects an alcohol related offense, he is going to be observing your person. He is looking for things like bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, or dexterity issues. He has to have what is called reasonable, articulable suspicion that you are either impaired or under the influence of alcohol. If he does, the officer is going to ask you to do the standard field sobriety tests. Those are completely voluntary. A lot of individuals don’t know that you can refuse them. Police officers are not obligated to inform you of your right to refuse but you can refuse them.
There are three standard sobriety tests. The first one is the horizontal gaze nystagmus, where they check your eyes. That’s followed by the walk and turn test and then the one leg stand. Based on the observations from those tests, you are either going to be placed under arrest for a DWI or DUI or not. They can also ask you for a preliminary breath test, which would be a roadside Breathalyzer. These are inadmissible in court but they give officers a guide, if they think that you are under the influence or impaired. If you are arrested, you are going to be transported to the station, be advised of your rights to a chemical breath test, and then either booked in jail or released to a sober adult.
What Happens If Someone Refuses A Breath Or A Blood Test?
It’s completely within your rights to refuse a breath or blood test. However, there will be ramifications with the Motor Vehicle Administration. Depending your BAC, if you refuse in the state of Maryland, you either have to take a mandatory license suspension or enroll in the ignition interlock program. A lawyer can be very helpful at MVA hearings to help you get your license back.
What Are The Penalties Associated With A DUI Conviction In Maryland?
A first offense DUI carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine whereas a first offense DWI carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Typically, in a routine first time DUI or a DWI, if you have a good driving record, you get the benefit of probation before judgment, where you would request unsupervised probation if you have completed your alcohol classes. In second or third offenses, typically, the state does ask for incarceration time. Getting convicted of a DUI or a DWI can also cause your license to be suspended or revoked. It’s important to have a lawyer because there are ramifications outside of the actual criminal case.
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