Statistics show that more than 20,000 drivers in Maryland are arrested for drunk driving every year. And for every one of those 20,000 people arrested for DWI, there is a drunk-driving defense law firm wanting to represent them in court. These law firms all make claims as to why you should hire them if you’ve been charged with DUI. For example, I often claim to stand by my clients.
When caught for drunk driving alone, the penalties may not be that stiff. They differ depending on many different factors, such as how many similar charges you may have on your record. However, the charges can get to be more harsh if you are also involved in an accident, and they go up even higher if someone else is killed in that accident.
These laws are not mandated by the federal government, but work on a state-by-state basis. According to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, or MADD, the approximate sentence that one would get for a deadly DUI crash in Maryland ranges from zero to five years. This is an estimate, so sentences have been given out that do not fall into this range, but it still gives you a rough idea of what is expected. DWIs have evolved over the years as to how the Legislature dictates punishment and procedure. Alcohol and traffic tickets have become a front runner in Maryland political spotlight. The potential punishment of a conviction with a alcohol offense is enormous.
There are many factors that come into play in DUI/DWI cases. These factors can influence the outcome of a case, including the penalties. Since 1992, I’ve represented clients in Baltimore and throughout Maryland against all types of impaired-driving charges, including:
- First-time offenses. The majority of DUI/DWI cases involve first-time offenses, in which the driver made a mistake by getting behind the wheel. Unfortunately, the highly-charged nature of drunk driving law makes even first-time offenses a problem for those who want to keep their driving records clean and their insurance rates down.
- Felony charges. Drivers with a history of DUI are more likely to be charged with a felony-level offense. Moreover, if an impaired driver causes a car accident involving injury or death, felony charges are almost certain to result. Significant jail time is a distinct possibility if you’ve been charged with a felony.
- Driver’s license suspension. Almost all DUI/DWI cases threaten the loss – either temporary or permanent – of your privilege to drive. After an arrest for DUI, you have 10 days to request an MVA hearing to argue against the suspension of your driver’s license.
- DUI involving drugs. The police are trained to suspect other causes of impaired driving other than alcohol. Driving under the influence of a drug like marijuana or prescription drugs can also result in charges with similar consequences.
DUI/DWI has become a relatively complex criminal traffic offense. Maryland lawmakers and the police aggressively target all forms of impaired driving involving alcohol and drugs, which means that DWI/DUI penalties in Maryland seem to get worse every year. In other words, DUI/DWI (first, second, or third offense) is as much a political issue as it is a traffic offense, and prosecutors take a hard line.
That doesn’t mean you can’t do something to protect yourself after you’ve made a mistake by getting behind the wheel after a few drinks. If you’ve been charged with DUI/DWI and are concerned about the penalties associated with DWI/DUI you’d like a free consultation, call.
MD DUI Vehicular Homicide
It’s not always clear exactly what led to a serious car accident in which someone has lost their life. Sometimes, accidents are simply accidents, but in every accident there will be someone looking to blame the other.
And if there is evidence that drinking and driving was involved, for instance, a prosecutor may seek to charge you with negligent homicide. The charges are serious, and if they stick, you face serious consequences, from the loss of your driver’s license to heavy fines and jail time.
If you caused an accident in which someone was killed, you could be charged with negligent vehicle homicide if you were doing any of the following:
- Reckless driving, like drag-racing
- Distracted driving, like texting
- Maryland drunk driving or drugged driving
The authorities take fatal accidents seriously. You certainly did not intend to harm anyone – and may even be surprised to face criminal charges – but you can even be charged with negligent vehicle homicide for falling asleep behind the wheel.
Drunk Driving Charges
DUI/DWI cases come in every shade of gray. It’s just like an attorney to say that, but it’s true. I’ve defended people who got into DUI trouble for the first time in their lives. And I’ve defended people with a history of impaired driving.
I’ve also defended drivers whose lives and cases depended on the level of their blood alcohol content when they were pulled over – whether it was just above or just below the legal limit.
In fact, it is because there is such a thing as a legal limit that not all DUI cases are created equal. Every driver accused of drunk driving deserves an aggressive legal defense, whether it’s getting the charges reduced in a plea bargain or taking the case all the way to trial.