Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges are serious offenses. A DUI charge in Maryland alleges that the driver was operating a vehicle while severely impaired by alcohol or drugs. A DWI charge is a less serious offense, alleging that the driver was experiencing some level of impairment due to alcohol or drug consumption.
The Maryland laws for DUI and DWI offenses are:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Blood alcohol content (BAC) test results of 0.08% or higher
- Driving While Impaired (DWI): BAC test results between 0.07% and 0.08%, or a lower reading if the driver is impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol
Under Maryland’s “Zero Tolerance” law for underage drinking, any driver under 21 who has a BAC test result of 0.02% or higher can be charged with a DUI offense.
A DUI conviction has a severe impact on a person’s ability to lead a normal life. These criminal charges can result in driver’s license suspension, heavy fines, jail time, higher car insurance premiums, and difficulty obtaining employment or education prospects. A Maryland court may require you to pay for and attend alcohol education classes, and a DUI conviction would categorize you as a high-risk motorist. A person’s life can be changed drastically.
Finding a trusted Maryland DUI lawyer to explain and protect your rights should be your first priority after DUI charges.
The Baltimore DUI lawyers at Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC offer expert legal representation to Maryland drivers facing DUI charges in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and throughout the state. Our firm’s DUI lawyers are practiced in criminal defense for DUI/DWI charges. Contacting us immediately after your drunk driving arrest can significantly increase your chances of avoiding the harshest punishments or a wrongful conviction.
Get Powerful Representation After DUI Charges in Maryland
The sooner you contact a Baltimore DUI lawyer after your arrest, the more prepared you will be to protect your rights. It is your legal right to speak to an attorney to better understand the DUI charge. Before meeting with a lawyer, don’t admit to any charges or agree to answer any questions. An arrest does not automatically guarantee a conviction. But even before a verdict, your license could be suspended if you failed or refused a breathalyzer test. Act quickly to secure the professional legal guidance of a DUI defense attorney.
The legal representation provided by Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC is dedicated and uncompromising. The DUI attorneys from our law offices have extensive experience handling criminal law cases in the Maryland court system. We are fully prepared to handle drunk driving cases in:
- Baltimore City
- Baltimore County
- Glen Burnie
- Montgomery County
- Harford County
- Howard County
- Prince George’s County
- Anne Arundel County
- Surrounding areas of Maryland
Our Maryland DUI attorneys are ready to defend you in a Maryland district court or circuit court. We know cases are complicated by factors such as whether your arrest was a first or second offense and whether you were transporting a minor in the vehicle at the time of your DUI traffic stop. We offer formidable legal advocacy that helps to protect our clients from lifelong adverse consequences stemming from a Baltimore DUI case.
How Can a Baltimore DUI Lawyer Help Me?
The Maryland DUI attorneys of Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC have the skill and experience necessary to analyze the unique and individual aspects of each drunk driving case we take on. We will examine the circumstances of your DUI traffic stop, your blood alcohol content test results, your past driving records, and the specifics of your DUI charge. It is the burden of the state of Maryland to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt. If there are any discrepancies or errors in your DUI case, we will fight aggressively to ensure your case is given fair treatment.
We will do everything we can to see that you get the most favorable case outcome possible. We offer consultations at our Baltimore, MD office to discuss the matters of your DUI charge. We don’t let any confidential or sensitive information leave this meeting. As a law office experienced in handling DUI defense cases, we know how severely a DUI charge can shatter your life.
Our attorneys will thoroughly study the facts of your DUI or DWI case to identify any defense in your favor. We will look into alternative options that could lessen DUI or DWI penalties and help you keep your driver’s license, reduce fines, or avoid a jail sentence. We can never guarantee a specific outcome without meeting to discuss your case, but past successes of our DUI defense team have shown that we have the legal knowledge to protect our clients’ best interests, no matter how challenging the circumstances.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI or DWI in Maryland?
Under Maryland state law, DUI and DWI penalties can range from driver’s license suspension to fines to jail time. All driving under the influence convictions must also be reported to the Maryland motor vehicle administration. Below is a brief outline of the penalties that frequently accompany a DUI offense in Maryland. Of course, each DWI or DUI case is unique. A Baltimore DUI lawyer from our law firm can go over your case and potential penalties with you in greater detail.
First DUI Offense Penalties in Maryland
Motorists with a blood alcohol content (BAC) test reading of 0.08 or above can be charged with a DUI. And drivers who test below 0.08 but above 0.05 can also be charged with a DUI or DWI. A first offense can result in severe penalties, including:
- Imprisonment up to one year
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Twelve points on your driving record
- Driver’s license revoked for up to six months after the DUI conviction
For a first-time DWI offense, penalties may include up to $500 in fines, up to two months of jail time, eight points on your driving record, and license suspension for six months.
Second DUI Offense Penalties in Maryland
Penalties for a second DUI offense will be stricter than those imposed for a first offense. Getting the help of a DUI lawyer is imperative if you are facing a repeat DUI charge in Baltimore. If you are convicted of a second DUI, penalties may include:
- Fines up to $2,000
- Two years in jail
- Suspended driver’s license for up to one year or more
- Jail time of up to three years and a fine of up to $3,000 if transporting a minor
Furthermore, a district court judge will usually order that you participate in a number of programs if you are convicted of a second drunk driving charge. This includes the Maryland Drinking Driver Monitor Program (DDMP), which is a program “designed to maximize monitoring and reporting to gain compliance with court-ordered treatment or education.” An ignition interlock system that prevents drivers with positive BAC results from starting their vehicles will also likely be mandated.
Third DUI Offense Penalties in Maryland
A third intoxicated driving offense is considered a very serious charge in Maryland courts. Having a skilled DUI lawyer is absolutely necessary if you are facing a third conviction. The more recently your other convictions occurred, the more severe your court-ordered punishments might be. The circumstances of your previous DUI cases will be weighed heavily by the judge when sentencing. Consequences for a third offense can include:
- Up to three years’ jail sentence
- Up to a $3,000 fine
- Twelve points on your license
- Revoked driver’s license
Additionally, it is almost guaranteed that other consequences affecting your reputation and livelihood will be applied if you are convicted. These may include mandatory incarceration periods after arrest, probation periods, the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle, alcohol and drug education and rehabilitation, insurance penalties, and more.
Consequences like these undeniably result in years of lost employment opportunities and education opportunities for convicted offenders. It cannot be understated how important it is to be represented by an experienced DUI lawyer if you face DUI charges in Maryland for a third time.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me Fight DUI Charges?
A DUI conviction can come with an extremely high price tag—in terms of financial devastation, damaged reputation, and lost opportunities in life. A Baltimore DUI lawyer can help you build a strategy for criminal defense that takes into account the actual circumstances of your case in relation to the penalties being proposed.
Your DUI lawyer will protect your rights as an individual person who is more than one mistake, making sure the justice system adheres to all legal and ethical standards in the handling of your case. Our deep familiarity and understanding of Maryland DUI and DWI cases allow us to immediately notice any error or breach of duty committed by law enforcement. If a procedural violation occurred at any point, we will be aware of its impact on your DUI case. An error or violation like this may be enough to have your case dismissed.
If your case cannot be dismissed, it is our goal as your Baltimore DUI lawyers to reduce the impact of a conviction on your life and your future to the highest degree possible. We will look into options such as reduced charges and probation before judgment (PBJ) to provide you with the best options going forward.
What Is Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) in a DUI Case?
Probation before judgment (PBJ) is the option for a person facing criminal charges to be placed on probation before a judgment is entered. This is a benefit that is usually only offered to first-time offenders. But there are instances in which an individual with a prior conviction may be offered a PBJ.
In Maryland, PBJs are only offered for certain crimes, but they are allowed for cases involving DUI/DWI charges. This option can be of great advantage to someone charged with drunk driving. If you successfully follow the terms of the PBJ for the probationary period, you will be granted the benefits that come along with not receiving a DUI conviction.
Those benefits include:
- You won’t have to report a DUI conviction on applications or employer records.
- Your insurance premiums won’t go up because of a drunk driving conviction.
- You won’t have any points added to your driving record.
If you are eligible, the DUI lawyers from Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC can work to help you negotiate a PBJ.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for a DUI in Baltimore County?
All individuals facing a criminal charge have the right to an attorney who can represent them in Baltimore County District Court. This is an essential right that you must be granted if you are arrested on an intoxicated driving charge.
Choosing the right lawyer to represent you is important. You need someone you can trust to put your best interest first. If you hire a good Baltimore DUI lawyer, you can rest assured that your case will reach the most advantageous outcome possible and that you will not be mistreated or taken advantage of in any way over the course of the legal proceedings.
A skilled DUI defense attorney can provide you with:
- Deep familiarity with the Maryland circuit or district court handling your case
- Expert representation and emotional support during your court trial
- Explanation of your legal rights and options and how certain matters should be handled during proceedings
- The ability to spot any procedural or evidentiary issues that could result in your case being dismissed or charges against you dropped
- The knowledge to identify whether your traffic stop was conducted illegally or in a legal manner
- Analysis of discovery materials such as police reports and breathalyzer test results
- The legal insight and negotiation skills to reduce penalties like jail time, having your license suspended, or having an ignition interlock installed on your vehicle
Defenses That May Be Used Against a Baltimore DUI Charge
Without an in-depth understanding of the laws and regulations that apply to DUI cases in Baltimore County and throughout Maryland, it is impossible to identify the violations, errors, or mistakes that may be present in the way your case was handled. It takes a skilled attorney to analyze the records of your traffic stop and arrest to pinpoint any gaps that may be used in your criminal defense.
Based on the answers to questions like the ones below, your Baltimore DUI lawyer may employ one or more technical defense strategies to help you defend your rights in a Maryland DUI/DWI case.
Who Was in Control of the Vehicle?
A court must determine whether the accused was in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. Courts in Maryland generally look to the six factors established in the Atkinson case when weighing whether the defendant was in actual physical control of the vehicle:
- Whether or not the vehicle’s engine is running, or the ignition is on
- Where and in what position the person is found in the vehicle
- Whether the person is awake or asleep
- Where the vehicle’s ignition key is located
- Whether the vehicle’s headlights are on
- Whether the vehicle is located in the roadway or is legally parked
One of these factors alone is not sufficient to make a judgment regarding whether the defendant was in actual physical control of the vehicle—all factors must be given consideration. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your Baltimore DUI lawyer may be able to craft a defense proving that you were not in actual physical control of the vehicle at the time you were arrested on drunk or drugged driving charges.
Did Police Make an Unlawful Stop?
A police officer is not legally allowed to make an initial traffic stop without sufficient grounds for doing so. Any stop made without reasonable suspicion of a crime or traffic violation is illegal. If your traffic stop was illegal, any arrest made as a result will be considered unlawful.
Your DUI lawyers can request evidence from the police station, such as police reports or camera footage, that shows if your traffic stop was made without sufficient grounds. We’ll also examine the merits of any other tickets written along with a DUI or DWI charge, such as for reckless or negligent driving.
Were Breathalyzer or Field Sobriety Test Results Accurate?
The results of field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests may be obtained illegally or polluted by improper protocol. To ascertain whether the test results used to make your arrest are valid, your criminal defense team will ask questions like:
- Was the test equipment properly maintained?
- Was the breathalyzer certified?
- Did police have legal grounds to ask you to perform a test?
- Were regulations and protocol for conducting field sobriety tests adhered to?
- Was the test administered properly?
- Were there any additional factors that could render test results invalid?
Were You Read Your Miranda Rights at the Time of Your Arrest?
The Miranda warning requires that police officers inform you of certain rights before questioning you at the time of an arrest. These rights include the right to remain silent, the right to know that what you say can be used against you in court, and the right to an attorney of your choosing or one appointed by the court.
If police interrogate you without reading you your rights, anything you said during your arrest or at the police station cannot be used as admissible evidence.
Did Police Commit Any Other Error During Your Arrest?
There is always the possibility that a law enforcement officer was careless or negligent in handling your traffic stop and arrest. Errors in these types of procedures are surprisingly common. Any mistake made by police could disqualify evidence against you or provide grounds for your case to be dismissed altogether. Your Baltimore DUI lawyer from Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC will never allow one of these critical mistakes to go unnoticed.
Call the DUI Lawyers Who Fight for the People of Baltimore
After a DUI or DWI charge in Baltimore, MD, you know your first step should be to speak with a lawyer you can trust to fight aggressively and intelligently on your behalf. But choosing the right impaired driving defense lawyer to represent you can sometimes feel like a challenge.
We invite you to schedule a consultation with a Baltimore DUI lawyer at Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC. We build every attorney-client relationship on a foundation of trust and mutual understanding. Your DUI case is not just another case to us, it’s a matter of personal importance. Our defense lawyers understand the enormous impact a DUI or DWI conviction could have on your life. Never risk the outcome of your case. Put your trust in a law firm that has proven its reputation over and over again in Maryland courts.
Don’t wait. Contact us today to discuss your case with a top Baltimore DUI lawyer.