Maryland DUI and DWI Lawyer
DUI or Driving Under the Influence is a common criminal offense. In fact, it is likely one of the more common crimes that people are charged with. And while many people know that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal, Maryland law enforcement officers make daily arrests for DUI and DWI. Getting charged with a DUI or DWI in Maryland will likely be a stressful and frightening ordeal. Colleen Kirby will help put your mind at ease by launching an aggressive defense, fighting for your rights and your freedom.
While on patrol, police are constantly looking for any evidence of impaired driving. If the officer believes they have reasonable suspicion to pull you over, they will likely approach your vehicle with a variety of questions. The questions may include, “Where are you coming from” and “How much have you had to drink?”
Many people are unaware that you are not obligated to answer these questions. Most Maryland criminal defense attorneys would recommend you be cooperative as possible without making statements that could later be used against you. For example, it is important that you provide your driver’s license and registration, but you need not admit to consuming any alcohol.
From your driving behavior to your appearance, speech patterns, and even your scent, police are looking at every factor when gathering evidence for a DUI/DWI case. Many people do not realize that you have the right to hand over your license and registration, explain you are calling your attorney, roll up your window, and discuss what you should or should not do before deciding to step out of the car. The sooner you tell the police that you wish to speak with an attorney, the better you can protect your rights and prevent the police from gathering any further evidence. The field sobriety tests are very difficult to perform, regardless of whether you have been drinking, and they are designed to prove impairment. Admitting to drinking alcohol and taking the field sobriety tests only provide the police with evidence of your impairment when your case goes to court.
Convictions of either a DUI or DWI will have serious consequences and impacts on your ability to drive. The consequences for a DUI arrest are difficult to understand because they consist of possible sanctions by both the Maryland court system and the Motor Vehicle Administration. These are two independent bodies and the penalties are independent of one another. In some cases, the consequences from the MVA can be more devastating that the Court. There is only a 10 day window from the time of your arrest to request a hearing to mitigate or eliminate these penalties. Therefore, it is important to contact a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney immediately to protect your right to drive. Call Colleen Kirby today to talk about the case pending against you and what she can do to help you obtain the best possible outcome.
If you have been convicted of driving under the influence or another drinking related traffic violation, each subsequent violation carries an enhanced penalty. You could also be given an increased sentence if you are found to have an excessive blood alcohol.
A first conviction of driving under the influence will carry a maximum sentence of one year of incarceration, and or fines up to $1,000. If you are subsequently arrested for a second DUI, both maximum penalties will double. You could receive a sentence of up to two-years of incarceration and a fine of up to $2,000. The penalties for a third time conviction are three years of incarceration and/or a fine of $3,000. Further, a conviction for DUI results in the imposition of 12 points on your driving record and therefore the revocation of driving privileges.
Driving while impaired carries lesser possible penalties, however a conviction of this crime also has the potential to do serious damage to your life moving forward. The maximum penalty for a first time DWI in the state of Maryland is two months in jail and/or up to $500 in fines.
A person who is convicted of a violation of Driving Under the Influence within 5 years after a prior conviction of the same offense is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 5 days.
A person who is convicted of a third or subsequent offense under Driving Under the Influence within 5 years is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 10 days.
A person who is convicted of a violation of Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Dangerous Substance within 5 years after a prior conviction of that same offense is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 5 days.
A person who is convicted of a third or subsequent offense under Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Dangerous Substance within 5 years is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 10 days.
Many people believe the Maryland Courts have the authority to take away your driving privileges. For the most part, that is incorrect. The only way the Courts can take away your driving privileges is when a conviction (versus a Probation Before Judgment) is entered in your case. In that event, points are assessed on your license by the MVA. Depending on the number of points, the MVA can suspended or even revoke your privilege to drive. If you receive a Probation Before Judgment in the Court system, the MVA will not assess any points.
In Maryland, an arrest for DUI/DWI can instantly affect the status of your driver’s license. If you refuse or fail a breathalyzer test, the result is an automatic suspension of your driver’s license on the 46th day after you were pulled over. The police will confiscate your license and issue a temporary one that is good for 45 days.
You must request a MVA hearing within ten days of your arrest. After your hearing request is received, you receive an extension letter that allows you to retain your driving privileges until the hearing date. You must have both your temporary license and extension letter with you while driving.
If you are charged with a Maryland DUI/DWI, but fail to request an MVA hearing within ten days, your driving privileges are suspended. If you request a hearing after more than ten days, but in less than thirty days, this may result in a license suspension, pending your MVA hearing.
As for taking the breath test, there are a number of options. If you take the breath test and blow a .08 or above, but below and .15, there is a possibility that you can have hearing and receive a work/school restricted license. If you take the test and blow above a .15, the only way to avoid a license suspension is to have the ignition interlock installed on your vehicle for a one (1) year period. Likewise, if you refuse the breath test, the only way to avoid a license suspension is to have the ignition interlock installed on your vehicle for a one (1) year period. However, if you refuse a breath test, along with the field sobriety tests, the State will have a much more difficult time proving your impairment.
During a MVA hearing, Colleen Kirby can fight to prevent any suspension from being imposed. She can raise the issue as to whether you were properly advised about MVA sanctions named above. By law, police offers are required to read or allow you to read all of the possible sanctions associated with taking or refusing the Breathalyzer. Ms. Kirby can also challenge incorrectly administered tests.
The most important thing to remember is that in order to protect your right to drive, you MUST REQUEST A HEARING WITH THE OFFICE OF ADMISTRATIVE HEARINGS WITHIN 10 DAYS OF YOUR ARREST!!!
Colleen Kirby is an aggressive Maryland criminal defense attorney and can assist you with both the MVA hearing as well as your criminal case.