Frequently Asked Questions About DUI And DWI In Maryland
The attorneys at The Machin Law Firm, LLC, are members of the National College of DUI Defense and have defended many people in Montgomery and Frederick counties after they’ve been arrested for drunk driving.
What is the difference between a DUI and a DWI?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is the more serious offense. Typically, a DUI means that you had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Driving while impaired (DWI) is a lesser offense. It typically means that your BAC measured at least .06 (but less than .08) and the arresting officer determined you were unsafe to operate a motor vehicle. A DWI can also refer to impairment from drugs. Both are serious offenses, but the penalties are different. A DUI carries more potential jail time, a higher fine and more points against your license.
Should I tell the officer who pulled me over how much I had to drink?
Probably not. Even telling an officer you had “only” one drink can be used against you in a court of law. Admit nothing and instead say, “I prefer not to answer your questions,” or “I need to speak with my attorney before answering your questions.” Remain calm and polite, but do not make incriminating statements. Never hesitate to politely ask for your lawyer. You are entitled to counsel for a DUI.
Should I refuse to blow?
The answer depends on the details of the case and your driving record. According to state law, if you test at a blood alcohol level of .08 or more, you may be charged with a DUI and your driver’s license may be suspended. You can also face other penalties, including mandatory fines and increases in your auto insurance rates. If you refuse the test, however, you can still have your license suspended for up to 120 days (if this is your first offense; longer if this is not your first offense). It is important to have a lawyer assist you through these charges and provide a comprehensive DUI defense.
Should I plead guilty if I blew a .08 BAC?
Maybe not. There are many procedural errors that officers can make that can impact your case. From testing methods to the actual stop, there is always room to review the state’s case against you in discovery. It is important to have an experienced lawyer review these facts as presented to see if an error has been made.
What is the punishment if I am found guilty of drunk driving?
DUI is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. DWI carries lesser penalties: a maximum of 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Many first offenders are able to avoid jail time through a probation before judgment (PBJ) – the criminal penalties are not imposed if the defendant completes probation.
Aside from the criminal penalties, your driving privileges can be restricted in a separate Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) hearing. For a first-time DUI the typical license suspension is 90 days (or 180 days if your BAC was over .15). License suspension for a DWI is a minimum of 45 days.
What is a Probation Before Judgment (PBJ)?
A PBJ offers first-time DUI offenders a chance to accept probation instead of being convicted of DUI. A PBJ is a disposition that allows the court to remove a conviction from your record even if you have been found guilty in your case. There are restrictions for when and how a PBJ can be applied, so discuss these with your attorney.
Can my DUI arrest or conviction records be expunged?
As a general rule, DUI and DWI convictions cannot be expunged. This includes convictions at trial, guilty pleas and PBJs. Records related to a DUI arrest are eligible for expungement only if your case was dismissed or placed on the stet docket (inactive) or you were found not guilty at trial.
Are You Facing DUI Or DWI Charges?
The Machin Law Firm, LLC, provides the skilled and vigorous defense you need to protect your freedom, driving privileges and other aspects of your life. We are committed to fighting to obtain the best possible outcome for your case. Call us at 301-731-2000 or contact us online to schedule a free phone consultation. We have offices in Rockville and Frederick.