Unfortunately, thousands of otherwise law abiding Maryland citizens are charged with DUI and DWI each year. Driving while under the influence, or DUI, can be proven by a breath test result of .08 or more or by evidence showing that the driver’s normal coordination has been substantially impaired due to drinking alcohol. Driving while impaired (known as DWI), which is different than driving while under the influence, can be proven by evidence showing that the driver’s normal coordination was impaired to some extent (a lesser extent than DUI), as a result of consumption of alcohol. This offense can also be proven by a test of .07 or more, but less than .08. The maximum penalty for a DWI is 60 days in jail for and a $500 fine for a first offense. A DUI conviction carries 12 points on your MVA record and a DWI conviction carries 8 points on your MVA record. 12 points can lead to revocation, and 8 points can lead to suspension.
Very frequently, clients ask what a PBJ is. A PBJ, technically known as a Probation Before Judgment, is a very common outcome for a first offense DUI or DWI in the state of Maryland. There are many ways to challenge a DUI or DWI in Court and we of course are equipped to make those challenges if necessary. However, the reality is that most people charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland are in fact guilty and, even with the most creative and rigorous defense possible, will still be found guilty of one form of an alcohol related offense or another. So if your case is not dismissed for one reason or another, the best outcome, and a very common outcome, is a probation before judgment. A probation before judgment is not a conviction and therefore you do not receive any points from the MVA. You are placed on a period of probation (usually from 6 months to 2 years depending on the Judge or other factors specific to your case) and required to do certain conditions of probation. The conditions are typically alcohol education or treatment, a fine, community service and a requirement to do a MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) Victim Impact panel meeting, which is a one time session wherein you are required to watch movies and listen to stories told by victims of drunk driving.
People charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland often have questions about their driver’s license. Yes, it can be very confusing. Once you are taken to the local police station, an officer will usually ask if you if you wish to take a breath test. At that point, you have a choice. There is a pink form that the officer is required to read to you, or allow you to read, which explains your rights and consequences regarding taking or refusing the test. If you take a breath test and the result is .07 or lower, nothing happens. You might still be charged in court, but nothing will happen to your driving privilege. If you take a breath test and the result is between .08 and .14, the officer will take your actual license and provide you with a temporary 45 day license. It is a “paper” license and is valid for 45 days. Read it very carefully. It provides you with the right to request a hearing, and in most cases you should. If you request a hearing and it is determined that you did in fact blow between a .08 and .14, a Judge from the Office of Administrative Hearings will suspend your ability to drive for 6 months for a first offense, however, you are entitled to ask for a “modified license” that allows you to drive to and from work, during work, to alcohol treatment, to school and for a few other reasons. If you fail to request a hearing your license will be suspended on the 46 day for a period of 180 days, so request a hearing if you need to drive.
The consequences are more severe if you take a test and blow higher than a .15 or if you refuse to take the test. In Maryland, when taken down to the station and charged with DUI or DWI, if you take a breath test and blow over a .15 or refuse, you are subject to a 9 month suspension without any modifications. That means that you cannot drive anywhere for a period of 9 months. However, the saving grace is that if you choose you can have an ignition interlock machine put in your car and as long as you keep it for one year you can drive whenever and wherever you wish. Call us today if you have any questions about what you should do when a police officer gives you a temporary license.
It is very important to contact a Maryland lawyer within a few days of being charged with a DUI or DWI. At the Ruben Law Firm we will give you a free consultation and tell you exactly what you should be doing with regard to requesting a hearing, your drivers license, alcohol education classes and generally preparing for your hearing.
Driving without a license is an extremely common charge in Maryland, particularly in the largest counties, including Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Howard County. It is illegal to drive without a license and if found guilty a person could face up to 90 days in jail. Can you imagine? 90 days behind bars just for driving without a valid license even if you aren’t breaking any traffic laws? Believe it because people go to jail for driving without a license in Maryland every day. The most important thing that you can do if you are charged with driving without a license is to contact a lawyer immediately. At Ruben Law Firm we have handled literally thousands of these cases over the years. We can help you take the proper steps to obtain a valid license before your court date. Usually the most important thing that a prosecutor or a Judge wants to hear at a court appearance for driving without a license is that you now have a valid license. Sometimes we will postpone your case to give you enough time to obtain a valid license. Most Judge’s in Maryland are not in the business of punishing people severely for driving without a license cases AS LONG as they have a valid license on the court date.
Driving without insurance in Maryland is a very serious offense in Maryland. If you are driving without insurance and seriously injure someone that person’s life could be ruined. At Ruben Law Firm our lawyers have handled hundreds of driving without insurance cases over the years. In many cases our clients come to us and explain for a variety of reasons they did not know that the car was insured. For example, if you are driving someone else’s car and you truly had no reason to believe that the car was not insured, you cannot be found guilty. Or if you genuinely thought you had paid your insurance premium but for some reason your insurance lapsed or was canceled and you were not given notice, the case should be dropped. If you were charged with driving without insurance give us a call. It carries a year in jail, 12 points and a $1000 fine. You should not go to court for a driving without insurance case without a Maryland attorney.
If you have been charged with a DUI and/or DWI anywhere in Maryland, you should contact an attorney right away. There are steps that you need to take within 30 days after receiving a DUI and/or a DWI that could be crucial to the outcome of your case. Even if you don’t have the money to retain an attorney right away, it is still a good idea to seek out a firm like ours to seek advice. When it comes to DUI and DWI, the Maryland Court and administrative system is difficult to navigate, and the only way to really get the answers that you need is to speak with an attorney. Call us today at (410) 766-4044 or fill out a contact form and one of our Maryland DUI attorneys will be happy to discuss your situation with you personally.