Maryland DWI Laws

When you have been charged with a Maryland DWI you have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated. The laws that constitute a DWI begins with operating a vehicle under a certain Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). In Maryland when you are operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or better you are considered driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence.

The increase in alcohol related accidents has prompted stricter laws for individuals that decide to drink and drive hence the penalties that are being handed out are much more severe. When you are charged with a Maryland DWI it is important that you talk with a Maryland DWI lawyer to fully understand the charges and penalties you are facing.

Some of the penalties you may face include:

  • First offense up to $1000.00 fine, probation and/or 1 year imprisonment
  • Second offense up to $2000.00 fine, probation and/or 2 year imprisonment – 12 points on your MVA record.

*Note: These penalties are subject to change…

An example of a Maryland DWI process below

Prior to the arrest:

If you have been pulled over and the arresting officer suspects you have been drinking he or she can administer a field sobriety test. A field sobriety test can sometimes be very demanding and there are certain cases even if you were sober you couldn’t pass such a test. If you decide to decline the test you are automatically assumed guilty and they will charge you for the DWI / DUI.

DWI Arrest:

When you have been charged for a DWI in Maryland it is important that you understand your rights. You have the right to an attorney prior to answering any questions. If you decide to answer questions without seeking legal counsel its important that you don’t answer any questions that could hurt you during the proceedings.

DWI Assessment:

A Maryland DWI attorney can explain to you that depending upon how an arrest was made, the evidence was handled and presented, and allegations related to the case, the accused may have a solid case against the charge. This could result in dismissing a case, keeping out statements or keeping out physical evidence relating to the case. A full assessment can be important because a DWI it could result in hefty fines, suspension of license, and jail time. There are many factors that should be determined in a Maryland DWI charge. First was the arrest legal, how the arrest was conducted, test equipment functioning properly, the field sobriety test administered fairly and reasonably, the evidence handled correctly and did the officers follow correct procedures during the arrest. Other factors could include was there probable cause, was it assumed you were intoxicated or under the influence, faulty tests, were you tested at the right stage of the arrest, and was there correct protocol during the testing phase.

MVA Hearing:

The MVA hearing is scheduled prior to your criminal hearing for the DWI. At this hearing you will want your attorney present. During the hearing the judge will rule for either full driving privileges, a temporary license or terminate your driving privileges until the criminal hearing.

DWI Arraignment:

During this stage the defendant is brought before a judge and read his or her criminal charges. During this process the accused is asked to plead either “guilty” or “not guilty” for the DWI charge. Many DWI cases in Maryland result in a “guilty” plea and the defendant is given probation before judgment (PBJ). If the defendant pleas “not guilty” the judge will announce dates for preliminary hearings, pre-trial motions and than finally a trial date.

Preliminary Hearing:

The Maryland DWI preliminary hearing is held after the arraignment. At the preliminary hearing a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to hold the defendant accountable for the charge. The prosecution has the right to call witnesses and provide evidence at the hearing. Your Maryland DWI lawyer will have the right to cross examine the witnesses and questions the evidence presented to the judge.

Pre-Trial Motions:

The pre-trial motions begin with the defense team and the prosecutors meeting to discuss the trial. Evidence, testimonials and whether the defendant should stand trial. The Maryland DWI attorney will push to get evidence and testimonials eliminated from the case, while the prosecutors will argue that certain information and evidence against the defendant should be used during the trial.

DWI Trial:

Once the trial begins the opening statements are presented by both the prosecution and defense. The prosecution will open with the name of the defendant and the charge. They will speak about the case and why the DWI charges should be enforced to the defendant. The DWI defense team will counter with its opening statement of why defendant is innocent for the assumed charges. The process includes witnesses, testimonials and cross examination for both the prosecution and defense team.

After this stage is completed the prosecution will give its closing statements first. Your DWI lawyer will than have a chance to give his or her closing statements. Shortly after the trial has ended, a verdict will be read of “guilty” or “not guilty.”


4 Responses

  1. Hi there,

    Is this correct ? Only, $1,000 fine and probatio for the first fine ? I thought the current law allows up to $5K fine ?
    Thanks for clarification…

  2. While these fines will eventually change in Maryland, the current fine for a DUI is $1000. You are probably confused because a first offense for a DWI is $500 not $5000.

  3. Quiz

    Ignoring the above facts, and ASSUMING that 10% of all fatal accidents involve a driver with a BAC greater than 0.10 (drunk drivers), that 90% involve only drivers with a BAC < 0.10 (sober drivers), and that only 30% of all drivers IN GENERAL have a BAC greater than 0.10:

    Which driver are you most likely to be killed by? A drunk driver or a sober driver?
    By how much?
    Per mile, which is the most dangerous driver?
    By how much?

  4. I had a DWI in 1991 in PG County. I had PBJ for approx. 6 months. Would this still be in the files as an arrest or is it removed after so many years? Should it be listed when filling out a security clearence?

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