No one is perfect, and we do find ourselves in unfortunate situations sometimes. Getting a DUI in Mt. Airy, Maryland can be avoided, but we are here to talk about what happens when it’s not. First-time offenders typically do not receive penalties that are as harsh as those of repeat offenders, but the punishment is still strict, as drinking and driving is very dangerous to the driver, passengers, and everyone else on the road.
There are two primary charges assigned when a person is caught driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle after drinking alcohol:
DUI: Driving Under the Influence
Definition: The more serious of the two, a DUI is issued when a person whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit of .08% is caught driving or attempting to drive a vehicle. Drivers who are substantially impaired by a controlled substance are also at risk a DUI conviction when they decide to get behind the wheel.
1st Offense DUI Convictions: Maximum of one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. If transporting a minor passenger, the penalties both double. Although drug and alcohol treatment isn’t mandatory for your first offense, any time spent in treatment will likely count towards your jail sentence.
DWI: Driving While Impaired
Definition: A DWI is issued when there is proof that the drugs or alcohol consumed by the driver affected, to some extent, their ability to properly and safely operate a motor vehicle.
1st Offense DWI Convictions: Maximum of two months in jail and $500 in fines. If transporting a minor passenger, there is a maximum of six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. Just like with a DUI, treatment isn’t required but time spent will count towards jail sentence.
MVA & State Penalties
There are two sets of penalties that come with DUI/DWI convictions. If you’re caught with a 1st offense DUI or DWI in Mt. Airy, you’ll first receive a reprimand from the state of Maryland. Once the courts are aware of your conviction, they are required to report all convictions for intoxicated driving to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). The majority of the time, a first offender will receive a maximum of 6 months’ suspension of their MD driver’s license. However, they may also be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in their vehicles for some time.
After Maryland police officer Noah Leotta was struck and killed by an intoxicated and impaired driver, The Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016 – also known as Noah’s Law – was put into effect. This act establishes the expansion of Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program, which fixes a device to the vehicle’s ignition and does not allow the car to start once it detects a certain level of alcohol on the driver’s breath. Under Noah’s Law, first-time offenders receiving a DUI (or a DWI while transporting a minor under 16 years of age) conviction must participate in the Ignition Interlock Program for 6 months.
Staying safe while indulging in alcohol is of utmost importance, but if you make unsafe decisions and are convicted of either a DUI or DWI, give The Law Office of Ross W. Albers a call. We have many years of experience in assisting first-time offenders of these and other crimes in Mt. Airy, MD and surrounding areas with the legal help and representation they need to ensure just treatment by the courts. Contact us today to learn more.