The Baltimore DWI defense lawyers at The Bishop Law Group know that everyone makes mistakes. If you were charged with a DWI, you deserve experienced representation. In some states, DWI is classified as a traffic offense. But, in Maryland, it is classified as a crime. If you get convicted of DWI in Maryland, you will face steep penalties, and having a DWI conviction on your criminal record could negatively impact your life for years to come.
Given the substantial penalties for DWI convictions in Maryland, it is important to defend yourself by all means available. There are several potential defenses to DWI charges, and an experienced attorney can assert all available defenses on your behalf.
Our team has extensive experience with these complex cases. If you are facing a DWI or DUI charge in Maryland, it is in your best interest to contact our office as soon as possible.
Here is a look at what can happen if you don’t fight your Maryland DWI:
DWI vs. DUI in Maryland
It is important to note that DWI and DUI are not the same things in Maryland. Driving while impaired (DWI) is the lesser of the two offenses. While driving under the influence (DUI) requires evidence that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.08% or above, DWI only requires evidence that your ability to drive was impaired by your consumption of alcohol. This means that you can face a DWI charge in Maryland even if your BAC is below 0.08%.
Drunk Driving Penalties in Maryland
You were arrested for drunk driving in Maryland, and you are facing a DWI or DUI charge. What penalties are on the table? If you are found guilty, you could face penalties including:
1. Jail Time
If you get convicted of DWI in Maryland, you can face up to two months of jail time as a first-time offender. If you have a prior DWI conviction on your record, you could go to jail for up to a year.
If you get convicted of DUI, you can face up to a year in jail as a first-time offender. Repeat offenders can face up to two years behind bars.
First-time and repeat DWI offenders in Maryland can be fined up to $500. For DUI charges, fines start at $1,000 and increase to $2,000 for a second offense.
3. Driver’s License Points
If you are found guilty of DWI in Maryland, you will have eight points added to your driver’s license. If you are found guilty of DUI, you will have 12 points added to your driver’s license.
4. Driver’s License Suspension
First-time DWI offenders in Maryland can lose their driver’s license for up to six months. Repeat offenders can lose their driver’s license for nine months to a year. However, if you are under 21, the driver’s license suspension period increases to one year for a first-time offense and two years for a subsequent conviction.
DUI convictions in Maryland carry a six-month driver’s license suspension for a first-time offense and up to a one-year driver’s license suspension for repeat offenders.
Additional Consequences of a Drunk Driving Conviction in Maryland
In addition to these statutory penalties, individuals who are convicted of DWI and DUI in Maryland can face a variety of other consequences. For example, in addition to jail time, fines, points, and loss of driving privileges, a drunk driving conviction can also lead to:
1. Increased Auto Insurance Costs
With a DWI conviction on your record, you can expect your auto insurance rates to increase significantly. You will have to pay these increased rates for several years, and the total costs will far exceed the fines imposed in court.
2. Employment Challenges
Having a DWI conviction can also make it more difficult to find gainful employment. You will be disqualified from certain job opportunities, and other employers will consider your criminal record when deciding whether to hire you or someone else.
3. Housing and Financing Challenges
Landlords and banks will consider your criminal record when deciding whether to offer you a lease or extend you a loan. Just like employers, these businesses can examine your criminal background, and many will choose not to consider your application if you have a record.
4. Education, Travel, and Immigration Challenges
Colleges and universities can impose their own discipline on students who get convicted of DWI, and they can consider applicants’ criminal backgrounds as well. A DWI conviction can also impair your ability to travel; and, if you are a foreign citizen, a DWI conviction could lead to immigration consequences up to and including removal (deportation).
A drunk driving conviction can change your life forever. Don’t risk your future by facing the charges alone. Our attorneys will fight aggressively to protect your rights and best interests.
If you are facing a DWI charge in Maryland, we strongly recommend that you speak with a lawyer about your case. To speak with a Baltimore DWI defense lawyer at The Bishop Law Group, call (410) 390-3101 or tell us how we can reach you online now. We serve clients throughout Maryland, including Baltimore, Ocean City, and other areas.