dui law

How Likely Is Jail Time For Your First DUI in Maryland?

Are you concerned about the consequences of a first-time DUI offense in Maryland? It’s a legitimate worry, given that even a first offense can carry severe penalties, including possible jail time. Though unexpected, knowing the legal consequences can guide your decisions and precautions in such situations.

Here, we’ll explore what happens when you get a DUI for the first time, unpacking Maryland’s specific laws and consequences. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect and how to protect yourself.

Understanding DUI Laws in Maryland

Driving while impaired by alcohol is strictly forbidden in the State of Maryland. Engaging in this dangerous behavior could result in arrest, hefty fines, and even imprisonment.

Maryland has a two-tiered drunk driving law that provides for different maximum penalties depending on a driver’s level of alcohol impairment.  These tiers are commonly referred to as Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI) and the lesser charge of Driving While Impaired by Acohol (DWI).

For a DUI, the State must prove EITHER a) the driver a BAC of 0.08% or more, OR b) that alcohol has substantially impaired the driver’s normal coordination.

For a DWI, the State must only prove that alcohol has impaired the person’s normal coordination to some extent.  A driver can be deemed impaired by alcohol regardless of their BAC.

Additionally, if an individual is found to be driving under the influence of drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs, they can also face DUI charges.

In Maryland, individuals who are found guilty of DUI or DWI can be required to have an ignition interlock device to demonstrate that they have not consumed alcohol before their vehicle can be started.

Legal Consequences of a First-Time DUI Offense

So, what happens if you get a DUI for the first time or first offense DUI in Maryland? How likely is jail time for a first-time DUI offense? A first-time DUI offense in Maryland carries the following legal consequences:

  • Up to one year of imprisonment
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Up to Twelve points on your driving record
  • Potential license revocation, suspension or required ignition interlock

In addition to these legal consequences, a DUI conviction can also result in increased insurance premiums and difficulty obtaining employment opportunities. For this reason, seeking an experienced DUI attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and potentially mitigate some of these consequences is essential.

Defending Your Rights After a DUI Charge

If you accumulate 12 or more points, the Motor Vehicle Administration will notify you of your license revocation. This means you will no longer be allowed to operate a motor vehicle in Maryland.

You need to give back your most recent driver’s license to the MVA before the revocation date indicated on the notice. If you fail to return your license on time, the revocation period will be extended by the number of days you delay.

However, you can also request a hearing to defend your rights. During the hearing, you and your attorney can argue why your license should not be revoked, potentially saving you from going through the revocation process.  You may also elect to have an ignition interlock device installed to in lieu of revocation.

If you decide to request a hearing, you are required to fill out and send back the notice, along with the filing fee, within 15 days from the date of the notice. Information on how to request the hearing is provided in the notice. Once your hearing request and fee are received, your revocation will be temporarily postponed until the hearing is finished.

Importance of Hiring a DUI Lawyer

After being charged with a DUI, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure about the next steps. It’s crucial to remember that you have rights, and a highly qualified attorney can help protect them. A skilled DUI lawyer can analyze your case, identify procedural errors, and develop an effective defense strategy.

They can also guide you through the complex legal system, ensuring you understand the charges, possible consequences, and legal options. With their knowledge and experience, they can negotiate with the prosecution to potentially reduce or dismiss your charges.

Ultimately, hiring a DUI lawyer is vital to defending yourself and minimizing potential legal consequences after a first-time DUI offense in Maryland. If you face a first-time DUI charge, don’t hesitate to seek experienced legal counsel. Your future and driving privileges are at stake, and having the right lawyer by your side can make all the difference.

Selecting the Right DUI Lawyer

Choosing the right attorney to represent you in a DUI case can influence the outcome significantly. The following are some factors to consider when choosing a DUI lawyer:

  • Experience and Expertise: Seek a DUI lawyer with substantial experience in handling cases related to driving under the influence. Verify their expertise in DUI laws and regulations to ensure they are well-versed in the nuances of such cases.
  • Track Record: Evaluate the lawyer’s past performance by examining their track record in handling DUI cases. A successful history of achieving positive outcomes for clients indicates their competence.
  • Specialization: Opt for a lawyer specializing in DUI defense rather than a general practitioner. Specialized knowledge of DUI laws ensures a deeper understanding of the legal intricacies involved in such cases.
  • Reputation and Reviews: Research the lawyer’s reputation within the legal community and among past clients. Reading reviews and testimonials can provide insights into their professionalism, communication skills, and overall client satisfaction.
  • Communication and Accessibility: Consider the lawyer’s communication style and accessibility during the legal process. Effective communication and easy accessibility can contribute to a smoother attorney-client relationship and a more successful defense.

Seek Professional Legal Counsel Without Delay

Facing a first-time DUI in Maryland can be an overwhelming experience, but being armed with the right information and representation can make all the difference. Understanding what happens when you get a DUI for the first time and how likely jail time is for the first DUI offense can help prepare you for the challenges ahead.

It’s important not to navigate these waters alone. A qualified and experienced DUI lawyer is paramount in helping to mitigate legal consequences and defend your rights. At Jezic & Moyse, our extensive knowledge and expertise in DUI defense drives us to fight for the best outcomes for our clients. Contact us today to discuss your case and explore your options.

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