The Fourth of July and Labor Day celebrations are an American tradition. Many people gather with loved ones to barbecue, swim, and have some drinks. It is important that if you plan to drink during a party or gathering, not to drive under the influence. Drinking and driving is a very serious offense in the state of Maryland. Doing so can put yourself and many others in harm’s way. Maryland has two categories of drunk driving crimes: Driving Under the Influence and Driving While Impaired. If you are pulled over for drunk driving, it is important to know what you are facing.
Consequences of a DWI
Driving While Impaired (DWI) is charged to drivers who are pulled over with a blood alcohol content (BAC) between 0.07 and 0.08 percent or otherwise impaired. If you find yourself in this situation, you can be subject to the following penalties for a first time DWI conviction:
- A fine up to $500
- Eight points on your driver’s license
- Up to 60 days in jail
It is important to know that if you are convicted of a DWI for a second time, the penalties can increase.
Consequences of a DUI
A person may be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if they are caught driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Drivers should know that penalties for a DUI are different than those of a DWI. The consequences of being charged with a DUI are more severe. For a first offense DUI conviction, a driver may face the following:
- A fine of $1000
- 12 points on your driver’s license
- Up to one year in jail
Similar to a DWI, the consequences a driver may face for a DUI charge can increase for subsequent offenses.
Field Sobriety Tests
When a driver is pulled over for a suspected DWI/DUI, the law enforcement officer may request that they take field sobriety tests. These tests involve the officer asking the driver to perform certain physical tasks. This can include walking in a straight line or standing with one leg off the ground to determine the driver’s balance. During this time, the officer watches the driver to see if they are showing signs of impairment. It is important to know that in Maryland, drivers are not required to take field sobriety tests. If they refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test to determine their blood alcohol content their license can be suspended for long periods of time.
What To Do If You Are Stopped
In the event that you do find yourself pulled over for drinking and driving on the Fourth of July, Labor Day or any other day, it is important to know how to handle the situation properly.
- Respectfully ask to speak with an attorney before deciding whether to take a test to measure BAC
- Give the officer your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance
- Be polite and respectful to the officer
- Exercise your right to remain silent
Contact our Firm
The Law Offices of Debra A. Saltz has decades of experience representing clients in Howard County, Maryland who have been charged with a crime. If you are facing criminal charges, let our firm explore all possible defenses and fight to protect your future. Contact the Law Offices of Debra A. Saltz today to discuss your case.