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Drunk and impaired driving is viewed by the legislature, law enforcement, and courts as a public health and safety issue. It puts both those who are driving, and those who are on the road, at serious risk. On average each year in Maryland, there are 7,884 impaired driving crashes, resulting in 171 fatalities and 4,026 injuries. There are four possible charges for impaired driving; driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired by alcohol, driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcohol, and driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substances.

Testing: Impairment is determined by the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), a blood test for other substances, observations by a trained law enforcement officer, and/or standardized field sobriety tests. BAC can be affected by several factors including gender, body weight, the amount of alcohol in the drink, the amount of food consumed with the alcohol, and the passage o time. Maryland has statutory limitations for BAC. If you blow a .06, there is no presumption of impairment. Below that, there is a presumption that the driver was not impaired. At .07, there is a presumption that the driver is impaired and .08 above presumes the driver is under the influence.

Sentencing: Sentences vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction, the judge imposing the sentence, whether the driver has any prior offenses, and whether the driver may have caused an accident. Possible sentences range from probation to three years. Conditions of probation may include a state certified alcohol education or rehabilitation course, a MADD Victim Impact Panel, Community Service, AA meetings, fines, and court costs.

The MVA: The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will also seek penalties as a result of impaired driving. Drivers face points, suspension of one’s privilege to drive, possible imposition of the interlock device on one’s vehicle, and even revocation of one’s driving privilege. Alleged impaired drivers are entitled to a hearing to determine MVA penalties. Often drivers can accept the interlock for a period of time in lieu of attending a hearing.

Because of the severe consequences of impaired driving, you should hire an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can assist you in getting the treatment you need, advise you regarding how to best prepare for court, and help you in navigating the often difficult world of the MVA. If you have been charged with impaired driving, contact the Law Offices of Debra A. Saltz at 410-346-3577 to schedule your consultation.

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