DUI and DWI Charges and Penalties

Veteran Trial Attorneys Providing DUI/DWI Legal Assistance Throughout the Metropolitan Areas of Washington, D.C. & Annapolis, MD

A charge of drunk driving can do more than get you a fine and a few days in jail. It can cause you to lose your driving privileges for weeks, months or even years. It can limit your ability to keep or find a job and strain relationships with friends and family. And if you have injured somebody in a DUI accident, it can haunt you for the rest of your life.

At Hartel, DeSantis & Howie, LLP, our attorneys for drunk driving defense help people in Anne Arundel County and Montgomery County who have been charged with a DUI offense. Our goal is to help you keep your license and keep you out of jail. We work to minimize fines and penalties – whether this is your first offense or not.

One way in which we do that is to challenge evidence in the DUI case. Breathalyzers are often not correctly calibrated, and sobriety field tests may have been incorrectly administered. We look for every weakness in the prosecution's case and use it to your advantage.

With so many colleges in the area, we also defend students and young people who are charged with an underage DUI – providing strategies to have charges dismissed where possible and mitigating additional penalties that a school may impose.

What Could You be Facing for a DUI/DWI Charge?

Across the nation, public outcry has meant an increase in the penalties assessed for drunk driving charges. Maryland is no exception – in fact, Maryland has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the country. A DUI/DWI first offense in Washington, D.C. or Annapolis, MD – or anywhere throughout the metropolitan area – is no longer considered a slap-on-the-wrist charge. Fines, jail time, interlock devices and loss of driving privileges now go with the territory.

At the Hanover, MD law firm of Hartel, DeSantis & Howie, LLP, our attorneys for defending against drunk driving charges want you to know what you could be facing for a first-time offense, a second offense or repeat offense DUI/DWI charge. If you have been charged or arrested, make sure you protect your rights by calling us at (443) 749-5111 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced DUI/DWI defense lawyer.

Maryland DUI/DWI Laws and Penalties

Many people are confused by the terms DUI and DWI, and in many places they are used interchangeably. However, in Maryland, they are two separate and distinct charges. A DUI (driving under the influence) charge means that your blood alcohol level (BAC) is .08 or greater. A DWI (driving while intoxicated) means that your blood alcohol level is .07. In most states, that does not make you legally drunk. In Maryland, it does.

Penalties for the more serious charge of DUI include:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • A 45-day license suspension
  • For a second offense, jail time increases to up to two years in jail, fines go up to as much as $2,000, and license suspension increases to up to one year
  • Maryland instituted additional DUI laws in October of 2010, including mandatory participation in the interlock program. The court can order you to participate in this program for any reason.

Penalties for a DWI include:

  • Potential jail sentence of up to 45 days for a first offense and up to one year for a second offense
  • A $500 fine for a first offense, and an additional $500 for a second offense
  • Up to 60-day license suspension
  • Eight points on your license

To learn more about options when facing a DUI or DWI charge, contact our Hanover defense lawyers

To schedule a free consultation with Hartel, DeSantis & Howie, LLP, please contact us online or call us at (443) 749-5111. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We fight aggressively for clients throughout the suburban Maryland region.