A Montgomery County DUI and Traffic Lawyer Can Help You Get Your Life Back

Most of us have gotten traffic tickets, and some have been charged with DUIs. Unfortunately, both offenses can carry significant fines and consequences depending on the severity. You can face fines, insurance rate impacts, suspension of your driver’s license, and/or jail time. Considering these very real consequences, you should contact a Montgomery County DUI and traffic offenses lawyer as soon as possible.

Traffic Offenses in Maryland

Under Maryland law, there are two different types of traffic offenses: (1) payable offenses and (2) must-appear offenses. Both types have different penalties and strategies for handling them. Nonetheless, even apparently benign traffic offenses may carry serious consequences, so your first call should be to a Montgomery County traffic offenses lawyer at Meyers Defense. 

Payable Offenses

According to the Maryland Courts, payable offenses are commonly issued for minor traffic violations and can be handled within 30 days after receipt of the citation in one of four ways:

  • Paying the full fine and pleading “guilty” 
  • Requesting to enter into a payment plan 
  • Asking for a waiver hearing to plead “guilty with an explanation” 
  • Asking for a trial to plead “not guilty”

Must-Appear Offenses

Must-appear traffic offenses tend to be more serious and carry the possibility of incarceration. DUIs are likely the most common type of must-appear offenses. If a person is charged with a must-appear traffic offense, he or she cannot simply pay the fines. Rather, they must appear in court on the date and time listed on a notice received in the mail.

Suspended Licenses

In Maryland, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) suspends driver’s licenses most often due to driving-related matters using a point system. Nonetheless, some actions that are not vehicle-related may also trigger a license suspension. Some of the most common reasons drivers lose their license includes:

  • Accumulating too many points on your driver’s license.
  • Multiple unresolved traffic tickets.
  • Driving under the influence.
  • Failing to pay child support.
  • Failure to appear in court.
  • Failure to pay traffic tickets, fines, and court costs.
  • Driving without auto insurance.
  • Being disqualified due to some psychological or physical condition.
  • Driving with a suspended license can add more time to your existing suspension.

Like most crimes, there are defenses available. For example, the state needs to show that you were suspended and that you knew or should have known that your license was suspended. The fact that the MVA mailed a notice to the last known address creates a presumption that you knew that your license was suspended, but that is a rebuttable presumption. You can argue that you had no idea and that you didn’t receive proper notice that your license was suspended, which is a defense in a driving suspended case.

Hit-and-Run in Maryland

Every driver involved in an accident resulting in property damage, injury, or death is required by law to remain at the scene until they have complied with the obligations stipulated in Maryland Transportation Code § 20-104:

  • Rendering reasonable assistance to any injured person.
  • Calling 911 for an ambulance or other transportation to receive medical assistance for anyone who obviously requires medical attention or requests it.
  • Provide your name, address, vehicle registration number, and driver’s license if requested to any person injured in the accident or any person attending the damaged property.
  • Provide the same information plus ID to any responding law enforcement.
  • If it is not possible to complete the above two items, immediately report the accident to law enforcement and provide the information required by Section 20-104.

The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident may include eight to 12 points as well as fines and incarceration. However, a Montgomery County traffic offenses lawyer at Meyers Defense may be able to challenge the identification and have the charges against you dropped or reduced.

Reckless Driving

In Maryland, reckless driving is considered driving a motor vehicle:

  • In wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property; or
  • In a manner that indicates a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.

A person convicted of reckless driving is subject to a fine not exceeding $ 1,000.

Negligent Driving is defined as driving a motor vehicle in a careless or imprudent manner that endangers any property or the life or person of any individual. Determining whether your conduct rose to the level of negligence or recklessness is entirely up to the officer on the scene, but once in court, it is the judge who decides whether you are actually guilty of the offense or not. A Montgomery County traffic offenses lawyer at Meyers Defense may be able to convince the judge that your conduct did rise to the level of recklessness.

Speeding

Maryland’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed that, concerning the actual and potential dangers existing, is more than that which is reasonable and prudent under the conditions. If the absolute speed limit is 50 miles per hour and you drive faster than that, you’ve violated the law. Unless otherwise posted, Maryland’s absolute speed limits prohibit motorists from driving faster than certain speeds under certain circumstances.

DUIs in Maryland

Types of Infractions

In Maryland, there are two types of drinking and driving offenses. 

  • DUI (driving while under the influence). A person who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater is assumed to be under the influence of alcohol.
  • DWI (driving while impaired). A person who has a blood alcohol concentration of .07 is assumed to be impaired by alcohol. 

Driving while impaired by drugs (even legal drugs), drugs and alcohol, or dangerous controlled substances like marijuana is also a crime. Driving with any combination of drugs and/or alcohol that prevents you from driving safely is illegal. A person under the age of 21 who drives with any alcohol in their system is breaking the law.  If that person is caught, they will be arrested and charged with a DUI. The consequences of a DUI conviction can severely impact your life and future, and it is important to immediately contact a Montgomery County DUI attorney if you are facing accusations. 

General Penalties for Infractions

Maryland’s Impaired Driving penalties can be harsh, and every case is different. But, generally speaking, they are imposed as follows:

DUI Penalties

  • First Offense: Up to one year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and up to six months suspension of license.
  • Second Offense: Up to two years in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, and up to nine months suspension of license.
  • Third Offense: Up to five years in jail, up to $5,000 in fines, and up to 12 months suspension of license.

Carrying a passenger under 18 years old can add up to $1,000 in fines and up to one year.

DWI Penalties

  • First Offense: Up to two months in jail, up to $500 in fines, and up to six months suspension of license.
  • Second Offense: Up to one year in jail, up to $500 in fines, and up to nine months suspension of license.
  • Third Offense: Up to five years in jail, up to $5,000 in fines, and up to 12 months suspension of license.

Carrying a minor passenger may extend the maximum of one year in jail and $1,000 in fines for a first offense and a maximum of two years in jail and $2,000 in fines for a second offense. It is important to have a Montgomery County DUI attorney in your corner to advocate for less harsh penalties. 

Implied Consent Suspensions

Maryland’s implied consent law states all drivers give implied consent to a breath or blood test when they obtain their driving licenses. If the driver fails or refuses a test, the officer will seize the driver’s license, issue a temporary license, and forward the results to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).

Suspension Periods

For test failures, drivers with at least a BAC of .08% face a 180-day suspension, regardless of the number of prior offenses. Drivers with a BAC of .15% or more face a 180-day suspension on a first offense and a 270-day suspension for a second or subsequent violation. For refusals, a driver will be suspended for 270 days. Refusing drivers who have a prior violation will be suspended for two years.

Ignition Interlock Program and Hardship Licenses

Maryland’s ignition interlock device (IID) is a mechanism that allows participants to drive while suspended. An IID is mandatory for offenders who are convicted of:

  • An alcohol-related DUI.
  • Any intoxicated driving conviction if the driver was under 21 years old,
  • Any intoxicated driving conviction with a passenger under 16 years old, and
  • An alcohol-related DWI if the driver has had a DWI/DUI that occurred within the last five years.

For these offenses, the IID program is generally six months for a first offense, one year for a second offense, and three years for a third offense. Successful completion of the IID program can result in the early reinstatement of the driver’s license. Drivers who aren’t required to participate in the ignition interlock program can voluntarily apply to the program. If accepted, the driver will be permitted to drive with the use of an IID and will be eligible for early reinstatement after completing:

  • 180 days with an IID if the DUI/DWI involved a BAC of .08% to .14%
  • one year with an IID if the DUI/DWI involved a BAC of .15% or more, or
  • one year with an IID if the driver refused a chemical test.

Suspended motorists can also apply for a hardship license, which allows driving with some restrictions if their BAC was under.15%.

Felony DUI

In some states, repeat DUI offenses may be increased from misdemeanors to felonies. In Maryland, however, even repeat DUI offenses remain misdemeanors but with gradually increasing penalties. For first offenders, you can manage to avoid jail time, but jail time becomes inevitable as your DUIs stack up.

While any DUI itself is a misdemeanor, you may face other felony charges related to your DUI, such as manslaughter or assault related to a DUI accident if someone died or was injured.

Drug DUI

In Maryland, a person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while any controlled dangerous substance impairs the person if the person is not entitled to use the controlled dangerous substance. Additionally, they may be charged with additional criminal charges such as drug possession.

The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are similar to DUI penalties, including:

  • Jail time,
  • Fines,
  • Driver’s license suspension,
  • Impounded vehicle,
  • Controlled dangerous substance charges, and
  • Mandatory enrollment in a drug counseling program.

Let a Montgomery County DUI And Traffic Lawyer Help You

Traffic offenses, especially DUIs, are more severe than most people think and can have long-term consequences on your life. The police may be already investigating and preparing potential charges against you, and you should be preparing as well. Meyers Defense will help you get in front of any accusations will appear with you at any police meetings, arraignments, and other critical pretrial hearings, in order to zealously defend you as soon and comprehensively as possible. Contact us today.