DUI is one of the most serious traffic violations that may lead to a criminal charge. In Maryland and across most of the United States, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 is the accepted threshold at which a person is considered legally intoxicated. This isn’t to say that anyone with a BAC below 0.08 can’t be charged with DUI, but rather, that a BAC of 0.08 or higher shows a prohibited amount of alcohol in his system.
When a person is charged with DUI for having a BAC of 0.08 or higher, this is called a DUI per se. The State of Maryland does not need any other evidence — such as testimony from officers that the defendant’s coordination appeared impaired — to charge the suspect with DUI. If you took a breathalyzer or blood test and your result was 0.08 or higher, the fact that you had that much alcohol in you is the crime itself — whether or not you were impaired is irrelevant.
Some drivers refuse chemical tests in the hope that it will save them from producing evidence that could hurt them in court. This decision may backfire and lead to additional penalties for refusing to submit to testing. It’s important to know that a test result of 0.08 does not automatically lead to a conviction. With the help of a competent per se DUI lawyer who serves Baltimore and surrounding areas, there may be ways to challenge the circumstances that led to your criminal charge.
As with any other alcohol charge, you stand to lose your Maryland driver’s license through an administrative suspension immediately upon arrest. The police officer who arrests you will confiscate your license and issue a temporary paper driving permit that’s valid for 45 days. The permit will accompany your citation.
After you receive a citation, you have just 10 days after the date of your Order of Suspension to request an Administrative Hearing from the Maryland MVA. Requesting this hearing prevents the MVA from suspending your license before the hearing takes place. During the hearing, your attorney may present evidence to the Administrative Law Judge for why you should keep your driver’s license.
Penalties for a per se DUI are the same for a non-per se DUI. If you’re charged with per se DUI, you don’t face extra charges if you were visibly impaired at the time police arrested you. If you are convicted of per se DUI for the first time, you may face the following:
For a second per se DUI conviction, the judge may sentence you to:
If you’re a commercial driver who failed the test, the MVA will suspend your commercial license and may disqualify you. Facing a per se DUI charge is a grave situation that requires experienced legal counsel.
Submitting to a breath test and receiving a BAC of 0.08 does not make you guilty of DUI automatically. A knowledgeable DUI lawyer may be able to present applicable challenges, such as:
Your very first DUI in Maryland can lead to harsh penalties and establish a criminal history that may never be removed from the public record. Just living without a valid license can cause considerable hardship; but, dealing with criminal penalties because you failed to acquire quality counsel can lead to a far worse outcome.
If you’re deciding whether you need an attorney for a per se DUI charge, consider what the future might hold if you don’t. Attorney Hillel Traub of The Law Office of Hillel Traub is a fierce DUI lawyer who has worked as a former Attorney General for the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. He will take all measures possible to protect your driving privilege and reputation. With more than 20 years of experience, call (410) 589-2794 for a free consultation or complete our online contact form.