A first offense DUI charge in Maryland can result in some serious penalties if not dealt with immediately. A first offense charge will result in two separate cases. The first case is the matter of the driving under the influence charge, which will be handled through the Maryland criminal court system in the county in which you were arrested.
The second case is the administrative action that will be taken against your driving privileges by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration for being in violation of Maryland's 'per se' law regarding operating a motor vehicle with a BAC level of .08% or greater.
The penalties for a first offense DUI conviction include a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to 1-year, along with 12 points being assessed to the driver's driving record. Maryland also has a lesser charge referred to as DWI, driving while impaired. A first offense DWI conviction carries a $500 fine and/or up to 60 days in jail.
A first offense DUI conviction will result in a 45 day license suspension. Restricted driving privileges may be granted to the offender in order to drive to work, school, or for medical reasons. If you refused to submit to a chemical test, your license will be suspended for 120 days with no chance of receiving restricted driving privileges.
Before the MVA will reinstate your driver's license following your suspension period you will be required to file an SR22 with them. You can obtain your SR22 insurance policy and filing by entering your zip code below and completing the short form on the following page:
First time offenders who had a passenger under the age of 18 in the vehicle at the time of arrest may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle prior to being granted restricted driving privileges, or before the full reinstatement of their driver's license following the suspension period. First time offenders may also be required to complete an approved alcohol & drug treatment program.
When you get arrested on a first offense DUI charge in Maryland the arresting officer will, in most cases confiscate your diver's license and issue you what is referred to as a Notice of Suspension. This notice will act as your temporary driver's license for the next 45 days.
Important: Once you receive a Notice of Suspension youonly have 10 days in which to contact the MVA to schedule an administrative hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings if you hope to avoid the pending suspension of your driver's license. Failure to request a hearing within the allotted 10 days will result in an automatic suspension of your license, and no hearing will be granted after the 10 day period has lapsed.
If you or someone you know has just been arrested on a first offense DUI charge in Maryland it is important that you contact our experienced Maryland DUI lawyers today to schedule your administrative hearing. In order to successfully navigate the hearing process you will require the skills of a Maryland DUI lawyer who knows how the administrative hearing process works and has experience when it comes to the hearing process.
The purpose of the hearing is for an impartial Administrative Law Judge who is an employee of the Office of Administrative Hearings, and not the MVA to hear your case to determine if your license should be suspended. The ALJ will determine if the arresting officer followed the proper procedures during your arrest, he will then review whether or not you submitted to a chemical test, and whether or not your BAC level was .08% or greater at the time of arrest.
The ALJ will also hear testimony from the arresting officer and from you and/or your lawyer regarding the arrest. After reviewing all of the evidence for and against you, and hearing all the testimonies, the ALJ will make the final decision as to whether or not your license shall be suspended for the minimum 45 days for a first offense violation.
Before the MVA will issue you a restricted driving permit, or before the full reinstate of your driving privileges following your suspension period you will be required to complete an SR-22 filing with the MVA before you will be issued a driver's license. The SR-22 filing is a form that your insurance provider will file with the MVA showing them that you have taken out a Maryland SR22 insurance policy with them that meets the state's minimum auto insurance liability limits.
The Maryland SR22 filing with the MVA is basically an agreement between the MVA and your insurer that states that for any reason if there is a lapse in your qualified insurance coverage that your insurer is obligated to inform the MVA of the lapse. If this happens the MVA will cancel your driver's license immediately. You will need to have your insurer file another SR-22 form with the MVA before you will be issued a new license.
You definitely want to avoid having your license cancelled. If this occurs, your 3-year SR22 filing period with the MVA will start all over again. In order to make sure that this doesn't happen to you we suggest that you get multiple quotes on your SR22 insurance before choosing a policy. By getting multiple quotes from various providers you can select the policy with the lowest premiums from the start and hopefully avoid the above scenario.
Maryland DUI Laws - A complete overview of Maryland DUI laws including fines, jail time and penalties for each offense.
Maryland SR22 Insurance - Learn everything you need to know about Maryland SR22 filing requirements with the MVA and find out how you can save hundreds of dollars each year on your Maryland SR22 insurance.
Maryland DUI Lawyers - Contact one of our Maryland DUI lawyers today.
Maryland Alcohol & Drug Abuse Programs - We offer a complete listing of Maryland's approved alcohol treatment programs.