DUI, DWI, and Traffic
A Drunk Driving Arrest Does Not Have to Ruin Your Life
Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI) are among the most common crimes charged in Maryland. And while it is “only” a misdemeanor, a DUI or DWI conviction can have a major impact on your freedom, finances, and future.
After a DUI or DWI arrest, you face many important decisions, starting with whom you hire to defend you. The attorneys at The Machin Law Firm, LLC, provide the skilled defense you need for DUI DWI, and other traffic offenses in Montgomery and Frederick counties.
Call us right away at (301) 731-2000 for a phone consultation.
We Fight to Spare You From DUI Punishment
Since the passage of Noah’s Law in Maryland in 2016, the penalties for a DUI conviction have become more severe than ever, even for a first offense of drunk driving. It is critical to have competent legal counsel to fight the charges or mitigate the consequences.
As members of the National College of DUI Defense, both of our lawyers are uniquely qualified to represent you in the court hearing on the DUI or DWI criminal charges and in the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) hearing on the suspension of your Maryland driver’s license.
We examine every aspect of your case, from the legality of the traffic stop to the field sobriety tests to the breath test administration to the arrest procedures. If we are not able to get the charges dismissed, we explore plea deals, such as probation before judgment (PBJ), that allows you to keep a DUI conviction off your record if you stay clean. Under Noah’s Law, you may be required to install an ignition interlock on your car as a condition of keeping your driving privileges, which is preferable to a “hard suspension” for six months or more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Driving under the influence (DUI) is the more serious offense. Typically, a DUI means that you had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Driving while impaired (DWI) is a lesser offense. It typically means that your BAC measured at least .06 (but less than .08), and the arresting officer determined you were unsafe to operate a motor vehicle. A DWI can also refer to impairment from drugs. Both are serious offenses, but the penalties are different. A DUI carries more potential jail time, a higher fine, and more points against your license.
Probably not. Even telling an officer, you had “only” one drink can be used against you in a court of law. Admit nothing and instead say, “I prefer not to answer your questions,” or “I need to speak with my attorney before answering your questions.” Remain calm and polite, but do not make incriminating statements. Never hesitate to politely ask for your lawyer. You are entitled to counsel for a DUI.
The answer depends on the details of the case and your driving record. According to state law, if you test at a blood alcohol level of .08 or more, you may be charged with a DUI, and your driver’s license may be suspended. You can also face other penalties, including mandatory fines and increases in your auto insurance rates. If you refuse the test, however, you can still have your license suspended for up to 120 days (if this is your first offense; longer if this is not your first offense). It is important to have a lawyer assist you through these charges and provide a comprehensive DUI defense.
Maybe not. There are many procedural errors that officers can make that can impact your case. From testing methods to the actual stop, there is always room to review the state’s case against you in discovery. It is important to have an experienced lawyer review these facts as presented to see if an error has been made.
DUI is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. DWI carries lesser penalties: a maximum of 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Many first offenders are able to avoid jail time through a probation before judgment (PBJ) – the criminal penalties are not imposed if the defendant completes probation.
Aside from the criminal penalties, your driving privileges can be restricted in a separate Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) hearing. For a first-time DUI, the typical license suspension is 90 days (or 180 days if your BAC was over .15). License suspension for a DWI is a minimum of 45 days.
A PBJ offers first-time DUI offenders a chance to accept probation instead of being convicted of DUI. A PBJ is a disposition that allows the court to remove a conviction from your record even if you have been found guilty in your case. There are restrictions for when and how a PBJ can be applied, so discuss these with your attorney.
As a general rule, DUI and DWI convictions cannot be expunged. This includes convictions at trial, guilty pleas, and PBJs. Records related to a DUI arrest are eligible for expungement only if your case was dismissed or placed on the stet docket (inactive) or you were found not guilty at trial.