Maryland DUI Legal Process Outline

The legal penalties for a DWI or DUI charge are not resolved in one proceeding. Rather, the penalties are encountered at several stages of the legal process. In addition, the consequences depend greatly on the individual case. The stages and corresponding legal penalties are summarized below.

The Arrest

Once an officer decides to charge an individual with DWI or DUI the first set of consequences are immediate arrest and confiscation of the individual’s driver’s license. A temporary license is issued.

The MVA Hearing

After the officer confiscates your license, he should immediately issue you a temporary license good for 45 days from the date of arrest. Part of that form allows you to requrest a special “MVA Hearing”, and you should mail it in within 10 days of the arrest. By doing so, you can continue driving with the tenporary license, even beyond the 45 days, until the Office of Administrative Hearings conducts your MVA hearing.

An Administrative Law Judge will decide;

1. Whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe you were drinking and driving. If not, he will take no action and no suspension will occur; and

2. If there were reasonable grounds, he will take the following action with respect to your driver’s license;

  • For a DUI charge, a 45-day suspension on a first offense; except that he can modify the suspension for work, educarional, and medical related purposes. Mandatory 90 day suspension for a second offense.
  • If an individual is charged with DWI or DUI and refuses to submit a breath or blood test he/she faces a penalty of a 120-day suspension. For a repeat offense the penalty for refusal is one year.

The District Court Trial

Criminal guilt or innocence is decided during the next stage, a court hearing by a District Court Judge. When a judge finds a defendant is guilty, common consequences are summarized below:

Driving While Intoxicated

  • 1st Offense: Fine up to $1000 and/or up to 1 year imprisonment
  • 2nd Offense: Fine up to $2000 and/or up to 2 year imprisonment
  • 12 points on your MVA Record

Driving While Impaired

  • 1st Offense: Fine up to $500.00 and/or 60 days imprisonment
  • 2nd Offense: Fine up to $500.00 and/or 1 year imprisonment
  • 8 points on your MVA Record

* The State’s Attorney may file subsequent offender papers that allow enhanced  penalties for repeat offenders.

Probation Before Judgement (PBJ)

A well-known disposition for first time offenders, or for persons without a previous DUI for five years, is Probation Before Judgement. You may be eligible to have a guilty finding stricken, and be placed on probation for a stated period of time. If so, you will get no points on your driving record, but you may still be fined and be required to submit to conditions of probation.

Don’t Just Take a PBJ

In Mr. Epstein’s representation of you, he will thoroughly evaluate the case to advice you whether you should “fight” the charges. Rather than just taking a PBJ, he will make every effort to determine that the case is worth trying before the court for a possible “Not Guilty”. He takes every case very seriously and does not believe in just pleading guilty to get a PBJ–unless your case warrants that disposition.

For the affordable legal representation you need for your felony DUI case, contact my firm today.

Together, we can work towards a favorable case outcome.