DUI/DWI AND TRAFFIC
With Noah’s Law, the administrative penalties for DUIs became much stricter in the State of Maryland. The attorneys at Lauderdale, Thompson and Warby take defending DUIs and other traffic offenses very seriously. Our attorneys have years of experience helping people navigate the perils of Motor Vehicle Administration hearings and court appearances on these matters. We have helped individuals avoid heavy fines and points, as well as periods of incarceration, which would otherwise have jeopardized their driver’s licenses. Whether you need an attorney to argue on your behalf in front of the MVA or in front of a court of law, the lawyers at Lauderdale, Thompson and Warby are prepared to take the case. The right to an administrative hearing in DUI cases must be requested within 30 days of the incident, so call today.
DUI Offence Basics
Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in every state. The crime can be referred to as driving under the influence (DUI), operating under the influence (OUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), or operating a motor vehicle intoxicated (OMVI). Regardless of name, it’s illegal for a person to operate a car, motorcycle, truck, or commercial vehicle if their abilities are compromised by the influence of prescription medication, alcohol, or illicit drugs. This can be measured by established DUI standards, like blood-alcohol concentration (BAC)
Field Sobriety and Chemical tests
Law enforcement may pull over any driver they suspect to be driving under the influence and subject them to a field sobriety test as well as ask permission for chemical testing.
Any physical test that determines current cognitive ability is considered a field test, such as reciting the alphabet backwards, walking in a straight path, or the "horizontal gaze nystagmus" (eye and penlight) test.
Chemical tests are measures of toxins in bodily fluids that can conducted either while pulled over or at a hospital. Many states let people choose what test they prefer, either a breathalyzer test which is conducted on the spot or urine and blood tests are done at a hospital.
Refusing a Chemical Test
If a driver is suspected of DUI, there is a mandatory “implied consent” when it comes to chemical tests in all states. By driving on state roads and highways a person gives an automatic consent to be tested by police when there is reasonable suspicion of impaired driving.
Refusal to submit to implied consent laws results in a mandatory suspension of the driver’s license for six months to a year. Test refusal penalties are often more harsh than the penalties of a DUI.
In the eyes of the law, if a driver has a blood alcohol concentration above .8, they are “per se intoxicated” and need no further proof to be convicted of driving drunk. Additional penalties are given in Pennsylvania if the BAC is over .16.
“Zero tolerance” is the blood alcohol concentration limit for underage drinking. In the state of Pennsylvania, it can be no higher than .02.
Cases against drivers can still be made even without proof of “per se” intoxication, if other evidence is present. A police testimony of swerved driving or slurred speech can be used to press charges for driving under the influence.
There are a variety of criminal penalties that can occur from a DUI charge, such as jail time, fines, and community service. Many states have a minimum offense for the first time and have compounding penalties for further offenses. There are a number of different factors influence the severity of the penalty, including:
If it was a commercial vehicle being operated
If there was any previous of DUI violations
If any property that was damaged by the driver
If any children were inside the vehicle at the time
If anyone besides the driver was injured or killed
IF the driver was under the legal drinking age