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Frequently Asked Questions About DUIs

Kathleen M. Kirchner Attorney At Law March 21, 2024

Driving under the influence is a serious crime that can have severe consequences. If you or someone you know is facing a DUI charge, it's important to understand your rights and the legal process.  

To help you in this situation, reference this list of frequently asked questions about DUIs. But it's important to get in contact with a DUI lawyer as soon as possible when you're facing charges. If you're in or near Anne Arundel County, Maryland, contact Kathleen M. Kirchner Attorney At Law today for a free consultation. 

What does BAC mean?

BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Concentration, which is a measure of the amount of alcohol in a person's blood. In most states, including Maryland, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. 

What happens when you get a DUI for the first time in Maryland? 

Getting a DUI for the first time in Maryland is a serious matter. Penalties can range from a $500 fine and two months in jail to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail. The severity of the penalties largely depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. For instance, if a DUI occurred while transporting a minor, the jail term could be significantly longer. Moreover, the punishments for DUI escalate with each subsequent conviction. 

Do you lose your license immediately after a DUI? 

In Maryland, following a DUI, there is a possibility of immediate license suspension. If a driver's BAC test result is 0.08 or above, or if they refuse to take the test, the officer will confiscate their driver's license. The State of Maryland will then suspend the license, starting from the 46th day after the DUI. However, a temporary paper license is provided, allowing the individual to drive for 45 days. Depending on factors such as the level of alcohol and prior drunk driving offenses, the license suspension can last between 180 days to 2 years. 

What should I do after getting a DUI? 

After receiving a DUI in Maryland, it's wise to take prompt action. Firstly, consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer like Kathleen. She can provide essential guidance and representation throughout the legal proceedings.  

Within 30 days of the DUI arrest, you must request a hearing with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to review the license suspension. To prevent suspension before the hearing, this request must be made within 10 days of the traffic stop. Compliance with court requirements, such as attending scheduled court appearances and adhering to any probation or treatment programs ordered by the court, is also crucial. 

Can a DUI be dismissed in Maryland? 

Yes, it's possible for a DUI to be dismissed in Maryland, but it hinges on the specific circumstances of the case. Dismissal might occur if there are legal issues with the traffic stop, evidence collection, or if the prosecution fails to meet the burden of proof. Consulting with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer like Kathleen is important in these situations. She can meticulously examine the details of the case and determine the most effective defense strategy. Kathleen can challenge the evidence, negotiate with the prosecution, and passionately advocate for the dismissal of the DUI charges if appropriate. 

Facing a DUI charge in Maryland can be a frightening experience, but you don't have to go through it alone. Armed with the right information and a dedicated attorney like Kathleen by your side, you can work through the legal process with confidence. 

What are my rights when I’m pulled over?   

When pulled over by a police officer, you have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. You also have the right to request an attorney before answering any questions or taking any field sobriety tests. It's important to exercise these rights and consult with a lawyer as soon as possible if you are facing a DUI charge. 

Do I need a DUI lawyer?   

While it's possible to represent yourself in a DUI case, it is not recommended. A DUI lawyer has the knowledge and experience to effectively navigate the legal process and fight for your rights. They can also negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf and potentially get charges reduced or dismissed. If you are facing a DUI charge, it's in your best interest to seek out an experienced DUI lawyer to handle your case.  

What are my defense options?   

There are several potential defense options in a DUI case, including challenging the validity of the stop, arguing against the accuracy of field sobriety tests or breathalyzer results, and questioning the legality of evidence collection. Consult with a DUI lawyer who can assess your case and determine the best course of action for your defense. 

Do I have to be driving to get a DUI in Maryland?

No, you do not have to be actively driving a vehicle in order to get a DUI in Maryland. You can also be charged with a DUI if you are in physical control of the vehicle, meaning that you have the ability to operate it. This could include being found asleep behind the wheel or sitting in the driver's seat with the keys in the ignition. 

What’s the Ignition Interlock Program?     

The Ignition Interlock Program is a program that requires drivers convicted of DUI to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. This device measures the driver's BAC before allowing the car to start and may also request additional tests while the vehicle is being driven. This program allows individuals to continue driving with restricted privileges as part of their sentence for a DUI conviction. 

Are DUIs misdemeanors or felonies in Maryland?   

In Maryland, DUIs can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances. A first-time DUI without any aggravating factors is typically a misdemeanor offense, while subsequent offenses or those involving serious injuries or fatalities may be charged as a felony. To understand the specific charges and potential penalties in your case, it's best to consult with a DUI lawyer.  

Contact a Skilled & Compassionate Attorney Today

Facing a DUI charge in Maryland can be a frightening experience, but you don't have to go through it alone. Armed with the right information and a dedicated attorney like Kathleen by your side, you can approach the legal process with ease. She serves clients and families throughout Maryland, including the communities of Queen Anne's County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, and Howard County.