Have you been arrested and charged with a Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) in Maryland?  If you were intoxicated, under the influence, or impaired by alcohol or drugs while operating a boat or motorized vehicle, you could be convicted for DUI/DWI under Md Code Ann. TR §21-902 et. seq.   If you were charged, or given a ticket by a Police Officer for DUI/DWI, you should immediately consider retaining our services as your lawyers.

A DUI or DWI situation can arise from operating a vehicle upon Maryland’s highways while under the influence or impaired.  According to Md Code Ann. TR §11-176: a vehicle is “any device in, on, or by which any individual or property is or might be transported or towed on a highway…”  Under that definition a: truck, car, automobile, motorcycle, boat, airplane, or bicycle can be a vehicle.  Anything that travels on a Maryland road qualifies as a vehicle, so in theory, you can be cited for DUI/DWI even if you were operating a: sled, skateboard, bicycle, roller skates, or snow mobile under the influence or while impaired.  You also do not have to be driving to be charged with DUI or DWI.  Even if you are asleep behind the wheel of your car, and the keys are in the ignition, whether the car is running or not, you can be found guilty of DUI or DWI.  You can also be found guilty of DUI if you are on private property and not traveling on a public road.  See Rettig v. State, 334 Md. 419 (1994).  Attempting to drive (DUI or DWI) may include that if at the time of your arrest, the police stopped you as you were walking to your car, keys in hand, and you were intoxicated. That’s drunk driving too.

DUI/DWI are very serious offenses.  A ticket or citation for DUI/DWI WILL NOT GO AWAY by your failure to respond to the charges.  A failure to appear for Court (FTA) can not only result in your being convicted, but you could face immediate jail if the court orders a body attachment against you too.

Not all drunk driving cases are the same.  DUI and DWI are not the same offenses.  In Brooks v. State, 41 Md. App. 123 (1979) the Court of stated the term intoxication was difficult to define, but not so difficult to understand.  The Court determined that intoxication is that state in which a person is affected to a degree substantially greater than if his ability to act were impaired.  The Maryland Pattern Jury Instructions CR 4: 10 states that: “Intoxication means more than being under the influence of alcohol.”

For most people, when the police issue you a citation for DUI or DWI, you will receive a minium of three (3) tickets: Driving while Intoxicated Per Se, Driving or attempting to drive while intoxicated, and Driving or Driving or Attempting to Drive while Under the Influence.

Md Code Ann TR §11-127.1 defines “Intoxicated per se” as having an alcohol concentration at the time of testing of .08 or more as measured by grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.  You will be charged with driving while under the influence (DUI) per se (See Md Code Ann. TR §21-902 (a)(2)) if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was tested at a level of .08% or higher.  In all likelihood, you will also be charged with driving under the influence (See Md Code Ann. TR §21-902(a)) if at the time of your arrest, you were driving, or attempt to drive any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

The police will also charge you with “driving while impaired” (Md Code Ann. TR §21-902(b)).  The distinction to be made between 21-902(a) and 21-902(b) are the words influence vs impaired.  Being under the influence has been defined as a person’s consumption of alcohol, to the extent that there was a failure of normal coordination not amounting to intoxication.  To be impaired is to where your mental or physical abilities are impaired by a mind altering substance.

The critical element in all DUI and DWI cases are that the accused cannot drive a vehicle safely.   It does not matter if the reason for being under the influence is alcohol or some other substance.  (See

only present in Md Code Ann. TR §21-902( c); and Cook v. State, 62 Md. App. 634 (1985)). The NTSB refers to DUI and DWI as being “drugged” driving.  So, any drug, prescription, over the counter, or booze does just fine to get you a DUI or DWI conviction.

Md Code Ann. TR §21-902(c)(2) provides that even if you are entitled to take the drug which impairs your, condition it is not a defense unless you were NOT aware that the drug or the combination of the drug and alcohol would make you incapable of driving the vehicle safely.  But that is a very high standard, because: most prescription labels have warnings about operating machinery; and, you would have to testify that you were NOT aware that the drug or the combination of the drug and alcohol would make you incapable of driving your vehicle safely.   Once you take the stand to testify, you become fair game for the prosecutor.  That is very, very risky.

Under Md Code Ann TR §27-101, the penalty for DUI are very severe.  DUI is Maryland’s top alcohol infraction.  If you are found guilty of DUI, you will be assessed 12 points against your driver’s license.  This results in the instant revocation of your license to drive.  Driving while impaired is a lesser infraction under Maryland law (Md Code Ann TR §21-902(b)).  It is still a serious offense.  If your BAC was between .04% and .08%, you’ll be charged with a DWI.  If you are found guilty of DWI, to be you will be assessed 8 points against your driver’s license.

In many cases, people who end up on the lower end of the BAC spectrum but fail miserably on a field sobriety test end up with this charge. Police Officer judgment is a major factor, and never ever expect a break.  Generally, you will be handed (as noted above) three citations.  The end result is that you are going to have points tallied against your driving record, be ordered to pay fines, and could also be sentenced to jail.   A repeat offenders, that is you are charged with DUI or DWI within five years of a prior conviction, upon conviction carries with it a mandatory jail term.

Money fines are also onerous. The monetary fine for a first offense time DUI is $1,000, and $2,000 for a second offense. But these costs are nothing compared to what it will cost you for: increased auto insurance rates (generally a 40% surcharge), the costs to install and monthly monitoring of an ignition interlock system in your car, alcohol rehabilitation classes ($3,000 +/- the money involved with going court and/or hiring an attorney.   All total, a DUI charge can set you back up $17,000.00 or more after it’s all said and done.

In Maryland, a first time DWI conviction can result to jail time and/or a fine. Jail time can be a year or up to two years if there was a minor in the vehicle.  A monetary fine can be imposed of up to $1,000 or $2,000 if the offender was transporting a minor.

In Maryland, your first DUI conviction can also lead to jail time and/or a fine. Jail time can be imposed up to two months or six months if a minor was in the vehicle. A fine may be imposed up to $500 or $1,000 if a minor was in the vehicle.

For both a DWI and a DUI a drivers license suspension of at least 6 months can, and most likely, will be imposed. For some, the DUI or DWI conviction and loss of driver’s license could result in a loss of employment, reputation, child access, or your freedom. A conviction will also lead to an increase in insurance premiums, and possible termination of auto insurance coverage.

We at Shechtel and Associates, P.A., know how to properly defend you if you are charged with DUI or DWI.  We do not “plead you out” and call it a day.  We will look into the details surrounding your arrest and the events leading up to and after that arrest too.  We know that The Traffic Stop by the Officer is the first, and most critical aspect of your case.  We will review in detail the basis for the Officer ordering you to stop your vehicle.  We know that an illegal stop, and they are more frequent that you would believe, it the first step to having your field sobriety test (FST) barred at trial.  We know the US DOT Guidelines for field sobriety tests.  We know how to examine the Police Officer to question the officer properly administered the FST’s to you.  We know that a faulty FST can sometimes result in the disqualification of your breathalyzer examination test results.  We know what is necessary to have evidence that is harmful to you suppressed.

Did you know that the arresting Police Officer must be able to articulate more than an inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or hunch that you were intoxicated?   We do.  Did you know that your being ordered to submit to taking the field sobriety tests are subject to those rights afforded to you under the U.S. Constitution?  Do you know what is required of the arresting officer before he can order you from your vehicle to perform the field sobriety tests?  Most officers will testify in Court: “I smelled alcohol on the suspect’s breath”, and he had bloodshot eyes, and slurred speech.   Really… it’s just like someone pulled the string on a Chatty Cathy.

But we know that the smell of alcohol is not enough to arrest you, and that the mere odor of alcohol is insufficient for the arresting officer to suspect that you were driving impaired.  We know what your rights are before the arresting officer can order you to submit to the field sobriety tests.  And we know that the mere suspicion or good faith perception is not enough to constitute cause to initiate an investigatory detention, like ordering you from your car because it was the middle of the night, and you had watery eyes.

We at Shechtel and Associates, P.A. know that losing your driver’s license can be very taxing, and sometimes make it impossible for you to get to and from work.   We know how assist you in keeping your driving privileges, even if they are restricted.  We can help you stay out of jail.  We can help you in your recovery before you come before the Court so that you are more likely to receive probation and not incarceration.

There are defenses and legal procedures that we know how to use in your defense.  Here at the Law Offices of Shechtel and Associates, P.A., we can and will assist you to properly prepare for a trial, and we will be standing right there next to you if your case goes to trial.  We also can assist you at the  Maryland MVA hearing so that you are able to retain your driving privileges.

There are many Court and MVA deadlines that must be strictly followed or your rights will be lost forever.  In some instances, a failure to appear (FTA) at a court hearing could subject you to a bench warrant or arrest.  The first few days following an arrest for DUI or DWI are critical.  You only have just ten days from the date of your arrest to take advantage of all of your rights. DO NOT DELAY.  Call us at now at 301-309-1440.