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James N. Papirmeister, P.C.

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What are the consequences of drunk driving charges?

If someone is facing drunk driving charges, they may think the only consequence of a conviction is suspension of their driving license, and therefore not take the charges seriously. Even though there are also other penalties with DUI charges, there are many repercussions associated with not having a license -- without the ability to drive, it may not be possible to get to and fro from work, drop children off at school or even get the groceries.

However, contrary to what some people might believe, a DUI conviction can come with much more severe penalties than just license suspension or revocation. In addition to license sanctions, there are also criminal penalties in Maryland. A first-time offender can face up to a $1,000 fine and not only can the license be suspended for up to six months, but 12 points will also be assessed on one's driving record. A second-time offender has a mandatory minimum of five days in jail, with a maximum of two years, and a fine of up to $2,000. With 12 points being assessed for the driving record, the driving license can be revoked for up to one year. As the number of offenses within a time frame increases, the severity of the penalties also goes up, including participation in the Ignition Interlock Program.

Driving while Impaired convictions, or DWI convictions, considered a relatively lesser offense, carries with it comparatively lesser penalties, such as a $5,00 fine for first time offenders and a maximum of two months' imprisonment. The license suspension time period is six months, though the number of points will be eight instead of twelve. Again, repeat offenders will face harsher penalties. Where DUI charges flow from a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, a DWI stems from a BAC between 0.07 and 0.08 percent.

DUI or DWI charges are not to be taken lightly and Maryland residents who are facing drunk driving charges, either DUI or DWI, should consider fighting them aggressively from the onset. Experienced lawyers can challenge many aspects of the prosecution's case, starting from the initial stop that resulted in the subsequent testing.

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