Published on 12/26/2022, 11:14:00 AM
What is a High BAC for a DUI in Maryland?
Everyone knows that drinking and driving is a bad idea. However, this doesn't stop people from making mistakes. In Maryland, a driving under the influence (DUI) charge can have serious consequences, such as incarceration and hefty fines.
However, the penalties imposed by a Judge for a DUI charge can increase if a driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greatly exceeds the legal limit.
In this article, we answer the following question: what is a high BAC for a DUI?
DUI in Maryland
Before examining the issue of high BAC, it is first necessary to establish a basic understanding of DUI charges in Maryland.
In the state of Maryland, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is illegal. It is a per se violation of the state's prohibition of driving under the influence law if the driver's BAC is 0.08 or higher.
However, under certain circumstances, a driver can be charged with DUI with a BAC lower than this amount.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime in Maryland, and it carries serious consequences for those who are convicted. Judges in Maryland aren't afraid to put DUI offenders in jail, so it's important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible if you've received a charge.
Maryland DUI Penalties
If you are found guilty of DUI in the state of Maryland, you face the following penalties:
For a first DUI offense, you face up to a year of incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration will assess 12 points on your driving record, and you can lose your license for up to six months.
Second DUI offense:
For a second DUI offense, you face up to two years of incarceration and a fine of up to $2,000. In addition, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration will assess 12 points on your driving record, and you can lose your license for up to one year.
Multiple DUIs in five-year period:
If you receive two DUI convictions within a five-year period, you may be required to attend an alcohol abuse program.
One such program is the 12-Hour Alcohol Education Program (AEP), which is a course that is intended to provide rehabilitation to individuals with DUI convictions.
Assignment to AEP typically occurs for one of the following reasons:
- You were referred by a judge of the district court
- You were referred by an administrative law judge in the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH)
- You applied for a new license after your old license was revoked due to an alcohol-related event
In addition, following two DUI convictions within five years, you may be forced to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program after your period of license suspension expires. An ignition interlock device is a small breathalyzer device that measures the amount of alcohol in a person's system. If the device detects alcohol, it prevents the vehicle from starting.
Violating the igntion interlock program can result in extension of the required time that you must have the device, and even expulsion from the igntion interlock program.
Factors That Can Affect a Person's BAC
Everyone is different. Therefore, not everyone metabolized alcohol at the same rate. The speed at which a person's body metabolizes alcohol depends on several factors, including:
1. Body composition and size:
Water dilutes the alcohol concentration in a person's body. Therefore, the more water a person has in his or her body, the more diluted the alcohol concentration in the person's body becomes, thereby lowering the person's BAC. In addition, bigger people tend to have more water in their bodies than smaller people, meaning that the alcohol concentration in the larger people's bodies tends to be more diluted.
2. Food consumed:
When a person eats before drinking, the alcohol that the person ingests enters his or her bloodstream more slowly than it would on an empty stomach. The reason for this is that digestion delays alcohol from entering the small intestine, which is where most of it is absorbed. And since fatty foods take longer to digest than other foods, they are the most effective at delaying alcohol from entering a person's bloodstream.
3. Amount of alcohol consumed in a specific period:
When a person consumes more than one normal-sized drink in an hour, his or her BAC typically increases since the alcohol is entering the body faster than it is metabolized.
4. Additional factors:
Other factors that can affect BAC include medication, hormone levels, fatigue, and the type of drink consumed.
The Effects of Different BAC Levels
As noted above, a person's BAC depends on several variables, with the main one being the amount of alcohol a person has consumed over a specific time period.
Generally, the human body is capable of metabolizing the alcohol in a single drink in approximately an hour.
Drinking more than one drink in a shorter period causes a person's BAC to rise. A person's BAC determines the effects of alcohol consumption on the body.
Below are common effects of different BAC levels:
- 0.02: A BAC of 0.02 can affect a person's mood and judgment.
- 0.05: A BAC of 0.05 can result in further alteration of a person's mood and judgment. In addition, this BAC level can affect a person's muscle control and coordination.
- 0.08: A BAC of 0.08 can significantly impair coordination and perception, resulting in slower reaction times.
- .10: A BAC of .10 can result in deterioration of control and reaction time.
- .12: A BAC of .12 usually results in vomiting.
High BAC in Maryland
A high BAC is one that is significantly above the legal limit. In Maryland, .15 and over is considered a high BAC.
In addition to the normal penalties associated with a DUI described above, a person with a high BAC faces a 180-day license suspension for a first offense and a 270-day license suspension for a second offense.
Further, a driver who blows over .15 is ineligible to obtain a restricted license, and instead must participate in the igntion interlock program.
A person's BAC is typically calculated from a breath result from an intox ec ir ii machine, or from a blood test taken at a hospital.
How do Judges handle high BAC cases in Maryland?
If a person is convicted of a DUI after a trial, or enters a plea of guilty, Judges typically consider exacerbating factors when crafting a sentence.
Some common examples of these factors include:
- Prior DUI convictions
- Whether or not there was an accident
- A high BAC result
- A person's behavior
- If a minor was in the vehicle
Even with a high BAC, it is possible to earn a probation before judgment; however, some Judges withhold these disposition in high BAC cases.
High BAC Effects
The reason that the majority of states, including Maryland, impose additional penalties on drivers with high BACs is that they present additional dangers, both to the intoxicated driver and others.
In fact, high-BAC individuals are more likely to be involved in fatal traffic accidents than drivers with lower BAC levels. Thus, most states treat high-BAC DUIs differently than standard DUIs. Below is an overview of the effects associated with different high BAC levels.
0.15: A BAC of 0.15 can result in a severe loss of muscle control, thereby affecting a person's coordination and balance. In addition, at this level, a person's decision making and judgment become increasingly unreliable.
0.16 to 0.20: A BAC in this range can result in uncontrolled body movements and confusion. In addition, a BAC in this range can result in sickness and dizziness.
0.21-0.30: A BAC in this range can cause a person to fall repeatedly and require help to stand up. In addition, vomiting, blackouts, and obliviousness to pain are common in this BAC range.
0.31-0.40: A BAC in this range is nearing a lethal concentration of alcohol in the blood. A person with the BAC may lose consciousness, fall into a coma, and even die.
Contact a Maryland DUI Attorney Today for Assistance
When you become our client, we will pursue the resolution of your DUI case while remaining cognizant of the stress and confusion associated with criminal charges. With FrizWoods on your side, you can rest assured that you have the most effective legal representation possible in your Maryland DUI case.
Worried about how much a dui lawyer will cost? Our firm offers flexible payment options.
Please contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation with our talented Maryland DUI attorneys.
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