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DUI Per se in Maryland: Understanding the Charges and Penalties
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in Maryland. When you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, you will be asked to take a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. If your BAC is 0.08 or higher, you may be charged with a DUI per se in Maryland.
What is a DUI Per Se?
A DUI per se means that you are being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol based on your BAC level.
In Maryland, the legal limit for BAC is 0.08. If you are caught driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, you can be charged with a DUI per se, even if you are not exhibiting any signs of impairment.
In these cases, Defendants must've agreed to submit to an intoximeter test, which gave breath results over .08, or a blood test which gave similar results.
If your breath sample is under the legal limit it is possible to still have DUI or DWI charges; however, DUI per se cases require a .08 or higher as a matter of law.
How is This Different Than a Regular DUI?
In Maryland, a regular DUI charge is based on the officer's observations of your driving behavior and your performance on field sobriety tests.
A DUI per se charge is based solely on your BAC level. This means that you can be convicted of a DUI per se even if you were not driving erratically or exhibiting any signs of impairment.
Cases with a breath test refusal are more often decided by testimony about a person's performance in field sobriety or their driving before being stopped.
Is DUI Per se Worse Than Regular DUI?
A DUI per se charge carries the same penalties as a regular DUI charge in Maryland.
However, a DUI per se charge may be easier for the prosecution to prove since it is based solely on your BAC level, without the need for additional evidence of impairment.
DUI Per Se in Maryland Maximum Penalty
The maximum penalties for a DUI per se in Maryland are similar to those for DUI. If you are convicted, you may face penalties outlined in the chart below:
Additional consequences from a DUI perse include:
- Driver's license suspension
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Increased car insurance rates
The costs of a DUI per se charge often include attorney's fees, court fines, and more.
DUI Per se vs DWI
In Maryland, a DUI per se charge is equivalent to a DUI (driving while under the influence) charge, as outlined above. Both charges are based on the driver's BAC level.
A DWI or driving while impaired, is a lesser offense that carries a lower maximum penalty and a lower burden of proof for the State.
If you're curious about the differences between DUI and DWI in Maryland, learn more here.
In order to prove a DUI per se charge in Maryland, the prosecution will likely rely on evidence from the breathalyzer test. The test is administered by a breath technician, who is responsible for ensuring that the machine is properly calibrated and that the test is conducted correctly.
Breath technicians can be challenged, as can the accuracy of the machines that they base their findings from.
The breathalyzer test is conducted using an intoximeter machine. The machine measures the amount of alcohol in your breath and converts it to a BAC level. The accuracy of the test depends on the calibration of the machine and the expertise of the breath technician.
DUI Blood Test
In cases involving DUI Accidents often involve blood testing or blood alcohol results in medical records. These cases can also give rise to DUI Per Se charges, which are subject to defenses including improper blood draws from a State regulated blood test, or blood alcohol testing procedures.
How Do I Beat a DUI Per Se?
Challenging a DUI per se charge can be difficult, but not impossible. There are a number of defenses that may be used to challenge the accuracy of the breathalyzer test, including:
The machine was not properly calibrated
The breath technician was not properly trained
There was a deviation from standard testing procedures
The results were affected by outside factors, such as mouthwash or medication
Further, the State must prove that there existed valid probable cause for the detention and arrest of any Defendant. An experienced DUI lawyer may be able to challenge the stop of your vehicle.
Can I avoid a conviction even if I was over .08?
It is always possible to avoid a DUI conviction in Maryland. Many Judges will consider awarding a probation before judgment for first time offenders who take proper mitigating steps.
Bear in mind that a PBJ is a privilege and not a right.
Subsequent offenders may not be entitled to ask for a PBJ disposition. Those who produce a high breath sample in a DUI could also be denied a PBJ on that basis.
Do I need a DUI lawyer?
If you have been charged with a DUI per se or any other DUI/DWI offense in Maryland, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney.
DUI charges carry severe penalties, and a conviction can have long-lasting consequences on your personal and professional life. A skilled attorney can help you understand your legal options and develop a defense strategy tailored to your specific case. They can also represent you in court and negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf.
Whether you want a bench trial, or a jury trial for your DUI, an attorney is a must for every criminal case.
Will my license be suspended?
If you received a DUI per se charge and you have a Maryland License at the time, your license was likely confiscated and you were issued a DR-15A Order of Suspension. This form will contain all of the information your attorney needs to advise you on possible license sanctions.
If you have an out of state license and a DUI in Maryland, then the circumstances depend on your home's state interpretation of a Maryland based suspension. As a rule of thumb, Maryland typically only has the authority to suspend and out of state driver's in state driving privileges. An out of State driver may be able to request modifications of the terms of their Maryland based suspension.
Fight your DUI today
If you have been charged with a DUI per se or any other DUI/DWI offense in Maryland, don't wait to seek legal representation.
Whether it's your first DUI or your fourth DUI, the attorneys with FrizWoods can help!
Contact FrizWoods today to schedule a consultation with an experienced DUI defense attorney. We understand the serious nature of these charges and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and defend your freedom. If you're wondering what to do after a DUI, we have the answers.
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