October 2011 Archives

What is the Difference Between DUI and DWI in Maryland?

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The acronym DWI stands for driving while impaired and is a lesser charge when compared with DUI, which stands for driving while under the influence. DUI in Maryland is considered the "A" charge and DWI in Maryland is considered the "B" charge. A suspect is charged with DWI in cases of impairment by drugs, other dangerous substances, or alcohol at a level of .07 blood alcohol content (BAC). A suspect is charged with DUI in drunk driving cases if it is determined that the suspect's BAC was .08 or higher. Usually, individuals accused of drunk driving offenses are given citations for both DWI and DUI. If there is no breath result or the breath result is between .07 and .08, the State will typically proceed with a DWI. If the result of the breath test is .08 or higher, the State may proceed on the DUI charge. Our Maryland DUI attorneys often negotiate plea offers that lower the charge to DWI even when the defendant's BAC is over .08. At the very least, our Maryland DUI lawyers will not allow the State's Attorney to proceed on a DUI charge if the State does not possess sufficient evidence.

MVA Hearings in Maryland DUI Cases

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MVA.jpgIf a person accused of drinking and driving in Maryland refused the breath or blood alcohol test or the test resulted in an alcohol level of .08 or more, his or her license is subject to automatic suspension. To prevent automatic suspension of a license, a person charged with DUI in Maryland must request a hearing with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) within 10 days of arrest. Maryland police will confiscate a Maryland license from a driver upon arrest for a drunk driving charge and issue a temporary license to drive. The temporary license is valid for 45 days, starting from the day of arrest. On the 46th day, the license automatically expires. Attached to the temporary license is a form which looks like a copy of the temporary license. The copy is a form to request an administrative hearing. It must be completed and mailed or deliver the hearing request form to the Office of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road, Hunt Valley, MD 21031-1301. A request for an MVA hearing requires a $125 filing fee which must be submitted with the request.

Everyone is entitled to an MVA hearing. The MVA hearing is an administrative legal proceeding allowing the accused to present his or her side of the story before any decisions are made regarding driving privileges. When evaluating a DUI arrest in Maryland, the Administrative Law Judge will look at the following issues:

Howard County DUI Attorney

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If you are arrested for a DUI in Howard County, you need access to an attorney who knows the local courts and has considerable past DUI experience. You need to be assured that when you hire your Howard County DUI law firm, you are in competent, experienced and qualified hands. In your search for the right Howard County DUI attorney, your research will have been a success if you call attorney, Jon Portner, Kevin Ruby or Nick Parr at Portner & Shure to discuss.

The DUI Team at Portner & Shure understands that the best DUI case results don't necessarily come in the courtroom. In order to succeed a proper invesitgation must be conducted in the early stage of the process, then discovery. Our DUI legal team has a desire to win and does not back down to the Howard County State's Attorneys office, unlike some other DUI firms. We prepare extensively for DUI cases and treat these cases with the utmost importance. A desire to win and exceptional preparation have enabled us to obtain an excellent track record in the Howard County District Court and the Howard County Circuit Court.

Reading Texts While Driving Now Banned in Maryland

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Starting October 1, 2011, reading a text message or an email from behind the wheel will cost a driver up to $500 in fines. Maryland's new law, barring the reading of texts while driving, clarifies the existing texting while driving rules. Up until this point, drivers were barred from writing text messages while driving but were allowed to read them. Law enforcement authorities have already commented that police officers will begin enforcing the law immediately.

Police in Maryland have issued 587 warnings and 379 traffic citations for texting while driving and 4,021 warnings and 5,227 traffic citations to drivers talking on cell phones since the initial ban was put in place two years ago. The law still provides an exception for drivers who are texting emergency operators or using phone GPS systems.

Drivers who are ticketed can still choose to pay a $70 fine an accept guilt, which would add a point to their license; if the texting leads to an accident, accepting guilt would mean paying a $110 fine and three points on the license. If a driver chooses to contest the ticket in court, that individual runs the risk of being found guilty of a misdemeanor and having to pay up to a $500 fine. If you have been charged with a serious traffic offense or DUI contact the Maryland crimial defense attorneys and Howard County DUI lawyers at Portner & Shure.