What happens for a first-time DUI charge?

If you have gotten your first DUI charge, you should prepare yourself by learning the possible penalties. Learn what could happen once you go to court.

Any driver who has anything to drink and gets behind the wheel risks getting pulled over for a DUI. Driving under the influence is a charge that is taken seriously by Maryland law enforcement and the courts. Even a first-time offender is subject to serious penalties.

Every person should understand the legal consequences of drinking and driving. If a person is lucky enough to not cause an accident, he or she still faces the potential risk of losing his or her driver's license and spending time in jail, along with other sanctions.

Basic penalties

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, upon the first conviction for a DUI or DWI, a person will have their driver's license revoked. How long the license is taken away depends on the actual charge. A DUI charge carries revocation of the driver's license for up to six months. A DWI conviction will end with a license suspension of six months.

In addition to losing their driver's license, a person convicted of a DUI or DWI will get points added to his or her license. For a DUI, it is 12 points, and a DWI carries eight points.

Furthermore, the basic penalties also come with fines and possible jail time. A DUI may result in the person being put in jail for up to one year and have to pay a fine of up to $1,000. A DWI could cost a person up to $500 and land him or her in jail for up to two months.

Finally, even with all the other punishments, a person also has to get an alcohol restriction on his or her license. This means he or she cannot drive with any alcohol in his or her system. The legal limit no longer applies because there is no legal limit. If pulled over, someone with a restriction must submit to a BAC test or face additional penalties.

Ignition locks

ABC News notes that in 2016, the state added a new penalty for drunk drivers in the hopes it would help to greatly cut down on the high number of fatal accident attributed to drinking and driving. Anyone convicted of a DUI or who refuses a BAC test when asked by law enforcement must be ordered to have an ignition lock installed on his or her vehicle. This device requires the person to breathe into it and not have a BAC over the legal limit in order for the vehicle to start.

If you have been arrested for a DUI or DWI, then you should seek legal help. Consider contacting the Law Offices of Thomas C. Mooney.