Most of us wouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car after having a few drinks with friends at a local restaurant. Most of us would utilize a designated driver, call an Uber or call another sober friend to give us a lift home. We all read and hear about the tragic stories on the news- families torn apart, lives shattered by one person’s serious lack of judgement. It’s enough to make us all shake our heads and say “I would never…” or “I can’t imagine…” But, somehow, in 2018 there were nearly 7,100 driver–involved alcohol or drug impaired accidents in Maryland. The highest number since 2014. Nearly 2,200 of these accidents caused injuries to 3,147 innocent victims. What’s worse: 130 of those accidents were fatal, resulting in 142 fatalities altogether in 2018.
Maryland Laws Prohibiting Intoxicated or Impaired Driving
There are actually two categories of offenses in Maryland: Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Driving Under the Influence (DUI). A driver can be convicted of a DWI if driving while his or her normal condition is affected by alcohol to some extent. This level of intoxication is considered a lower standard than that of a DUI. A person can get a DUI for driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher.
Penalties for a DWI are typically less severe than those for a DUI, but depend on the number of prior offenses in the past ten years. Penalties include jail time anywhere from 2 months to 3 years and fines anywhere between $500 and $3,000. For a DUI, penalties are also dependent on the number of prior offenses. These include jail time between 1 and 3 years and fines between $1,000 and $3,000 maximum.
In 2016, Maryland House Bill 1342 and Senate Bill 945 was passed in an effort to toughen Maryland’s DUI penalties by requiring ignition interlocks on the vehicles of every person convicted of a DUI in Maryland. In addition to license suspensions, those convicted of a DUI with a BAC of .15 or higher, who are under age 21, or had children in the car at the time of the offense are required to install an ignition interlock device into their vehicle.
Noah’s Law is named after a Montgomery County police office, Noah Leotta, who was killed by a suspected drunk driver in December 2015.
Let Us Help
If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident as the result of someone else’s alcohol or drug impaired driving, give Ferrante, Dill & Hisle partner Nicholas Ferrante a call today. Mr. Ferrante has decades of experience fighting Personal Injury cases on both sides of the fence- for insurance companies, and the little guys as well. He now takes that insider knowledge and uses it to his clients’ advantage. Your initial consult is free- call us today at (410) 535-6100 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.