Maryland advertises its BAC (blood alcohol concentration) limit throughout the state on social media, billboards, and other methods of communication. Most drivers know the limit and don’t get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking too much. But did you know you could be arrested for DUI in Maryland even if your BAC is below the .08% legal limit?
Drinking and driving is a crime in the United States. And most states, including Maryland, have a legal BAC limit of .08%. If a police officer pulls you over and you fail to pass a breathalyzer test, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI. If you show signs of being intoxicated, you can be charged with a DUI, and in some situations, a driver can be charged with a DUI with even the most minuscule amount of alcohol in their system.
We’ll explain some situations that could result in a DUI charge, even if your BAC is below the legal limit.
To pull a vehicle over, a police officer has to have a good reason. This reason can range from a driver running a stop sign to speeding. If the officer smells alcohol on the driver’s breath, if the driver is acting unusual, or if they see open containers in the car, they may ask the driver to take a breathalyzer test.
That means if an officer stops you and they believe you are impaired or intoxicated, you can be charged with a DUI, even if your BAC is under the legal limit. The final discretion is left to the officer to determine if a driver is under the influence.
Accidents Resulting From Drinking and Driving
Severe legal penalties typically follow if an accident results from drinking and driving. When a driver is found to be intoxicated, their insurance company will assess the liability. That means that all parties involved in the accident could file a lawsuit for vehicle damage or any injuries they sustained resulting from the accident.
In personal injury lawsuits, plaintiffs do not have to prove that the driver was legally intoxicated to receive compensation. The claim must simply demonstrate that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused the damage or injuries.
Along with civil lawsuits, the driver may also face criminal charges. If the officer responding to the accident believes you are under the influence, they can administer field sobriety tests. Using the results of these tests, or the breathalyzer test, they can charge you with a DUI or a DWI. Because even if you are below the legal limit, you’ve endangered yourself and others on the road.
Maryland has a zero-tolerance policy regarding underage drivers drinking and driving. Being charged with a DUI under 21 is a serious charge. And the impact can affect your ability to drive and even get a job.
An underage driver can receive a DUI charge even with a low amount of alcohol in their blood. If a driver under 21 is found to have a BAC of .02% or above, they can be charged with a DUI Per Se.
Drivers Holding a CDL
Similar to underage drivers, if an individual holds a CDL, they can be charged with a DUI even if their BAC is below .08%. You could be charged with a DUI if you hold a CDL in Maryland and have a BAC of .04%. It’s essential to note that a driver can potentially achieve this BAC by having just one drink.
If a CDL driver is found guilty of a DUI for their first offense, their CDL can be suspended for a year. And if they have another DUI offense, they could receive a lifetime suspension of their CDL. So if you have a CDL, your best option is to avoid alcohol altogether to avoid losing your livelihood.
Let Jeremy Widder Law Help Protect Your Rights
As you can see, even one or two drinks can lead you to a criminal charge, and you shouldn’t take criminal charges lightly. They can affect your life in many ways you may not even realize. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you must contact an experienced DUI lawyer immediately. They can help you fight a DUI charge to keep your record clean and help you avoid losing your license and jail time.
At Jeremy Widder Law, we will defend what’s most important to you. We will guide you through the legal process and protect your rights and future. We have a significant amount of trial experience focused on criminal defense. As a result, you can expect empathy, transparency, authenticity, creative problem-solving, and the technical knowledge needed to help you through the legal process.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.