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Don't let DUIs and DWIs ruin your holiday

The holiday season is one in which police officers increase the attention they place on drunk driving. It is imperative for people who are going to head out to holiday events to have a plan for making it home safely if they are going to consume adult beverages. There is a chance that you will face drunk driving charges if you try to drive home after a night of partying.

There are two levels of drunk driving for drivers who can legally drink here in Maryland. You can face a driving while impaired (DWI) charge if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .07 percent. If your BAC is .08 percent or higher, you can face the more serious driving under the influence (DUI) charge.

Commercial drivers have a legal BAC limit that is lower than other drivers. They can't have a BAC of .04 or higher if they want to avoid criminal charges.

Underage drinkers have an even lower BAC limit. These individuals will face charges if their BAC is at or above .02 percent. It doesn't matter if they are impaired or not since Maryland is a zero tolerance state.

Any driver who is charged with drunk driving will face enhanced charges if they have children in the vehicle. This adds more time to the possible jail term and more money to the fine.

First time charges are as follows:

  • DUI: Up to a year imprisonment and a fine up to $1,000
  • DWI: Up to two months imprisonment and a fine up to $500
  • DUI with children: Up to two years imprisonment and a fine up to $2,000
  • DWI with children: Up to six months imprisonment and a fine up to $1,000

The penalties are even more severe for subsequent charges. It is best to avoid putting yourself in a position where you might face these charges. If you do face them, carefully weigh your options and think about how the penalties, including a suspended driver's license, might impact your life.

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