DUI/DWI and Repeat Offenses


Throughout the country, penalties for drunk driving convictions are steep and Maryland is no exception. Penalties for repeat offenders are even more severe, and prosecutors are tougher on repeat offenders and often seek to make an example of such defendants by asking for the highest penalties possible under the law.

If you are convicted of second or third offense of DUI or DWI in Maryland, you could face the following penalties:

  • DUI second offense: Up to two years in jail, a one-year license suspension, possible ignition interlock program installation and up to $2,000 in fines
  • DWI second offense: Up to one year in jail, a one-year (or longer) license suspension and up to $500 in fines
  • DUI third offense: Up to three years in jail, up to an 18-month license suspension and up to $3,000 in fines
  • DWI third offense: Any of the above and possible additional jail time, a five-year license suspension and participation in a 28-day residential treatment program
  • In addition to legal penalties for a DUI/DWI conviction, such convictions can have far-reaching effects in your personal life, including:
    Increased automobile insurance premiums
  • A criminal record
  • Diminished employment and business opportunities
  • Loss of reputation, family and friends

Get help from a legal professional

Dealing with DUI/DWI charges can be daunting and emotionally stressful. And regardless of the circumstances of your case, you have a right to legal counsel and representation. Further, an arrest does not mean you will be found guilty. When facing DUI/DWI charges, particularly if it is a repeat offense, you need an experienced and skilled attorney who understands the legal process and can mount an effective defense. Contact Jonathan Scott Smith online or call us at 410-740-0101 to schedule a consultation to discuss your DUI/DWI case.

Inaccurate Breath Tests in a DUI/DWI

The results of a breathalyzer test are often considered the strongest evidence a prosecutor has against a defendant in a drunk driving case. However, there are numerous situations in which a breathalyzer gives inaccurate readings. In fact, recent news articles make a good case that breath-testing machines may not provide reliable results.

A significant problem with many breath – testing machines is that they not only detect the chemical compound found in alcoholic beverages (ethyl alcohol) but other chemicals similar in molecular structure. At any given time, more than 100 compounds can be detected in human breath, a majority of which can be incorrectly identified as ethyl alcohol. For example, certain medications, artificial sweeteners and even exposure to paint fumes can cause false positives.

Other circumstances that can give inaccurate readings include:

  • Improperly administered tests
  • Improper calibration of the machine
  • Tests administered by untrained personnel
  • Unmaintained equipment
  • Medical conditions of the person being tested

Refusing a breath test

Should you refuse to submit to a breath test, the prosecution does have to compile other evidence to build a case against you. However, by refusing a breath test, law enforcement may infer that your refusal was based upon your belief that you were legally intoxicated. Further, by refusing a subsequent breath test at the police station you risk a driver’s suspension.

Regardless of the circumstances of your arrest, an experienced DUI attorney can provide sound legal advice. An experienced attorney can examine the evidence against you and help determine if the breath test was administered properly, and whether the results were accurate. Contact Jonathan Scott Smith online or call us at 410-740-0101 to discuss your DUI/DWI case.

The Importance of Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Hearings

If you have been arrested on a Maryland DUI/DWI you must act quickly to avoid losing your license. An experienced criminal law attorney can help you challenge an automatic license suspension through a Motor Vehicle Administration hearing.

The MVA Process

If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI, you have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request an MVA hearing to retain your driving privileges until the hearing date. If you fail to request an MVA hearing within that 10-day period, your driver’s license is automatically suspended. Although you may represent yourself at the MVA hearing, having an attorney knowledgeable in the license suspension process improves your chances of maintaining some or all of your driving privileges.

An administrative law judge (ALJ) conducts the hearing and reviews all the evidence against you from the arresting officer and hears testimony regarding your arrest. You are also allowed to present evidence and give testimony on your behalf. You may also present witnesses, who are subpoenaed to testify on your behalf.

After reviewing all the presented evidence, the ALJ makes a final decision on the following issues:

  • Was probable cause established by the arresting officer?
  • Was proper procedure followed by the arresting officer?
  • Did the defendant submit to or refuse a chemical test?

If the ALJ decides the evidence warrants your license suspension, then the license suspension is upheld. In the case of a suspension, you may be eligible for a restricted permit. If the ALJ decides in your favor, your license is reinstated.

If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI, you should retain an experienced attorney who understands the Maryland administrative hearing process. Contact Jonathan Scott Smith online or call us at 410-740-0101 to discuss your MVA hearing.


  • Jonathan Scott Smith 10490 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 200 ,Columbia, MD 21044-4960

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101