What is the true definition of a DWI offense?

You may have heard the term “drunk driving” in the past, but do you know the real meaning of driving under the influence? Many Maryland residents may not know that they are at risk of being charged with DUI, even if their blood alcohol content measures under the legal limit. All Maryland drivers need to know about their legal rights and responsibilities when it comes to allegations of operating under the influence.

What is the definition of drunk driving? In most states, drunk driving means that the defendant is accused of operating a motor vehicle on a road while intoxicated because of alcohol or drugs. Even those defendants whose blood alcohol content level measures less than 0.08 percent may be charged with a “per se offense” if they were driving erratically or unsafely.

How do officials determine whether a driver is under the influence? Law enforcement officers play a big role in this process. These officers can provide testimony about the driver’s performance on field sobriety tests. Further, modern police vehicles are more likely to be outfitted with cameras that capture the entire traffic stop on camera. Officers also report on the defendant’s physical condition, noting whether the driver smelled of alcohol or displayed other signs of intoxication.

Does the nature of your vehicle have an impact? In many cases, defendants face different penalties if their vehicle was off the roadway, or even if their keys were not in the ignition of the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop. Further, the operability of the vehicle may be taken into account; it is unlikely that someone could commit a DUI offense in a vehicle that cannot be driven!

No matter the nature of your drunk driving charges, the use of an experienced attorney is always a wise choice. Simply pleading guilty because you do not understand the DUI system can lead to long-term consequences. Examine all of your legal options before making a major decision about your future.

Source: FindLaw, “Elements of a DUI Offense” Oct. 08, 2014