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Many Maryland DWI cases don’t involve injury or even poor driving

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in Maryland are the equivalent of driving under the influence (DUI) charges in other states. Police officers who arrest someone on suspicion of a DWI offense may have witnessed someone drive in a very unsafe manner. They may intentionally stop those driving erratically or swerving all over the road.

The arrest could also be the result of a crash. It is quite common for police officers to perform chemical tests after collisions or to gauge people for intoxication when conducting a traffic stop for poor behavior in traffic. Some people arrested for DWI offenses do not fall into either of those categories. They may have gotten arrested during a traffic stop for an unrelated concern.

How do those who don’t cause crashes or drive poorly violate Maryland’s impaired driving laws?

The law limits blood alcohol levels

One of the key components of a standard DWI arrest is the administration of a chemical breath test. Police officers establish someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as a way of verifying that they are chemically impaired.

The drunk driving statute in Maryland prohibits people from driving when they know mind-altering substances may affect their control of a vehicle. The law also imposes a BAC limit. If someone is over the age of 21 and in a passenger vehicle, the typical BAC limit is 0.08%. There are lower limits that apply for those with restricted driving privileges, underage motorists and those operating commercial vehicles.

The statute imposing a BAC limit is a per se statute. The law makes it an offense in and of itself to exceed the legal limit for BAC regardless of whether the alcohol in someone’s system has a provable impact on their ability. Drivers therefore need to monitor not just their level of impairment but also their intake of alcohol to ensure that they do not go over the limit. Those accused of a technical or per se DWI offense still have options for defending against those allegations.

Looking at the state’s case with an experienced criminal defense attorney can be a good starting point for those hoping to defend against pending DWI charges. Drivers who know what state law prohibits can better plan a more effective defense strategy.