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Impaired driving can lead to serious criminal charges

It has been almost a year since the impaired driving laws in Maryland changed. It is important that you know the current law so that you can ensure you comply with the law. Here is some basic information that you should know.

When a police officer thinks that you are driving while you are impaired, the officer will request that you take a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol concentration. In some cases, you might be asked to take a field sobriety test.

If it is determined that your BAC is .08 percent or above, you will likely face criminal charges. On a first offense, you face up to a year in jail. That doubles on a second offense. On a second offense, there is a mandatory minimum of five days in jail. You will also get 12 points added to your license on a first or second offense.

If your BAC is .07 percent or higher, you can also face criminal charges. On a first offense, you face up to two months in jail. A second offense can land you in jail for up to a year. Fines and other penalties are also possible in these cases.

If you refuse testing to determine your BAC or for drug usage, your driver's license can be confiscated. It is possible that you might be able to have an ignition interlock instead of a suspension if it is the first time that you refused testing.

Knowing what options you have, such as using the ignition interlock instead of having your license suspended can be very important if you are facing drunk driving charges.

Source: Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration, "Maryland Impaired Driving Laws," accessed Sep. 15, 2016

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