Blowing Over The Legal Limit (.08%) In Maryland
Answer: Maryland’s per se DUI law, it means essentially in a nutshell that you blew a 0.08% or higher. So, when you get stopped and arrested for DUI, you’re going to have a number of drunk driving or DUI tickets, and clients always want to know why it is that they have three, typically three tickets or more all related to DUI. Well, the reason is, 21-902(a)(1), driving under the influence, is the higher of the charges and it means that your normal coordination was substantially impaired.
The next charge related is 21-902(a)(2). That is the per se charge, and it literally says per se on the ticket. And what it technically means is you blew a 0.08% or higher. Now, the reason this can be problematic is because the State’s attorney can use that number alone with no other information, other than a lawful stop, to properly charge you and get you convicted of a DUI. So what that means is, utilizing the other charge, the (a)(1) charge, in that case there has to be a lawful stop and there has to be proof of your impairment, whether it be driving or field tests or any other types of impairment that they frequently look for. That’s how they would prove the (a)(1) charge.
Now, the (a)(2) charge, which is the per se charge, in that case, all they need is a lawful arrest. So, for example, if you were speeding in your car, for example, and they lawfully stopped your car, and then they smelled alcohol on your breath and they got you out of the car and you did some field tests which did not go well and then you ultimately blew in the machine and you blew a 0.10%; well, once that 0.10% comes into evidence in court, then the prosecution has successfully proven their case under the per se charge. That’s why the prosecutors love that particular ticket and that charge, because it’s fairly easy for them to prove. Once that number comes into evidence, the case is over. The client is now in trouble for a DUI charge, or the (a)(2) charge.
Yes, You Can Contest The Breath Machine
Now, having said that to you: all is not lost simply because you blew a number into the machine and it was 0.08% or higher. There are many different things that experienced DUI counsel in Maryland has available to them to try to keep the number out of evidence. But, conversely, if that number does come in to evidence, then the person is essentially guilty of the per se charge.