There’s always some kind of aftermath involved in a routine traffic stop. When a cop pulls you over to warn you about one of your taillights being out or issue a speeding ticket, you’ll probably need to follow up with fines or fixes to avoid having to pull over for the same mistake again. Receiving a charge for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will also require follow-up. But usually DWI and DUI charges pack more of a punch than other common traffic violations.

In Maryland, the penalties attached to a DWI or DUI charge can impact your life from the moment you’re found guilty and for many years down the line. Unlike a traffic ticket, you can wind up in jail and have a mark on your criminal record. Even if you have never been in trouble with the law, it’s important to understand that there isn’t forgiveness if the DUI or DWI you are facing is your first.

Specifically, here are the consequences of a first-time DWI offense in Maryland:

  • A jail sentence that could last up to 2 months
  • A fine as a high as $500
  • A 60-day license suspension period
  • An addition of eight points on your driving record
  • Potential ignition interlock device installation

And these are the consequences of a first-time DUI offense:

  • A jail sentence that could last up to a year
  • A fine as a high as $1,000
  • A six-month license revocation period
  • An addition of 12 points on your driving record
  • Ignition interlock installation for six months

You might only spend a night in jail, but a criminal charge can have lasting effects on your personal and professional life. You might wind up paying spiked car insurance rates, and a criminal charge might leave potential employers choosing other candidates over you after conducting a background check.

No matter the extent of your penalties, a criminal law attorney can help defend your case and fight against undeserving consequences.