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Howard County DUI Lawyer

Fighting Drunk Driving Charges in Columbia, MD

Drunk driving charges in Maryland are serious. If you are accused and convicted of either driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or driving while impaired by alcohol (DWI), you could face harsh penalties. Even a first offense can lead to jail time, a steep fine, and a loss of driving privileges. Upon a second or subsequent violation, the penalties increase and may include a mandatory term of incarceration. Additionally, completing your sentence does not necessarily mean that you will be relieved of the adverse consequences of a drunk driving conviction. You will also have a criminal record following you around, which could close doors to various opportunities.

What Can a DUI Lawyer Do For You?

If you are facing charges of driving under the influence (DUI), a DUI lawyer can be an invaluable asset in protecting your rights and helping you navigate the complex legal system. They can provide expert legal guidance and support throughout the entire process, from the initial arrest to the final disposition of your case. A skilled DUI lawyer can review the evidence against you and identify any weaknesses in the prosecution's case. They can also negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss the charges against you. If your case goes to trial, a DUI lawyer can represent you and present a strong defense.

Additionally, a DUI lawyer can advise you on your legal rights and options and help you understand the potential consequences of a conviction. Ultimately, a DUI lawyer can provide you with the legal representation you need to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome in your case. A lot is at stake in a Maryland drunk driving case. That is why you must contact our skilled Howard County DUI attorneys at Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake as soon as possible.

As one of the few law firms named a Tier 1 DUI/DWI defense firm by U.S. News & World Reports, our Howard County DUI lawyers are uniquely suited to seek the best possible outcome for you. Schedule a free consultation by calling (410) 927-5137 or submitting an online contact form today.

DUI vs. DWI: Understanding Maryland's Drunk Driving Laws

Under Maryland’s drunk driving statute (Md. Transportation Code § 21-902), a person operating a vehicle while under the influence of or while impaired by alcohol can be charged with either a DUI or DWI. What distinguishes the two is the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the offense or the severity of their impairment.

  • In a DUI case, the accused must have either had a BAC of .08 or higher or their normal faculties must have been substantially altered because of the consumption of alcohol.
  • With a DWI, a person may be charged if their ability to safely operate their vehicle was in some way affected by their consumption of alcohol. Additionally, the driver need not have had a BAC at or above the legal limit. If their level was .07 or more but less than .08, they might still be accused or convicted of this offense. 


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See Why We're the Right Choice

Reasons to Choose Our Firm
  • We approach every case as a team.
  • Every initial consultation is free and no-obligation.
  • We are available for you 24/7.
  • We are a team of former prosecutors and know how the other side thinks.
  • We have in-house payment plan options on qualifying cases.
  • We are highly recommended and awarded by various associations.

A High-Quality Reputation

Read Reviews from Real People
    "Will Be In Good Hands"
    I never hesitate to refer any potential clients with criminal defense needs to Justin Lake or David Zwanetz
    - Joe M.
    "Easy to work with"
    Prompt, professional, and easy to work with as a client.
    - Zach S.
    "Great Lawyer With Ethics and Morals"
    From my 8-month experience, Mr. Justin Lake is a great lawyer with ethics and morals. Even more a good man in a time there seems to be a shortage of. Highly recommend!
    - L.W.
This Isn't a "Paycheck" This Is Our Calling
At Shapiro, Zwanetz & Lake (SZL) we believe in thinking differently from most lawyers and law firms. We help our clients understand and accept their legal situation; we work with them to confront and improve that situation, while seeking the best outcome available at law. We recognize that each client is a unique individual, each deserving of the highest client/customer service; and we just happen to get our clients excellent results while we deliver that exceptional service.

Can MD Drunk Driving Charges Be Beat?

As with any other criminal offense, anyone accused of driving under the influence or driving while impaired is considered innocent unless proven otherwise. Thus, defenses can be raised to challenge the accusations.

Potential defenses in DUI/DWI cases include, but are not limited to:

  • Unlawful stop: An officer must have had probable cause to pull a driver over, meaning they must have observed the driver violating or attempting to violate the law. If they made the stop based on a hunch, it may be deemed unlawful and collected evidence may be inadmissible in court.
  • Improper procedures: Just as with the DUI stop itself, every step in the arrest process must be done according to proper and lawful procedures. For instance, the officer must read the driver their rights and provide them with a specific form before administering a chemical test. An officer failing to adhere to their legal responsibilities could be raised as a defense.
  • Improperly maintained or calibrated machines: In a DUI case, the driver may be subject to a chemical test to determine their BAC level. If the testing machines are not maintained and calibrated as necessary, they could return skewed results, making it appear as if the driver was at or above the legal limit even though they weren’t.
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