Being in legal trouble is never a fun situation. In fact, it is very nerve wracking. This is especially true when you have no idea what to expect. If you are facing a DUI charge for the first time, it may help to soothe your nerves if you learn what penalties you may face. Do note that Maryland DUI laws underwent an update in 2016, so even if you have previous experience with a DUI situation, you may not know the current rules and penalties.

The law takes even a first-time DUI charge very seriously. Lawmakers set the penalties for a first-time offender in hopes that the person will learn from the experience and not do it again.

A few points to know

According to the Motor Vehicle Administration, the penalties for drunk driving depend on whether you face a charge of driving while impaired by alcohol or a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, so you need to know your exact charge. In addition, if you have a minor in your vehicle when the incident occurs, you may face increased penalties. If you are under the age of 21, you might face additional charges as well.

Penalties

For a DWI, on your first offense, the court may suspend your license for six months. You may also face a fine of up to $500 and a sentence of up to two months in jail. Finally, you will get eight points added to your driving record.

For a first-offense DUI, the penalties are bit harsher. The fine you may pay increases to up to $1,000. Jail time increases to up to one year. You also get 12 points on your license, and the court may revoke your license for up to six months.

Because you face severe penalties and a mark on your driving and criminal records, you should take a DUI or DWI charge very seriously.