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The personal harm a drunk driving charge can cause

Statistics can tell you how many drivers and passengers are killed or injured in alcohol-related accidents in and outside of Maryland. Numbers tell when, where and how often drunk driving accidents occur and draw similarities between fatalities and injury crashes.

Many people feel disconnected from these grim statistics until they are pulled over by a Prince Georges County officer. It doesn't take much alcohol to exceed the legal limit, a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent is a DWI qualifier. Just one drink too many at a pleasant social gathering can put you in the same legal trouble as drivers who cause a death every 30 minutes nationwide and every 58 hours in Maryland.

You don't have to be facing an intoxicated manslaughter charge to realize horrific totals -- like more than 40 percent of traffic accidents nationwide involve alcohol -- are taken seriously by lawmakers, law enforcement agencies and judges.

Penalties for driving under the influence can threaten a career, a marriage and a defendant's financial well-being. The consequences of a criminal record can last a lifetime for a mistake you may have made only once. Approximately, 66 percent of defendants convicted of drunk-driving have no prior DUIs.

A defendant's world changes almost instantly after a DUI charge. A driver's license suspension or restricted license limits where you can go and how you get there for months, sometimes years. You may have to install an ignition interlock system on your vehicle, pay thousands of dollars in fines, take part in an alcohol abuse program and go to the last place you ever thought you'd be -- jail.

These aren't just temporary inconveniences -- they are life-damaging, long-lasting consequences that criminal defense lawyers can help defendants avoid or reduce, when possible. Exercise your rights to know the seriousness of the charges you face by discussing your legal options with a defense attorney.

Source: Life Tips, "Useful Drunk Driving Facts," Lynda Moultry, accessed June 12, 2015

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