June 30 DUI Checkpoint Nets 3 DWI Arrests

On Friday, June 30, 2006, a cooperative effort between the Maryland State Police and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office netted the arrests of three suspected impaired motorists. Additionally, two motorists were charged with driving while license suspended, one having an outstanding bench warrant for their arrest.

The arrests stemmed from “Checkpoint Strikeforce” which was conducted at MD Route 5 south of Mohawk Drive in Charlotte Hall, St. Mary’s County. The operation was conducted between 12:00 am and 3:00 am Saturday morning. 633 vehicles were checked during the operation. The checkpoint was manned by 14 State Troopers and 4 St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Deputies.

During the Checkpoint, 14 motorists were pulled to the side for additional field sobriety testing. Of these, 3 were arrested and charged with Driving While Impaired (DWI).

The slogan for Checkpoint Strikeforce is, “You Drink and Drive, You Lose.” In Maryland, you can lose big. A first-time charge of DWI can carry a penalty of 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, and 8 points on the driver's license. If the offender is transporting a child when arrested, the penalty can increase to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine. A driver is considered to be DWI if his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is between 0.07 and 0.08.

If the BAC is over 0.08, the charge is then designated as Driving Under the Influence (DUI). A first time DUI charge can carry a penalty of one year in jail, a $1000 fine and 12 points. If transporting a minor when arrested, the charge can increase to two years in jail and a $2000 fine.

If you earn eight to eleven points on your driver's license, your license will be suspended. Twelve or more points and your license will be revoked. However, Maryland does have an Ignition Interlock Program. If accepted into the program, your license will be changed to restricted and your vehicle will be fitted with a device that verifies your BAC is acceptable before it allows the vehicle to start. The restriction may only permit you to only drive to and from your place of work.

A DWI or DUI arrest can also carry a significant social penalty. Information related to arrests becomes public information and the names of those arrested will likely appear in the local newspapers and internet news sites. One could also lose their employment if their job requires them to drive or is based on having a valid security clearance.


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