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Law enforcement step up patrols over St. Patrick's Day weekend

March 15, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

Law enforcement agencies said they intend to step up patrols to keep the roadways safe over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Maryland State Police, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Hagerstown Police Department said the patrols will focus on heavily traveled areas and spots where alcohol-related accidents are common.

“We are having additional people out this weekend, but particularly on St. Patrick’s Day,” state police Lt. Tom Woodward said. “We have an obligation to be out there. We hope that getting the message out ahead of time is a big deterrent.”

Two people died in Maryland last year as a result of alcohol-related accidents on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, according to information provided by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. During that same period, Maryland law enforcement stopped more than 3,500 vehicles and arrested 176 people for driving under the influence.

Hagerstown police and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said they will use grant money to fund the overtime of officers who work this weekend.

Lt. Paul Kifer of the Hagerstown Police Department said officers in the city typically don’t see a higher volume of DUI cases on St. Patrick’s Day, but they put extra patrols on the roadways to be safe.

“People are pretty good — at least here in the city,” Kifer said. “We’re asking people to go out and enjoy the holidays ... Just be responsible. That’s what we really want.”

The fine in Maryland for a first-time DUI conviction with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is $1,000. That fine increases to $2,000 for a second conviction.

Penalties also could include jail time and the revocation of the offender’s driver’s license.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Carly Hose said deputies would be “conducting aggressive traffic enforcement” over the weekend.”

“We always ask that people use good judgment and don’t drive when they’re impaired,” she said. “We’re going to try to keep people safe.”

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Maryland drunk driving penalties:

If your blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher, you are guilty of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI):

First DUI offense:

  • $1,000 fine.
  • Up to one year in jail.
  • 12 points on your license.
  • License revocation for up to six months.


Second time DUI offense:

  • $2,000 fine.
  • Up to two years imprisonment with a mandatory minimum of five days.
  • 12 points on your license.
  • For two convictions within five years, a mandatory period of suspension followed by a minimum required period of participation in the Ignition Interlock Program.
  • License revocation for up to one year.
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol abuse assessment and program.

If your BAC is .07 or higher, you can be convicted of Driving while Impaired by Alcohol (DWI):

First time DWI offense:

  • $500 fine.
  • Up to two months imprisonment.
  • Eight points on your license.
  • Up to a 60-day license suspension.


Second DWI offense:

  • $500 fine.
  • Up to one year imprisonment.
  • Eight points on your license.
  • Up to a 120-day license suspension.


Source: Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.

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