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Baltimore drunk driving on the rise, study says

It may seem as though when Baltimore law enforcement of drunk driving violations increases, the number of drunk driving arrests should eventually decrease. This does not seem to be the case, according to numbers released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The NHTSA reported that more Maryland residents suffered from drunk driving fatalities in 2011 than did in 2010. The current number is a little higher that the national average which is 31 percent. In Maryland last year, 33 percent of the traffic fatalities were related to drunk driving.

A driving while intoxicated conviction carries a significant punishment, and yet is not a deterrent for many. A first DWI conviction can result in up to 2 months in jail, a 6 month minimum driver's license suspension and a fine of up to $500.

If one wishes to avoid a DWI charge by refusing to take the chemical breath test, there is a punishment for that as well. The first refusal to take the test results in a 120-day driver's license suspension. A second refusal results in a one year suspension.

The drunk driving statistics vary according to county.

It was reported that there were 16 drunk driving related fatalities in Carroll County which was disproportionately high compared to the population. Charles County and Washington County, with similar sized populations had 13 drunk driving deaths and 22 drunk driving deaths, respectively.

A police spokesperson was concerned about the numbers and said that enforcement efforts will be ramped up. December is "Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month" which will also elicit additional surveillance and numerous saturation patrols.

Anyone who is arrested for suspected drunk driving would be wise to obtain an experienced drunk driving criminal defense attorney.

Source: Carroll County times, "Maryland had more drunk drivers in 2011 than 2010," Kelcie Pegher, Dec. 15, 2012

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