Driving under the influence is a serious crime that comes with serious penalties especially if it’s more than your first offense. Driving while intoxicated is not only a dangerous decision, but also one that can affect you for the rest of your life. From fines to jail time, to not being able to go to the college you want, get the job you want, or even the apartment you want, DUI charges have lasting repercussions that affect you and your family.
This is why if you are ever charged with driving under the influence, it is critical that you contact a DUI defense attorney. The lawyers at Carey Law Office will do everything they can to check for the legal viability of the charge, and if it’s accurate, ensure that the penalties you receive are the least injurious to you.
What constitutes a DUI?
Driving under the influence (DUI) can occur if you are pulled over and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is recorded to be at least 0.08% or higher. If pulled over, the police officer can determine your BAC through certain field sobriety tests such as a breathalyzer test, one-leg stand test, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, and others. Such factors, as your weight and how much food you may have eaten with the alcohol you drank, can affect your BAC levels.
You can legally choose to not take the field sobriety tests, but due to the implied consent laws in Maryland (and most other states), if you further choose to not to take any chemical tests (blood, urine, breath) at the precinct or police department, it can result in your license being suspended for at least 120 days.
In 2021, according to data provided by the Maryland Highway Safety Office’s Zero Deaths initiative, there were 6,522 car accidents that involved alcohol and/or drugs. Of those accidents, 1,898 were crashes that resulted in injuries, and totalled 154 fatalities.
What are the penalties for being convicted of DUI?
As of recently, the penalties for repeat offenders of DUI have changed quite a bit, mostly for people who have been convicted of DUI three or more times. Not only will you receive points on your license, your license revoked, and hefty fines, but you may have to do jail time if you cannot afford to pay the fine.
If you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI):
- For a first offense, you will either spend a year in jail or pay a fine of up to $1,000. Twelve points will be added to your driving record, and your license may be revoked for up to six months. An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) will be installed in your vehicle, per Noah’s Law.
- For a second offense, you must spend at least five days in jail, with a two year minimum jail sentence should you not be able to pay the $2,000 fine. Again, 12 points will be added to your driving record, and your license may be suspended for up to a year. The IID will be installed in your vehicle.
In both instances, you may be required to participate in an alcohol abuse assessment program.
How have the penalties changed for third time (or more) offenders?
A person who was guilty of a third (or more) offense when it came to DUIs used to be subject to:
- A $3,000 fine or;
- Up to three years in prison.
The license is still revoked and the IID will still be installed, as well as having to participate in alcohol abuse assessment programs.
As of the 2020 update of MD Statute §21-902, a person guilty of three or more DUI offenses will now be guilty of a misdemeanor and be penalized with:
- Up to 10 years in prison, or;
- A fine not exceeding $10,000.
This sort of change can drastically affect you more than having to pay three grand or spend three years in prison. While the previous penalty was difficult, the new one can be even more life changing than ever before.
Why you need a lawyer
Some states allow you to get your DUI offenses expunged (legally removed) from your criminal record, but this is not the case for Maryland. DUIs will stay on your permanent record unless under very specific circumstances surrounding the validity of the conviction.
This is why it is critical that you have a knowledgeable DUI/DWI defense attorney working for you. A dedicated lawyer will do everything they can to keep you from being convicted of a DUI in the first place, so you do not have to worry about a marred criminal record which may keep you from getting the jobs you want, obtaining loans, going to the school of your choice, or applying for housing.
If you have been charged with DUI, but not yet convicted, then you can still affect the outcome of your case. Depending on the actions you took, that the officer took, and the events that led up to the arrest, we could ensure that your penalties are lessened, if not ensuring that you do not receive a DUI conviction altogether.
If this is the case for you, call the Carey Law Office team at 301-464-2500 or use our contact page to set up a consultation now at our Crofton, Bowie, or Owings offices right away to discuss your options. We also happily serve Calvert County.
My name is Joe Carey, and I am the founder and principal attorney of the Carey Law Office. I have lived in Maryland my entire life. I grew up in a small town in Prince George’s County and, with the help of my partner in life, Nancy, I raised my family here: three exceptional children (a son and two daughters), and two goofy, spoiled black Labrador Retrievers. Learn More