Repeat offense DUI

2nd Offense DUILike most states, the Maryland 2nd offense DUI laws are tougher than the first offense laws.  Not only do the maximum jail sentences and fines increase, but there also may be minimum mandatory jail sentences upon conviction for a second offense.  Under state law, a defendant who is convicted twice may also be required to undergo a substance abuse evaluation and attend follow up treatment for alcohol or drug addiction.  If you have been charged with drunk driving it is important to hire a criminal lawyer with actual experience handling cases where the defendant has a prior conviction.  The Herbst Firm’s lawyers have handled second, third, and even fourth offenses, and understand the consequences and unique challenges that these cases present.

The maximum punishment for a 2nd offense doubles from a first to a fine of $2,000 and a jail sentence of 2 years.  This maximum penalty also includes a second offense for driving while impaired by a dangerous controlled substance.  If the defendant’s first conviction was within 5 years of the current DUI, then the defendant may be subject to a minimum mandatory jail sentence of five days.  There are two important things to remember about minimum jail sentences for multiple convictions; first, the judge may not waive or suspend any part of the 5 day minimum jail sentence, and secondly the 5 year clock starts ticking on the day of the first offense conviction, and not the day of the offense.  For example, if a defendant was arrested for a first back in 2006 but not convicted until 2008, then the 5 day minimum mandatory sentence will still apply despite the fact that the first arrest occurred 6 years ago.  A 2nd conviction within 5 years also requires that a defendant undergo a mandatory comprehensive alcohol abuse assessment, and court ordered follow up treatment certified by the DHMH.  Just like the minimum mandatory jail sentence, the treatment requirement for a repeat offender cannot be waived.

A 2nd or subsequent DUI may also have drastic impacts on a defendant ability to legally drive.  Not only does a conviction carry 12 points, but also the MVA has the power to conduct a review of a defendant’s driving record and initiate revocation proceedings.  Just because a person has been charged with this crime does not mean that person will definitely serve jail time, and it does not mean that a person will automatically lose his or her drivers license.  But the stakes are higher a repeat offender case, and it is recommended that anyone facing this charge retain an experienced lawyer.   In recent years the legislature has increased the potential penalties for defendants facing third and fourth offenses for DUI and DWI, and now a third offense can carry up to 5 years in prison.  Anyone charged with DUI or DWI in Maryland faces up to 10 years in prison if they have 3 or more prior impaired driving convictions anywhere in the country.  The 10-year penalty may also apply to defendants who have prior convictions for homicide by vehicle or vessel, or causing life threatening injury by vehicle or vessel.  Benjamin Herbst knows the state laws, and will relentlessly fight to keep his clients out of jail, and legally on the road.  Contact our criminal lawyers today for a free consultation and let us start planning your defense immediately.
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