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What Happens If I Get Charged With DUI In Maryland?

The punishment for DUI depends on a lot of factors, but in our experience the two most important factors are whether there was an injury and whether it was a first offense.  A first time offender that is arrested will likely not serve any jail time, as long as there were no injuries and the defendant cooperated with police.  But this is always depends on the jurisdiction where the case is taking place and who the judge happens to be that day.  The Eastern Shore jurisdictions such as Talbot, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s and Worcester Counties tend to be tougher on drunk driving cases while Baltimore and Baltimore County can in some instances be more lenient.  The outcome also depends on the specific prosecutor assigned to the case, and judges typically listen or at the very least take into account the recommendation of the State’s Attorney.

The penalty for drunk driving can include jail time, fines, probation and license suspensions.  Jail time can range anywhere from zero days up to 1 year for a DUI conviction.  Those with multiple convictions can be charged as subsequent offenders and the maximum penalty can increase.  A two-time offender can be sentenced up to 2 years and someone who gets convicted of his or her third DUI faces up to 3 years in prison.  First time offenders with a DWI can receive up to 60 days in jail, and again, the maximum penalty can increase if the defendant is a repeat offender.

A defendant that does not receive a jail sentence can also be punished in the form of a probation sentence.  Probation for drunk driving can range from 1 day to three years, and may include mandatory alcohol classes and community service.  There are also fees involved with probation that can be up to $50 per month.  Violations of probation are common in DUI cases, and even a first time offender may face a jail sentence if he or she violates probation.  Common reasons for violating probation include not attending classes, testing positive for drugs or alcohol (including marijuana) and not paying fees and costs of supervision.  These are all considered technical violations, but that does not mean the judge will take them lightly.

A person who is convicted of drunk driving also faces the possibility of losing their license.  A DUI conviction carries 12 points and an automatic suspension, while a DWI conviction carries 8 points.  If you receive a probation before judgment or PBJ, you will not receive any points unless you violate your probation and the judge takes away your PBJ.  Points are not the only thing that can suspend your license, as refusing a breathalyzer test or testing over the limit of .08 will also trigger a suspension.  The suspension for refusing the test recently increased after the passage of Noah’s law.  A refusal will now come with a 270-day suspension or a 1-year period of using the engine interlock device, which will disable your car unless an alcohol free breath sample is recorded.  If you have any further questions about the penalties for drunk driving contact Benjamin Herbst at 410-207-2598.
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