Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in every U.S. state and most have stiff penalties for even a first-time offense. If you have been arrested for DUI in Maryland in the past and then become a repeat offender, the state is not going to look favorably upon your case.
The penalties for first-time DUI offenses can include jail time and stiff fines, but most courts will be more lenient in the understanding that everyone can make a mistake. You may have resolved your case with some fines, probation, and a brief license suspension. Many of these cases end in probation before judgment (PBJ) which allows you to avoid a conviction once your case is resolved. Unfortunately, penalties escalate for each subsequent DUI, depending on how soon after the first they occur.
What is Maryland’s Look-Back Period?
A look-back period is the allowable time between DUI arrests that the law will use to enhance penalties. In Maryland, if you get a second DUI within five years of the first DUI, then there will be increased penalties. It’s also important to note that if you received a PBJ in your first DUI case, you would not be eligible to receive another PBJ in Maryland for ten years.
What Happens If I Get a Second DUI?
If you get a second DUI, the state can pursue subsequent offender penalties if you were previously convicted of DUI. If you received a PBJ in your first case, this would not apply as it was not a conviction. The maximum penalty for a second DUI offense in Maryland is a $2,000 fine, a one-year license suspension, and up to two years in jail.
Most people don’t receive maximum sentences for a second offense, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t something to take seriously. You are unlikely to receive another PBJ so are looking at a conviction for DUI, which has grave consequences. With a criminal conviction, you will have points added to your driver’s license as well as a permanent record that is going to impact your life for many years to come.
There is also a chance that you will either have your license revoked or must put an ignition interlock device on your car, which is an additional expense. If your license is just suspended, you will not qualify for a work permit in Maryland if you have a prior alcohol conviction or license suspension within the past five years.
What Are the Penalties for a Third DUI?
Being arrested a third time for a DUI in Maryland can bring harsh punishment since the state believes that you are likely to continue to repeat these offenses. Third DUI penalties include fines of up to $3,000, license revocation and additional points, and up to three years in prison.
A repeat DUI such as this can lead to a minimum jail term, guaranteeing that you will spend some time in jail, as well as an ignition interlock device on your car if you can drive at all. You will also be ordered into an alcohol treatment program at your expense and be required to purchase high-risk auto insurance.
When you’ve been charged with DUI as a repeat offender, the state also looks closely at your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your arrest. In these cases, there may be additional penalties or a lack of leniency if your BAC is well over the legal limit of 0.08.
Speak with a Qualified Maryland DUI Attorney
When you receive a second or third DUI, prosecutors become much more interested in pursuing your case. As a first-time offender, the DA and arresting officers may not have aggressively pursued penalties, but they will be more likely to do so if they see that you are a repeat offender.
If you’ve been charged with your second or third DUI, the stakes are incredibly high, and it’s vital that you speak with an experienced and aggressive Maryland DUI attorney about your case as soon as possible. Jonathan Fellner, Attorney at Law, has been successfully defending some of the most serious DUI cases in Maryland for more than 15 years.
If a mistake was made during your arrest, it might be possible to hold the police accountable and turn the circumstances to your advantage. Contact our Rockville office now at (301) 309-2000 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.