Second or Subsequent DUI Offense
Getting a second, third, or fourth DUI offense in Maryland is a much more serious situation than a first offense. Many prosecutor offices, as a matter of policy, will be seeking jail time for repeat DUI offenders. How much time they may be seeking can depend on many factors, including the time between your offenses and the presence of aggravating factors such as, injuries to other people, property damage, your behavior toward the investigating officers. Possibly more than any type of case, what you do with the time between your arrest and your court date can greatly affect the outcome of your case.
A first offense DUI in Maryland typically carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail. However, for a second DUI, the maximum goes up to two years; a third goes up to three years. Certain convictions within five years of each other require mandatory sentences at least five or ten days in jail. However, there are ways to avoid this mandatory time, if you qualify. Probation can be as long as three years in the District Court and five years in the Circuit Court. The license suspensions handed out by the MVA also become more severe. For example, the license suspension period for recording a 0.15 or more on a breath test goes up from 180 days to 270 days. The suspension period for refusing a test goes up from 270 days to 2 years. But most people do not have to lose their license. There are alternatives.
Another big problem with subsequent offense is that most charged individuals do not qualify for a “probation before judgment” disposition if they are convicted. This means that upon conviction, the driver is at high risk to have his or her driving privileges suspended or revoked because of the conviction and the points that are associated with the conviction. Persons with multiple DUI offense might also be investigated by the Medical Advisory Board of the MVA. This can mean that, if you want to be considered for a license, you have to give the MVA access to your medical and mental health records. They then evaluate all the good things you did, or did not do, following your arrest and determine (1) if you should have a license; and (2) the conditions for getting a license back.
Therefore, it is important to understand that a second or subsequent DUI can threaten your liberty, your ability to drive, your employment, and your ability to conduct your day-to-day matters. It is important that you have an attorney who, from the outset, will work with you to develop an overall strategy before court, that will benefit you long after court. It is important that you have someone in your corner who can recognize any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and use those weaknesses to your advantage. If you find yourself in such a predicament and want to start working on real solutions, call us today at 301-251-9001.