Maryland, like most states, has severe fines and penalties associated with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges. If you are arrested and charged with DUI, you will need to appear in Court. At your hearing, based on the circumstances of your arrest and your record, you can expect:
For First Time Offense
• Up to one year in jail – however a minimum jail term is not set
• Up to two years in jail if a minor was in the car at the time of the arrest
• License suspension of six months
• Fine of up to $1,000, or $2,000 if a minor was in the vehicle.
How the Court Sees It
The judge has the ability to impose any and all of these penalties against the defendant if they are convicted of the crime. If it is your second offense or more, you can expect to see each of these categories increase by at least double.
It should be noted that the State of Maryland has two distinct charges for drunk driving. Driving While Impaired (DWI) is a blood alcohol content of .02 -.07. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) requires a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. The penalties and fines are very similar for either charge, with DUI having the more severe terms.
How A DUI Can Change Your Life
When you think of being charged with a DUI, you often think of losing your license or perhaps having to serve time in jail. Most people, however, do not think about the personal problems that will come as a result of a DUI conviction. When you have been convicted of a DUI, you will see the following changes in your life:
• Your car insurance rates will skyrocket. Once a DUI is on your record, you will pay double your current premium rates because the insurance companies now see you as a liability.
• Your inability to drive while your license is suspended will cause family and friends to become stressed. Having to “beg rides” to work, to the doctor or to the grocery store will become burdensome to others. If you risk driving yourself, however, you risk jail time for operating a vehicle without a license. After being charged, you should immediately seek out a criminal defense attorney in Maryland to increase your chances of lessened consequences.
• You may not get that great job. Many employers are now checking driving records of potential employees as a way to gauge responsibility. People with excessive tickets or DUI’s are often overlooked for positions because they are considered irresponsible.
• You may not get promoted. Just like new hires, companies are now delving into the background of their current employees before they promote them into a position of responsibility.
These are just a few of the changes that will happen in your life if you are convicted of this offense. Of course, the solution to this issue is to never get behind the wheel when you are impaired, even if you “feel fine.” Because alcohol and some medications react differently to the person’s metabolism, what may seem like a safe amount to consume for one person may be dangerous for another.
Author Anthony Joseph continues to write about the tough subject of DUI’s and how they affect us. Colleen Kirby, a criminal defense attorney in Maryland, is an advocate for clients in local criminal cases. As a former prosecutor, she is adept at negotiating reduced charges, and aggressively fighting for acquittals at trial.