The State of Maryland Just Increased DUI Penalties
Drunk driving accidents are among the most preventable crashes, and unfortunately, they cause thousands of needless deaths each year. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 30 people die every day in a crash where alcohol was found to be a factor. To do its part to reduce the number of DUI fatalities, the State of Maryland is committed to keeping repeat drunk drivers off the roads.
Recently, the State enhanced penalties for drivers convicted of driving under the influence. Those with prior DUI convictions, people convicted of DUI with a minor in the vehicle, and drivers convicted of vehicular homicide may now face extended sentences. Anyone with a DUI charge in Maryland is urged to contact a criminal traffic lawyer who fights DUI in Baltimore and surrounding areas.
What New DUI Laws Should I Know About in Maryland?
DUI is a serious traffic offense in Maryland. A DUI that results in the death of another person may result in a charge of vehicular homicide. If you’re driving under the influence of alcohol and you cause a car accident that results in a fatality, the Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act (HB 707) increases your potential maximum jail time from 3 years to 5 years. The law went into effect on October 1, 2019.
The State of Maryland is making an enormous effort to crack down on repeat offenders. Statistics from AAA show that a person with a prior conviction has a much higher chance — 4.1 times higher — of being involved in a crash that leads to death while under the influence. Additionally, AAA’s Mid-Atlantic Manager of Public and Government Affairs, John Townsend, claims that one-third of all auto crash fatalities in the U.S and Washington D.C. involve drunk drivers. If you have a previous DUI conviction and your drunk driving causes a fatality, the maximum time you could face in prison doubled from 5 to 10 years.
Heavier penalties are also in store for drivers who are convicted of traveling with a minor while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Now, a conviction may lead to one year in jail for a first offense and two years for a second offense for transporting a person under 18 years old.
What are Maryland’s Penalties for a First DUI Conviction?
Serious traffic offenses like driving under the influence can cause tragedy. Not only could you hurt yourself or others, but if you’re convicted of DUI your life as you know it will change drastically. A DUI conviction can’t be expunged in Maryland, which is why it’s crucial to fight the charge as soon as possible after being arrested.
DUI is a very serious charge, even if it’s your first time. A first DUI conviction could lead to:
- Incarceration of up to 1 year in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000 plus court fees
- License suspension
- Community service
- The court may also require you to attend alcohol education or substance abuse programs
How Can I Fight a DUI Charge in Baltimore?
The best way to avoid a DUI conviction and becoming a repeat DUI offender is to err on the side of caution any time you might have the option of driving after drinking. Choose a friend to be your designated driver for the evening, spend the night at a friend’s house, or request a ride from apps like Uber and Lyft. When all else fails, and you face a DUI charge, you can turn to an experienced DUI lawyer like Hillel Traub for help.
Attorney Hillel Traub of The Law Office of Hillel Traub has extensive experience fighting DUI charges and working with the Maryland MVA to preserve his clients’ driver’s licenses. After a thriving career as an Assistant Attorney General for the MVA, he now works for the citizens of Baltimore and surrounding areas, providing competent and personal representation for DUI offenders. Call (410) 580-1100 or complete our contact form for a free case review.