Second and Third Offense DUI Charges in Maryland

The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Douglas T. Sachse explain the protocol when a driver is charged with a second or third DUI offense in Maryland.

You’re driving home after a social gathering. You think before getting behind the wheel about how much you’ve had to drink or if you’ve consumed any drugs and say, “I didn’t have that much. I can make it home just fine.” One thing leads to another and, before you can pull into your driveway with a sigh of relief, you’re on the side of the road being taken into custody for driving under the influence. “Should I take the breathalyzer test?” “What happens if I don’t?” You promise yourself you’ll never let it happen again, until it does. From there, things continue on a downward spiral. For many people, this situation is real, and that second or third DUI charge can leave a serious impact on them for the rest of their lives.

Whether or not you’ve been previously charged with driving under the influence (DUI), all drivers should be aware of the possible penalties for each DUI charge within a five-year time span. Drivers should also be aware that if they receive probation before judgment (PBJ) on the first DUI charge, then they are not eligible to receive another PBJ for ten years. If the subsequent DUI charge occurs within five years of the first, then enhanced penalties can be applied.

A person’s first DUI charge may result in spending up to one year in jail, paying $1,000 in fines and receiving a license suspension for at least six months. This is the maximum penalty for a first time offender. So, how do these penalties differ after the first DUI charge? Let’s take a look.

After the first DUI charge, the penalties intensify. Drivers could face up to two years in jail, pay $2,000 in fines and receive a license suspension for at least one year. If a driver is charged with DUI for a third time, he or she could face up to three years in jail, pay $3,000 in fines and receive a license suspension for at least 18 months. This DUI offense is considered a felony.

In some cases, a judge could sentence the convicted driver to additional jail time if the convicted driver was a minor, transporting minors while under the influence or convicted of a gun or drug offense at the time of the arrest.

In addition, an ignition interlock device comes into play if a driver receives a second or third DUI charge, or even a first charge if a driver refuses to take the breathalyzer test (or takes the test and has a reported alcohol level of .15 or greater). An ignition interlock device is a small piece of equipment that is connected to a dashboard or other area in a vehicle. It requires that the driver breathe into the device before starting the vehicle. While the vehicle is in operation, it will require the driver to repeat the test on numerous occasions. If the device detects the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to be above the pre-determined limit, then the vehicle will not start, thus preventing the driver from driving or continuing to drive that vehicle. This result will be reported to the MVA and a court monitor if this is ordered by the judge. Installation and monitoring fees for the ignition interlock device are the driver’s responsibility.

Driving under the influence is a charge that should not be taken lightly as it carries serious legal and administrative penalties. Seeking guidance from a criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the strict laws in Maryland and provide you with the greatest chance of achieving successful outcomes.

For more information on DUI charges or your individual circumstances, contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Douglas T. Sachse.

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