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Third Time DUI Charges in Prince George’s County

Third DUI offenses are heard in the Prince George’s County District courts in both Hyattsville and Upper Marlboro and they’re prosecuted again by the state’s attorneys at the district level. In Prince George’s, third offense charges are treated very seriously and prosecutors are more hesitant to offer plea deals. As a result, it is in your best interest if charged to consult with a Prince George’s County DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.

How Are Third Offense DUI Charges Handled in Prince George’s County?

For third offense DUI charges in Prince George’s County, the State will certainly note that there were priors and here there are multiple priors and they will absolutely ask for every bit of that increased maximum jail time that you can be sentenced to, which in this case is three years and a $3000 fine. However, those maximum penalties must be substantiated by actual evidence of two prior convictions that must be accompanied by the state’s request for penalty enhancements as a subsequent offender.

A major difference between this charge in Maryland and other places is that there is no Felony DUI. All DUIs in Maryland are misdemeanors, no matter whether it’s a third, fourth, fifth, or subsequent offense. However, with that said, you will be treated as a third offender, which would be a very vigorous prosecution because you remain a consistent public safety risk.

Does The Time Between DUI Offenses Matter?

It matters in some respects. Depending on the Judge you are appearing in front of in Prince George’s County, prior convictions that are greater than ten years old may be set aside from a penalty enhancement.

So, if you had two DUI offenses 20 years ago as a young man or a woman and here you are again, a good defense attorney would be able to show that this most recent case should be treated as if it was a first time offense. However, it has to be done in a smart way, which is where the experience of a DUI attorney that practice in Prince George’s County will come in.

What Makes Third Offense DUI Charges in Prince George’s County Unique?

In Prince George’s County, you have two distinct places to have your DUI heard, the District Court and the Circuit Court. What is important about that is in district court, most district court judges are well aware of what the maximum penalties are and they aren’t restricted as to how they will go forward in sentencing. Then at the same time, you have state attorneys that are absolutely asking for the maximum, neither of which is likely to help your situation.

However, what is different in PG County is that you also have a circuit court judge that you will go in front of if you do what’s called “pray a jury trial”, which removes the case from district court and moves it to circuit court. In that circuit court, that third offense becomes a second or if they are both greater than ten years, now you are going to be treated as a first time offender.

How Do Courts Treat Third Offense DUI Charges?

Their treatment is as harsh as they possibly can. They want to make that penalty significant enough to send a strong message to you that says this behavior will not be tolerated. At this point it is no longer about you learning a lesson, it’s now about punishing you and getting the message through that this behavior will not be tolerated.

That’s the mentality that the state attorneys are coming in with for these cases in a third offense. One certainly is understandable, two, it happens, but three is always treated as a habitual where they will tell a judge this isn’t going to be the end of it. There’s going to be more. You need to be punished and sent a message. When they come in there, their goal is to be as tough as possible and to punish you as hard as possible.

Your License Following a Third Offense DUI Charge

After a third offense DUI charge in Prince George’s County, your license will be suspended and you will likely be put on ignition interlock. Additionally, your license can actually be seized by the medical advisory board (MAB) because of prior convictions and there is no promise that you will ever get it back.

Following a Third Offense DUI Conviction

After a third DUI conviction, it’s even more likely that your license will be revoked unless you’re under the ignition interlock program and there’s some form of agreement that you can continue in this program indefinitely. However, it’s more likely than not that that continuation in that ignition interlock program will be a continuous participation in it under the medical advisory board which would have control of keeping you on that ignition interlock indefinitely.

You would get a notice from them informing you of that decision. Your ability to drive would be contingent on that device staying in your vehicle for this substantial period of time or at least until such time they see fit to remove it.

Building a Defense For Third Offense DUI Charges

Much like you would for a first or second offense, for a third offense you are still building your case on the facts of the present DUI. The state still must provide substantial information with regards to the elements of that crime, starting with the element that you were in fact driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

The prosecution would present evidence with regards to the officer stopping your vehicle, the standard field tests that you undertook, that you attempted or refused them and you did poorly or the test was stopped for your safety. If there is video and audio evidence, or just video or just audio evidence, this evidence will be presented in court, along with the result of the breath test.

The State will have their chemist there in court to testify that a sample was taken properly, that it was likely done with the intoximeter and that the results were consistent and the instrument was run properly, that you were observed properly and that they did everything they were supposed to do to meet the evidence and the standards required under the law.

What Can An Attorney Do To Respond to The Harsh Prosecution of 3rd DUI Charges?

If you’re building your defense, you want as much time as possible for the date of incident and you’ve got to build it step by step. Step 1 is getting that client to your office as quickly as possible and with all the information from the stop they received upon their release from police custody. That immediate need for your lawyer is absolutely essential because this is a big deal. You really have significant penalties coming to you and an incredibly likelihood that you will be facing a period of incarceration this time if you Are convicted.

What Should You Look For In A Lawyer For a Third Offense?

You have got to have someone who’s going to be honest. You’ve got to have someone who knows what they’re doing and you really need an attorney who will keep the focus on you as a person, reminding the Judge this is a real human being not just a name on a file. You are the one who has to make sure to keep yourself in that light. Your progress and dedication to your treatment will present you as a very real living, breathing person in that courtroom and that you are very capable of making mistakes.

You need an attorney that reminds everyone that throwing you away, casting you aside and punishing you in a way that’s just outrageous is not the answer. It will never put you back in a place that you can be a productive hardworking member of society, capable of conforming to the rules of the road and not drinking and driving. Rehab is there to help prove this to the Judge. It is absolutely an incredibly important piece of that third DUI puzzle. It needs to be addressed along with other programs and services.