Maryland Second Offense DUI Charges
Facing a second driving under the influence charge can be even more daunting than dealing with a first-time DUI, especially since it carries heightened penalties. If you or a loved one has previously been convicted of a DUI, you already know how serious such charges can be and what a negative impact they can have on your life. It is important that you work with an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer in order to best protect your interests throughout the legal process.
Second DUI Charges in Maryland
The blood alcohol content levels that may warrant a DUI charge are the same for a second DUI as they are for a first-time offense. Under Maryland Code § 21-902, a driver is automatically considered to be driving under the influence if his or her BAC tests at 0.08 percent or higher. This is sometimes called a DUI “per se,” since the BAC level results in a DUI charge without requiring additional evidence of impairment. However, even a BAC as low as 0.05 could result in a DUI charge if the arresting officer has reason to believe a driver is under the influence.
In court, this typically requires prosecutors to show that a driver exhibited other signs of driving under the influence to justify the charge, such as failing a field sobriety test, slurring speech or smelling of alcohol. Unfortunately, this type of evidence can be especially subjective and dependent only upon the judgment of the arresting officer. Our Maryland second DUI lawyers understand that it is common for officers to make mistakes and, as a result, many drivers are wrongly accused of DUI.
Penalties for Maryland Second DUI
A second DUI in Maryland is punishable by up to two years in jail and $2000 in fines. If a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, the penalty increases to up to three years in jail and $3000 in fines.
In addition, under Maryland Code § 27-101, a driver convicted of two DUIs within the same five-year period faces a mandatory sentence of five days in jail. If a driver receives two alcohol-related driving charges within five years, he or she must also complete a mandatory alcohol abuse assessment and participate in a court-ordered alcohol abuse program.
A driver convicted of a second DUI offense also faces a 180 to 270 day license suspension, according to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration rules. For a second DUI charge in Maryland, it is also important to note that individuals are not eligible for probation before judgment (PBJ) unless ten years have passed since the last DUI charge.
With such severe penalties, it is crucial that you consult an experienced Maryland second DUI attorney if you are facing a second DUI offense, especially if the charge comes within five-years of a previous alcohol-related charge.
Consult an Experienced Maryland Second DUI Lawyer
Our Maryland second DUI lawyers understand that many drivers are wrongly charged with DUIs and that police officers sometimes exceed their authority or make mistakes in field sobriety testing and using blood alcohol testing equipment. If you have been wrongly accused of DUI, let one of our experienced Maryland second DUI attorneys investigate the circumstances of your arrest and determine whether you were improperly charged. Our Maryland second DUI lawyers offer compassion and understanding – never judgment – during the stressful and intimidating process of fighting a second DUI.