Maryland DUI Penalties
In Maryland, DUI charges are taken extremely seriously and therefore, often come with serious penalties. Below, a Maryland DUI lawyer discusses these penalties and what the different possibilities are for jail time. For more specific information regarding your case, call and schedule a consultation today.
Maximum Penalties For a First Offense DUI
The maximum penalty for a DUI charge in Maryland is one year in jail and/or a $1000 fine. Typically, the maximum sentence is not given, however, this is the worst case scenario for someone facing their first DUI charge. In many cases for someone facing a first offense, a judge will offer the defendant an opportunity to get Probation Before Judgement. However, with that said, not every person will be offered this and there are a wide variety of sentencing options at the courts disposal to to deal with first offense DUI Charges.
What Other Penalties May Be Issued?
Farther along the spectrum would be what is typically called a split sentence, which means that the court issues a sentence, such as a year in jail, but suspends part of it, for instance all but 30 days. That means that the defendant has to serve 30 days of incarceration and the other 11 months are suspended whereby the defendant is placed on a period of probation. If they violate probation the judge has the option to reinstate the 11 months of the sentence that were suspended.
Probation in Maryland DUI Cases
Another important aspect of sentencing for a first-time DUI is the concept of probation. It is important for the defendant to understand that probation is this period of time where the defendant is going to be supervised by the court system. Probation is a typical part of a first-time DUI sentence and the defendant should accept that they will be placed on a period of probation, which can be either supervised or unsupervised.
Typically in Maryland, probation is supervised, which means the defendant has to report to a probation agent. That reporting may be making contact with the probation officer in person several times a month, or it might mean the defendant makes contact by telephone a couple of times a month. However, it is up to the probation agent to decide the level of contact and how often the defendant needs to make contact with the probation officer.
One downside of supervised probation is that there is a fee. Right now a defendant has to pay $50 a month to be supervised. That fee is even higher if the defendant is being supervised by the Drunk Driving Monitoring Program. Occasionally the court will consider an unsupervised probation, but that is typically only given in very exceptional circumstances. Probation could include community service hours, having to pay a fine, having to successfully complete treatment, and other options.
Other Penalties Associated With MD DUI Charges
In Maryland, the judge is going to order that the defendant be evaluated to determine if there are any issues with alcohol or something similar. If the conclusion of the evaluation is that the defendant needs treatment, then the court will expect the defendant to participate in and successfully complete that treatment.
Treatment is a condition of probation that the defendant should anticipate. If the defendant does not abide by the rules of probation, does not complete the requirements that the court imposed, then the defendant can expect that he will be coming back to court on a violation of probation hearing.
The danger of such a hearing is that if the court finds that the defendant violated the probation, the judge can take away the Probation Before Judgment and potentially impose a jail sentence. Or if the judge had suspended a jail sentence the judge can re-impose the jail sentence. Defendants should understand that the conditions of probation must be followed and whatever was ordered by the court must be completed.
Steps a Client Needs to Take In Order To Receive Treatment
Even if it is not ordered by the court, it is often a good idea to get an alcohol evaluation of your own, especially if your health insurance or local health department will cover it.
If the evaluation recommends the person get into a treatment program, then it is a good idea for them to do so as soon as possible. The court wants to know the defendant took that initiative to find out if they needed treatment, and if it was recommended that they began the treatment.
It also can be advantageous to a client because sometimes if the defendant has already completed treatment, the court might consider either:
(a) Shortening the period of probation or
(b) Sometimes allowing the probation to be unsupervised