Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is a charge taken very seriously by Maryland authorities. Police and prosecutors look harshly upon those who endanger others by getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated. While any DUI is treated harshly, there can be especially harsh penalties if you are convicted of an aggravated DUI, which applies to situations where certain extraordinary conditions are met.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our Baltimore aggravated DUI defense lawyers understand the serious consequences that can come with any DUI conviction, let alone one where aggravating conditions are found. We have years of experience defending against these charges in Baltimore and throughout the state of Maryland and bringing our clients’ cases to a successful conclusion. Call us today at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation.
DUI vs. DWI in Baltimore
Maryland law differentiates between driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI). A DWI is charged when you are found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) between .07% and .08%. A DUI is charged when you are found to have a BAC of .08% or greater. DUI can also be charged if you are found to be under the influence of a drug or a controlled substance, unless you have a valid medical prescription for that substance.
With regard to DUI, penalties are as follows:
- A first-time offender will face penalties including up to one year in jail, fines up to $1000, and a potential 6-month suspension of your driver’s license.
- A second-time offender will face penalties including up to two years in jail, fines of up to $2,000, and a potential license suspension for a year.
- If you have two convictions within 5 years, you will face a mandatory license suspension and a mandatory period with an Ignition Interlock Device on your car.
With regard to DWI, penalties are as follows:
- For a first offender, penalties can include up to two months in jail, fines up to $500, and a potential 6-month driver’s license suspension. If you are convicted of this crime and you are under 21 years of age, you will face a 1-year driver’s license suspension.
- For a second-time offender, penalties can include up to 1 year in jail, fines up to $500, and a potential 12-month driver’s license suspension. If you are convicted of this crime while under the age of 21, you will face a 2-year driver’s license suspension.
Aggravated DUI / DWI in Baltimore
There are certain situations where DUI or DWI penalties will be more severe. In these situations, some sort of aggravating circumstances will be present that will make the incident more serious than a normal DUI. Below, we explore three of these situations.
DUI / DWI with Minor in the Vehicle
Maryland authorities look especially harshly on those whose actions put the lives of children in danger. If you get behind the wheel of a vehicle drunk while you are transporting a minor in said vehicle, you will be subject to an aggravated DUI or DWI charge. In the case of a DUI, the maximum jail time for a first-time offender will increase from 1 year to 2 years and the maximum fines will increase from $1,000 to $2,000. In the case of a DWI, the maximum jail time will increase from 2 months to 6 months and the maximum fines will increase from $500 to $1000. For subsequent DUI/DWI convictions, the penalties will continue to increase.
In addition, you can also be charged with the separate crime of child endangerment for driving drunk with a minor in the vehicle.
DUI / DWI Causing Life-Threatening Injuries
While many DUIs and DWIs result from the officer pulling over someone who appears to be driving erratically, other times, DUI is charged after a car crash. Another aggravating factor in DUI and DWI cases that can lead to harsher penalties is if you are involved in such a crash while driving drunk and the crash results in life-threatening injuries to a pedestrian or someone in the other vehicle. The definition of a life-threatening injury is not clearly defined under Maryland law, and an experienced Baltimore aggravated DUI defense lawyer like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice can mount a successful argument that this enhancement does not apply to the injuries involved in your case.
If convicted of a DUI causing life-threatening injuries, you could face increased penalties of up to 3 years in jail and fines up to $5,000. If convicted of DWI causing life-threatening injuries, you could face increased penalties of up to 2 years in prison and fines up to $3,000. With each successive DUI conviction the increased penalties will get more severe.
DUI / DWI Causing Death
Perhaps the most serious type of DUI or DWI offense is when you get into a crash while driving drunk and a pedestrian or a person in the other vehicle is killed. While all other forms of DUI or DWI are misdemeanors, a DUI or DWI involving a death becomes a felony. If convicted of a DUI causing death, you can face up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000. If convicted of DWI causing death, you can face up to 3 years in prison and fines up to $5,000. If this is your second DUI or DWI conviction, the penalties will be increased even more.
In addition, you can also be charged with the separate crime of vehicular manslaughter if you kill someone with your vehicle.
Call Our Skilled Baltimore Aggravated DUI Defense Attorneys Today
An aggravating factor such as those described above will take an already bad situation, being charged with driving drunk, and make it even worse. With the increased penalties that come with an aggravated charge, you need an experienced Baltimore aggravated DUI defense lawyer on your side to fight to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our compassionate, knowledgeable attorneys are here to guide you through every step of this scary and confusing process and to fight for your rights in and out of the courtroom. We will leave no stone unturned in mounting an aggressive defense of your case. For a free consultation, call our office today at (410) 694-7291.