Possible jail time depends on a number of factors, including where the case goes to court.
Anyone convicted of impaired driving in Maryland faces jail time. The more convictions you have, the more jail time you face. It sounds simple, but many are surprised to learn that there is a lot of leeway in state sentencing guidelines. Often, the amount of time an offender spends behind bars varies depending on which jurisdiction handles the case.
Baltimore DUI lawyer Randolph Rice breaks down sentencing and jail time for driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs or other substance in Maryland.
Maryland Drunk Driving Charges and Penalties
Impaired driving can be charged as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) due to alcohol, drugs or a controlled dangerous substance. DUI is considered more serious under the law so the penalties are more severe compared to DWI.
A first-time DUI conviction can result in up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Those penalties double for a second offense, along with the potential to lose your license for a year.
A first-time DWI conviction can result in up to two months in jail and a $500 fine. The fine remains the same for a second offense, but the potential jail time increases to a year.
Factors that Affect DUI / DWI Sentencing
A range of factors figures into sentencing. For example, a driver impaired by an over the counter drug such as a sleep aid may get a more lenient sentence than a driver who is drunk or high on heroin. A skilled defense attorney who knows the nuances that influence a sentence can mean the difference between losing your license over a DUI or not.
If you’re facing DUI in Maryland, you should seek the help of an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer. First and even second offense DUI convictions can be resolved without jail time but may take extra work and time on the part of your lawyer to find the right judge and work out the best deal in your favor.
DUI / DWI Sentencing Trends by County
Judges have a lot of leeway in determining the sentences for impaired driving in Maryland. Often, the average fines or jail time vary by jurisdiction. For example, a repeat DUI offender is likely to get a harsher sentence in Harford County as opposed to Baltimore County. That tendency does not always apply, but veteran defense attorneys can attest that each bench has different sentencing inclinations. Here is a breakdown of sentencing trends our attorneys have noted in their experience:
Baltimore County is seen as a middle-of-the-road jurisdiction when it comes to DUI and DWI sentencing and penalties. Jail time for first offenders depends on a host of factors the veteran defense attorneys are skilled at navigating. However, most judges in Baltimore County are known to incarcerate an individual for a second offense DUI.
Howard County is much like Baltimore County in that the judges are typically conservative with sentencing. However, there are always outliers who impose lighter or stiffer sentences than their peers on the bench. This is where an experienced DUI lawyer is essential in helping you decide which judge is best suited to resolve your case.
Harford County is known as one of the toughest jurisdictions for driving under the influence. The judges, as well as the prosecutors, are very tough on DUI and DWI cases and the individuals that commit the crime.
Generally speaking, a second offense DUI in Harford County will likely land the defendant in jail for at least 30 days. If the facts of the case are egregious, such as an accident that injured others or disrespect towards the arresting officers, the offender may receive a longer jail sentence.
Anne Arundel County
Anne Arundel County has two district courthouses. Each is very different in the way its judges tend to sentence DUI offenders. Glen Burnie judges are typically a bit more lenient than their counterparts in the Anne Arundel County Annapolis District Court. The judges in Annapolis District Court generally sentence second-time DUI offenders to some period of jail time, which may include weekends.
Can I get a Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) for DUI in Maryland?
In Maryland, you are eligible for Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) for DUI if it’s your first charge, or if your previous DUI is more than ten years old.
Penalties for a Second DUI Charge in Maryland
If you received a prior probation before judgement (PBJ) for DUI, the State’s Attorney’s office cannot seek advanced penalties for a second offense. In other words, a prior PBJ is not a conviction, so your case is subject to the standard sentencing guidelines referenced above.
Anyone found guilty of DUI or DWI, both of which are violations of 21-902 of the transportation article, faces the possibility of enhanced penalties. This gives prosecutors the ability to seek more jail time than the recommended guidelines for a repeat offender.
Our Baltimore DUI Lawyer Can Help You With Multiple Drunk Driving Charges
Hiring a veteran Baltimore criminal defense lawyer who has relationships with prosecutors and understands the inner workings of courthouses in each jurisdiction is essential. Often, experienced lawyers can arrange a better deal for you without even going to trial, based on their knowledge of resolving hundreds of similar cases. Call DUI attorney Randolph Rice now for a free consultation at 410-288-2900.