Maryland Second Offense DUI Lawyer

Courts and prosecutors typically handle second DUI cases with a greater sense of seriousness than a first charge. An accused person is recommended to contact a Maryland second offense DUI lawyer. A well-practiced attorney could fight tirelessly on their behalf.

Where are Second Offense Charges Heard in Maryland?

In Maryland, if a person is charged with a second DUI they could have enhanced penalties if they have had a prior DUI within the last 15 years. The State is required to file paperwork notifying the person that they will be pursuing the enhanced penalties. If the State elects to pursue the case as a second offense, it is typically prosecuted in the Circuit Court.

Penalties a Person Could Face

The maximum penalty that a person accused of a second offense DUI could face is two years in jail, which entails one year for a first offense, and a potential $2,000 fine, which entails $1,000 for a first offense. If a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, the potential maximum is up to three years in jail and $3,000 in fines. If a driver is convicted of two DUIs within a five year period, they could face a mandatory sentence of five days in jail and are mandatorily required to participate in an alcohol abuse assessment and court-ordered alcohol abuse program.

The person could also face a nine-month driver’s license suspension in contrast to six months for a first offense. A person who has two DUIs within 10 years is typically not eligible to receive a Probation Before Judgment (“PBJ”). Even if the prosecution was inclined to support such a verdict, and even if the judge were inclined to support a PBJ, the law prevents someone from receiving a PBJ for two DUIs within 10 years. A Maryland second offense DUI lawyer could help a defendant understand what penalties they may face in a criminal case.

How the Amount of Time Between DUIs Matters

If the previous DUI was within the last five years, a second conviction has a mandatory minimum of a five-day jail sentence. If the prior offense was more than five years ago, there is typically no mandatory minimum jail sentence, and the person may see no jail time for their second offense. It could also impact the eligibility for Probation Before Judgment (“PBJ”). If someone received a PBJ in the last 10 years, they are typically not going to be eligible for a PBJ on the new DUI offense.

The closer in time that the previous DUI occurred, the likely the prosecutor may pursue the case more vigorously and make stricter or harsher plea offers. Any sentence imposed by the judge could also decrease if the previous DUI was a long time ago. This may notably be true if it was over 10 years ago. If a previous DUI was 15-20 years ago, the previous DUI could be of minimal consideration to the prosecution and the court when looking at the new charge.

A Maryland second offense DUI lawyer could explain whether the time between any previous DUIs affect their second offense case.

Potential Diversion Programs or Probation Options a Prosecutor Might Offer

If the previous DUI was over 10 years old, the person could technically still have all the options available for a Diversion Program or probation options. It is typically up to the judge to enroll the defendant into Probation Before Judgment (“PBJ”). While they may be less likely grant a PBJ if it is a second offense DUI, that a first DUI that was 15 or 20 years prior to the current offense may be remote enough that a judge could be willing to grant a PBJ.

If the person already received a PBJ with the first offense, which was more than 10 years ago, the person could still be eligible for a PBJ, a suspended sentence, no jail time, and all the same range of penalties under a first-time offense. It must be noted that this may be less likely that the person will receive some of those beneficial sentences.

Judge Considerations When Deciding on a PBJ

The judge could consider numerous factors and not all DUI offenses are the same. The circumstances of the offense could factor heavily into what sort of penalties are imposed, and what sort of probation or diversion the State may consider offering. The general approach of the court to DUI offenses could change dramatically when it is a second or multiple offenses. A second-time offender may not receive jail time and may be able to negotiate for a jail sentence to be served on weekends. The case could be deferred so that a person could make personal arrangements that will not affect their employment or their family.

If the person’s prior offense was within the last 10 years and they already received a PBJ, it is very likely they will not receive the benefit of a PBJ. They could have a lengthier period of probation, more restrictions on their driving ability, and a very significant chance of facing some, if not a significant amount of, jail time. If an individual wants to know more about probation before judgment, they should consult a Maryland second offense DUI lawyer that could help.