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How long will a Maryland DUI stay on my record?

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Andrew D. Alpert - Criminal Defense: DUI/DWI - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Andrew D. Alpert

Located in Bowie, MDAlpert Schreyer, LLC

Bowie, MD
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A driving under the influence (DUI) charge can stay on your record forever in Maryland, including probation before judgment (PBJ). For this reason, fighting your DUI charge is extremely important. A DUI has serious consequences for your future beyond the immediate penalties you face. You need an attorney who will fight to keep your record clean of a DUI charge for as long as possible.

Understanding The Penalty System

When you face your first DUI charge, the penalty could include any of the following:

  • Suspended license for 90 to 180 days
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Up to six months required use of an ignition interlock device
  • Up to one year in jail

Jail time is not likely for a first offense. Judges can be lenient for a first offense unless you caused significant damage or injured someone. Prosecutors may be quick to offer a deal, and the court may allow PBJ.

These penalties increase with each subsequent offense within five years, however. What seemed like not such a big deal the first time around will quickly become more serious with each DUI offense. Once the court labels you a “habitual offender,” the court system treats you much differently.

Although the penalty phase only considers prior DUIs within the past five years, the DUI itself stays on your record forever. Every charge on your record can have a long-lasting effect on your life. 

PBJs Are Not Harmless

Although probation before judgment technically avoids a conviction on your record, PBJ will still have collateral consequences and does show up on your record. PBJ is a form of deferred judgment the judge decides to offer if you agree to plead guilty or even if you are found guilty. You may still have to undergo alcohol treatment and use an ignition interlock device.

Of course, if you have already been found guilty, probation is preferable to other penalties. But PBJ should not be your goal. Winning your case through a dismissal, acquittal or a reduction below a DUI charge should be your initial goal.

Long-Term Consequences Of Your DUI

A DUI can affect all aspects of your life, but many people find the most immediate impact on the following areas:

  • Employment: You can lose a security clearance, lose your job because you can no longer travel to your job, lose your work visa/green card or lose your job due to a workplace policy. You may also have problems finding a new job if a criminal background check reveals your record.
  • Civil lawsuits: If you caused an accident at the time of your arrest, any injured party can sue you in civil court. Your insurance may not cover all damages from such a case.
  • Insurance rates: You can count on seeing your auto insurance rates increase after a DUI. You may also see your health insurance costs rise.
  • Commercial driver’s license: If you have a CDL, or a pilot’s license, you could lose it for life.
  • Professional license: For some professions, a DUI can jeopardize your license. In addition, military personnel can lose rank, or even face discharge.
  • Housing: Some landlords will not rent to a person with a criminal history, including a DUI.

Defending your DUI is not just about whether you pay a fine or spend a few days in jail right now. It is about defending your entire future. Consequences can be harsh and long-lasting. A DUI can cost

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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