Question

Will I go to jail for a second DUI in Maryland?

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Answered by: Andrew D. Alpert

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Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense in Maryland that stays on your criminal record. Police can charge you with a misdemeanor DUI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% or above. Therefore, if you face a second DUI within five years, you will face harsher punishments than your first offense. Depending on the circumstances, that punishment may include jail time. You should never face DUI charges alone. Always hire the best DUI defense attorney you can find to help you mitigate your charges.

The Difference Between A First And Second Offense

If you faced a DUI charge in the past, you may have received the following penalties:

  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Jail time of up to one year
  • Required use of an ignition interlock device for up to six months
  • Suspended or revoked license from 90 to 180 days

Judges are much more likely to show leniency for a first offense, including an offer of probation. They may only require one of the punishments, and are not likely to require jail time under normal circumstances.

A second conviction within five years, however, may label you as a “habitual offender.” Judges tend to be harsher in these cases. Note that a DUI from another state was likely reported to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration and will count as a prior conviction. Maryland law includes the following penalties for a second conviction:

  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Jail time of up to two years (though 10 days is more likely)
  • Required use of an ignition interlock device for up to one year
  • Suspended or revoked license from 180 to 270 days

Maryland’s drunk driving laws include a lesser offense of driving while impaired (DWI) for drivers with a BAC between .04 percent and .08 percent. The penalties for a DWI are slightly less severe, but you can still face jail time and fines, depending on other factors involved, like property damage and injury to others.

Factors That May Increase Your Penalties

Under certain circumstances, you may receive a harsher penalty than those listed above. The following factors could increase your penalties:

  • You caused an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol
  • You caused property damage
  • You injured or killed another person
  • You had a minor in the car with you
  • You are under the age of 21

Note that if you caused a fatality, you could face felony DUI charges. In addition, Maryland uses a point system for accumulating traffic violations on your driver’s license. A DUI conviction will add 12 points to your license, making it much more likely you could lose your license.

As you can see, Maryland takes multiple DUI convictions seriously. You will likely face harsher penalties your second time around. The best thing you can do for your case is consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

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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