Third Offense DUI/DWI in Maryland
The State of Maryland is unique in that there is a distinction between a DWI charge (BAC level of .07) and a DUI charge (BAC level of .08 or higher). Those convicted of a DUI charge will face stiffer penalties than those convicted of a DWI charge because of the fact that the offender has a higher BAC level. Additionally, those who are convicted of a third DWI or DUI charge will be more harshly punished than those convicted of a first DWI or DUI charge.
If you are convicted of a third or subsequent DUI offense within five years, your license will be suspended for a minimum of 18 months and could be permanently revoked, depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest.
If you are convicted of a third or subsequent DUI offense, the following criminal penalties are possible:
- A jail sentence of up to 3 years.
- A jail sentence of up to 4 years if a minor was in the vehicle.
- Fines of up to $3,000.
- Fines of up to $4,000 if a minor was in the vehicle.
The Lookback Period
Maryland courts look back 5 years to see if you had a prior drunk driving conviction before counting a conviction as a second one. If this is your third drunk driving conviction in a 5-year period, the penalties mentioned above will apply.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor in Maryland
The rule of thumb that is used to determine felonies from misdemeanors is if the jail sentence for a crime is greater than 1 year; if it is, then the crime is considered a felony; if it is not, then the crime is considered a misdemeanor.
The individual can do any of the following:
- Plead Guilty – the individual admits to everything with which he/she is charged and will accept whatever penalty the court imposes.
- Plead Not Guilty – the individual does not admit to anything with which he/she is charged and challenges the State of Maryland to meet its burden of proof.
- Plea Bargaining – This is usually only offered to first-time DUI/DWI offenders. This will lessen or eliminate the penalty of incarceration and replace it with extended probation periods and costly other conditions.
Obtaining Legal Help
An experienced DUI/DWI lawyer will be able to formulate the strongest possible defense for your case.