If you have been charged with DUI in Maryland for the second time within 5 years (the Maryland lookback period), it is considered a misdemeanor. There are some harsh consequences that come with the second DUI in Maryland, with jail time and expensive fines just some examples of the penalties. Note that while a DUI is defined in this state as a blood alcohol level of .08 and above, and a DWI is .07, the penalties are often similar. Before you decide whether getting a lawyer is worth it in your case, find out the typical consequences of this charge.
If your blood alcohol level was over .15, your driver's license may be suspended for 180 days. If it was less than .15, you likely face a license suspension of 90 days. In either case, you may be eligible for a restricted license for driving to work or school, but you will have to put an ignition interlock device in your car first. You will need to get an SR22 insurance policy after your second DUI in Maryland, and will need to keep it for three years after your conviction.
Before you can get your Maryland driver's license back, or get a restricted license, you will need to complete an alcohol education program that is approved by the court. You may then be subject to extra fees for getting a new license at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
You can expect to face fines even before getting your license back, whether you have a DWI or a DUI. For example, a DWI often comes with a maximum $500 fine, while a DUI may force you to pay up to $2,000. If you had a minor in the car at the time of your DWI, the fine could be $2,000, while with this same situation is likely to be $3,000 for a DUI. Some judges could request that you serve extra jail time instead of paying the fine, though.
On the other hand, some courts may ask that you pay extra fines in return for reducing your jail time. You can expect to spend up to one year in jail for a second offense DWI, and two years in jail for a second DUI in Maryland. The maximum could be bumped up to three years if you got a DUI with a minor in the vehicle.
It is important that you get a lawyer fast, since you must contact the court within 10 days of your arrest to get a hearing to challenge the license suspension. Once you take this primary step, you can talk with your attorney to determine whether to plea bargain your second DUI in Maryland down to wet reckless charge, or even an exhibition of speed, both of which carry less severe consequences than a DUI. Contact an attorney soon to determine the best course of action.