Articles Posted in Maryland DUI Penalties

Defendants in DUI cases who have commercial driver’s license pose a unique set of challenges and considerations for Maryland DUI Attorneys. I have blogged often about the importance of selecting an attorney who specializes in DUI/DWI defense. Unfortunately, all too often we see attorneys with little or no experience with these of cases appearing in court with their clients.

Very often these attorneys make simple mistakes, that no experienced DUI/DWI attorney would ever make, with devastating consequences for their clients. I witnessed one such mistake in the District Court of Baltimore County a few days ago involving a defendant with a commercial driver’s license. The attorney who handled the case was an attorney who has been practicing for many years, mostly doing divorce and personal injury cases. In other words, he was NOT a DUI/DWI specialist. Here are the facts.
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Many defendants charged with DUI in Maryland are dismayed to find out that not only do they have to go to court and face criminal charges, but they must also fight the MVA in a separate proceeding. Even if the criminal defendant is found “not guilty” of all charges in criminal court, the MVA may still suspend the defendant’s driver’s license on separate grounds.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled in Johnson v. State (1991) that this DOES NOT amount to double jeopardy. The bases of the MVA administrative hearing is to determine if the driver “broke his agreement” with the state when he was issued his license and agreed not to “drink and drive.”
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A number of bills intended to curb drunk driving are being proposed today to a Maryland Senate Committee. Backed by Governor O’Malley, police, prosecutors and highway safety advocates, a number of these bills-if passed-will change the landscape of drunk driving prosecutions in Maryland.

The most significant bill is one that imposes criminal penalties on adults who provide alcohol to minors. If passed, the teen drinking bill would elevate the penalty for supplying alcohol to minors from a civil offense to a criminal offense. Parents, siblings and religious exemptions will apply.

Additional laws being proposed include probation before judgement eligibility. Currently, a convicted drunk driver is not eligible for a PBJ for a second offense if the first DUI conviction occurred within 5 years. The new proposed law would raise the PBJ eligibility requirements to ten years.

Maryland DUI Attorney – Maryland DWI Attorney – Baltimore DUI Lawyer – Baltimore DWI Lawyer
As a former Assistant State’s Attorney for Baltimore County I prosecuted hundreds of repeat offenders for driving under the influence or driving while impaired. Although the maximum penalty for driving under the influence is one year in prison, prosecutors can and very often do seek enhanced penalties for repeat offenders. Second offenders for DUI face up to two years in prison and third offenders face up to three years in prison. As a prosecutor I routinely filed enhanced penalties against repeat offenders and often convinced a court to impose sentences longer than the one year.
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