A new law targeting intoxicated drivers and watercrafts operators in Maryland is scheduled to take effect on October 1, 2019. Going forward, drunk and drugged drivers will face harsher legal penalties and prison sentences for injuring or killing someone while operating a vehicle.
House Bill 707: The “Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act”
In Maryland, a driver can be charged with DUI or BUI for having a blood alcohol content level of 0.8 or higher. Last year, statistics compiled by AAA revealed that there were 188 fatalities and 3,200 injuries linked to intoxicated drivers in 2017. To counter these statistics, state lawmakers initiated a Vision Zero plan with the goal of stopping all vehicular deaths and injuries in Maryland.
House Bill 707, or the “Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act,” is a critical step in Maryland’s Vision Zero plan. It was championed by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr. and Delegates Charlotte Crutchfield and Kathleen Dumais.
In the past, a convicted offender could face up to 5 years in prison for killing someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The new law includes a “three strikes” penalty for both DUI and BUI offenders. It also:
- Increases the prison sentence for first-time vehicular homicide convictions to 5 years.
- Imposes stronger maximum penalties – 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine – for drivers facing a third DUI and/or BUI conviction.
- Increases the maximum prison sentence for driving with a minor while intoxicated from 6 months to a year; 2 years for a second offense.
However, a statement issued by Jeanette Tejeda de Gomez, a spokesperson for AAA, reveals the bias behind this law. In an interview with WFMD, she claimed: “Somebody’s who caught for drunk driving; that’s not the first time they’ve been caught drinking and driving. That’s usually a sign they’ve been driving so many more times, and that’s just the first time they’ve been caught.”
Protect Your Rights with Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC
At Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC, we firmly believe that one mistake should not dictate the quality of a person’s future. Unfortunately, the existence of a criminal record tends to completely overshadow a person’s character. The repercussions of a conviction can follow you for the rest of your days, impacting your social relationships, career prospects, housing opportunities, and more. For this reason and more, it’s critical that you contact our award-winning legal team if you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI, DWI, or BUI in the state of Maryland. Our experienced DUI attorneys can investigate your case, aggressively protect your legal rights, and deftly litigate on your behalf in court.
Contact Alpert Schreyer Poe at (301) 321-7277 to schedule a case evaluation.