DUI: Felony or Misdemeanor?

DUI Penalties in MarylandA DUI in Maryland is a criminal offense and the individual circumstances determine whether the offense is categorized as a misdemeanor or felony.  However, when a homicide by motor vehicle has taken place in a DUI case, the charge is typically boosted from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Furthermore if any of the following circumstances were present, then the DUI charge will hold greater penalties:

*  You have more than one reported drunk driving offense;

*  You showed a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher;

*  You had a juvenile aged eighteen or younger in the car at the time of the DUI; or

*  You were driving recklessly at 20 MPH (or more) over the speed limit.

Maryland Criminal Law Code Ann. § 3-211 states: If a person is convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and his/her conduct causes a life threatening injury he/she is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to a term of imprisonment of up to 3 years, a fine not to exceed $5,000, or both.

Homicide by Motor Vehicle: If a person operates a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with a prohibited alcohol or drug content and his conduct causes the death of another person, he/she is subject to a term of imprisonment of 5 years, or a fine of $5,000, or both.

If the impaired driver (less than BAC .08) is charged with a life-threatening injury to another driver, passenger or pedestrian, then the penalty may be two years of jail in addition to $3,000 in further penalties; administrative fees may also apply. If the drunk driver (BAC over .08) is successfully charged with a life-threatening injury, the repercussions may be jail time of three years and $5,000 in further penalties.

If another driver, passenger or involved pedestrian dies as a result of a proven DUI offense, the charge is automatically shifted from a misdemeanor to a felony. This is technically termed “homicide by motor vehicle” while under the influence of an alcoholic substance and carries with it penalties, including jail time of up to five years in the state of Maryland.

In these type of DUI cases, The State of Maryland must prove that the driver committed an unlawful traffic offense and that this act was the proximate cause of serious bodily injury or death.

Regardless of its degree, vehicular homicide is a serious crime with severe consequences. If you have  been accused of a DUI vehicular homicide, you need an experienced, aggressive law team on your side.  Our office works closely with accident reconstruction experts to bring out inconsistencies in the officer reports and in the prosecution’s case.  Do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Alpert Schreyer today. Call (866) 444-6363 or fill out our online form to receive a confidential evaluation of your case by an experienced legal professional.

About Andrew Alpert

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.