Being charged with a crime isn’t the end of the world, though it can feel like it, especially if you’re face serious penalties. Of course, not all offenses have serious consequences; a parking ticket, for example, usually just means your bank account will be a little lighter than it otherwise would have been. You could easily be facing massive fines or even jail time, however, if your crime was of a more serious – i.e. dangerous – nature. For example, being arrested and convicted of DUI or DWI in the state of Maryland can lead to some very serious consequences indeed; understanding those consequences, and how they escalate as you are arrested in the future, is key to knowing what to expect and just how badly you want to avoid future run-ins with the law.
Your First DUI
Your first offense for a DUI can lead to up to a year of jail time. When you first read that sentence, it must seem incredibly frightening; the prospect of spending a year in prison can frighten just about anyone, especially when you’ve never been to court before or had to deal with a serious criminal charge. Yet DUI is taken very, very seriously by the state of Maryland, and the penalties for committing the offense reflect that seriousness.
Yet if you know anything about the legal system and how criminal charges are dealt with, you know that just because there is a maximum sentence does not mean you will necessarily serve that time. The truth of the matter is, you rarely serve that time if you have the right legal representation. It’s your lawyer’s job to make sure that you get the best possible arrangement out of your court case, which may range from pure and simple innocent verdicts to cutting down on the fines and time served to as little as possible, and maybe even nil.
Of course, there isn’t just a cost of time when it comes to your DUI charges. There is also a financial and material cost. For your first offense, you will be charged up to $1,000, which when you think about it, isn’t really that much money when compared to a year of your life in prison. There will be other costs too, some of them personal and others professional. For example, you will have several months wherein your license has been suspended; this can be a serious problem if you need to drive to work or to school.
Exceptions can be made and you can plead your case on that matter, but in the end, DUI convictions carry a lot of potentially negative consequences – make sure you have a lawyer to help you deal with them as best they can!