Driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal in Maryland but whether it is treated as a misdemeanor or a felony may depend on the circumstances. The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is serious. Misdemeanors are generally considered minor offenses and do not have as many life-altering consequences. A felony charge is a very serious matter. Felonies are associated with the possibility of jail time and the inability to be hired for certain jobs. Having a felony on your record can even affect your right to vote.
DUI IS A MISDEMEANOR
In Maryland, a DUI is a misdemeanor charge. While misdemeanor charges are seen as less serious, there are still severe consequences associated with a DUI charge. This is especially true if:
- Have more than one DUI charge in the last 10 years
- You had a breath alcohol content (BAC) of .20% or over
- You had a juvenile aged 14 or younger in the car
- You were driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit
These circumstances can lead to increased fees, administrative penalties, and the possibility of jail time.
WHAT ABOUT REPEAT DUIS?
In some states, repeat DUI offenses are increased from misdemeanors to felonies. In Maryland, however, repeat DUI offenses remain misdemeanors but with increased penalties. For first offenders, staying out of jail for a DUI is fairly easy, but it becomes more difficult to avoid jail time as the DUI offenses stack up. For a second DUI offense, you can face up to 2 years in jail and up to 3 years in jail for third offenses. In addition to fines and jail time, you also face increased periods of license suspension for multiple DUI convictions. Courts look back 10 years when considering whether multiple DUIs should result in harsher consequences.
IS DUI EVER A FELONY?
While a DUI itself is a misdemeanor, you can face other felony charges related to your DUI. For instance, you could face charges for manslaughter or assault related to a DUI accident where someone died or was injured. In these cases, the prosecution must prove that the driver was driving under the influence and that the DUI led to the death or injury.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL ATTORNEY
Although a DUI is a misdemeanor in Maryland, there are serious consequences to the offense. If you’ve been arrested for DUI, you need an experienced criminal attorney on your side. Contact the attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC or call us at (301) 494-9620 to schedule a free consultation.