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Sentence enhancements for DUI in Maryland

There are sentence enhancements in Maryland for previous DUI/DWI offenses as well as for refusing to submit to a breath alcohol test or blood alcohol test.

PREVIOUS OFFENSES

In Maryland there are sentence enhancement for multiple or subsequent DUI/DWIs. The second time you are convicted of a DUI, you could be sentenced to up to two years in jail and fined up to $2,000. If you were transporting a minor, you could be sentenced to up to three years in jail and pay up to a $3,000 fine. Your driver’s license will also be suspended for a minimum of one year.

For your second DWI, you will be fined up to $500 and/or you could face up to one year in jail, plus a minimum of a 60 day suspension of your driver’s license. If you were transporting a minor, you could face up to a $2,000 fine

The 3rd time you receive a DUI you will face up to three years imprisonment. Your fine will be up to $3,000. If you were transporting a minor, you could face up to four years in prison and up to a $4,000 fine. Your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of 18 months.

For your third DWI, you will be fined up to $500 and/or face one year in jail plus a minimum of a 60 day suspension of your driver’s license.

REFUSAL

Another potential sentence enhancement applies when a driver “knowingly” refuses to take the breath or blood alcohol test. This occurs when an officer asks a driver to take a breath alcohol or blood alcohol test and the driver refuses.

In order for the sentence enhancement to apply, the State must: (1) notify the defendant five days before trial in District Court or 15 days before trial in circuit court and (2) prove beyond a reasonable doubt (the standard used in criminal trials) that the defendant refused a breath or blood test. If the State satisfies these requirements, an enhanced maximum additional penalty of two months incarceration and/or a $500 fine will be imposed.

Possible defenses to this particular enhancement include Fourth Amendment challenges. A driver could argue that a person cannot be punished for refusing to waive the constitutional right to be free from “unlawful searches and seizures.”   This protection is the reason why police officers typically need warrants before they can search a person’s home or “person” (a person’s clothing, body, etc.) A defense attorney could try to argue that submitting to a breath alcohol test (and a blood alcohol test) is a “search and seizure,” thus a person should not have to comply. However, this is a very weak argument: Maryland’s “implied consent law” specifically says that any person choosing to drive has agreed to submit to a blood or breath alcohol test if suspected of DUI/DWI. (§ 16-205.1).


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