A felony conviction on your record will affect you for the rest of your life. It affects employment, schooling, gun ownership, and even voting rights. It makes sense to avoid activities that could result in such a conviction. So why do so many people choose to get behind the wheel after a night out drinking?
In the state of Maryland, alcohol-impaired driving accounts for over a third of traffic fatalities. Most Maryland DUIs are classified as misdemeanors, but in certain circumstances, you will be charged with a Maryland Felony DUI, such as when vehicular manslaughter occurs as a result of you driving while intoxicated.
There are several reasons why the Maryland courts will treat a DUI more seriously and levy harsher penalties, however, this may not result in a Maryland Felony DUI. The following situations will cause more serious punishments:
- More than one DUI in the last 5 years.
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.20 percent.
- A minor aged 14 or below was present in your vehicle.
- Reckless driving of 20 MPH or more over the speed limit.
- Injury to another driver, pedestrian, or passenger.
Maryland has a look-back period of five years, so if your current DUI occurred more than 5 years after your last one, it is considered a first offense and will have lesser penalties applied. However, if you are convicted of a third DUI in a five-year period the following penalties are possible:
- License suspended for a minimum of 18 months or even permanently revoked.
- Up to three years in prison; four if a minor was present.
- Fines up to $3,000, $4,000 is a minor was present.
In Maryland, if the jail sentence is greater than one year then the crime is considered a Maryland Felony DUI. Maryland also has a mandatory ignition interlock requirement that helps drivers with suspended licenses regain some driving privileges.