Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Maryland, and the stakes are even higher when a minor is present in the vehicle. If you’re caught driving while impaired with passengers under the age of 18, the penalties you face on conviction become more severe.
Maryland takes the safety of minors very seriously, and the law reflects this through enhanced penalties for DUI with a minor in the vehicle. Understanding these laws and their implications is the first step in protecting your rights and your future.
Legal consequences enhanced
Typically, a driver commits a DUI offense if they operate or attempt to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08%. A first-time DUI is punishable by up to a year of imprisonment, $1,000 in fines on conviction and a six-month license suspension. For a second conviction, the driver faces up to two years of imprisonment, $2,000 in fines and license revocation of at least one year.
However, those penalties are enhanced if the driver had a minor passenger with them during the incident. For a first DUI conviction, the driver faces up to two years of imprisonment and $2,000 in fines. A court may also require the driver to complete an alcohol education program and render community service.
If a court convicts them DUI with a minor for a second time, the penalties are up to three years of imprisonment and $3,000 in fines. The court may also require the driver to complete an alcohol education program and render community service.
Administrative penalties also increase
For all DUI convictions, a court can order the suspension or revocation of the driver’s license. Suspensions range from 180 days to two years. However, these periods can also increase if the driver faces a conviction of DUI with an underage passenger.
The presence of minors in the vehicle not only increases the risk of harm in the event of an accident but also the severity of legal penalties in the event of a DUI conviction. If you face charges, it’s imperative to consult with an attorney who can guide you through the process and help mitigate the legal consequences.