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DUI repeat offenders and the escalating penalties they face

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | CRIMINAL LAW - Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence (DUI) of either alcohol or a controlled substance in Maryland is a criminal offense that you should never take lightly. Even for a first offense, you face a $1,000 fine, a 60-day license suspension, up to two months of jail time and eight points assessed to your license toward revocation.

So, what happens if you’re charged with DUI so soon after your last offense?

If you’ve received more than one DUI violation within a five-year period, you become a “repeat offender.” You’ll face increased fines, jail time and administrative penalties. What exactly does it mean to be a DUI repeat offender?

What to expect for a second DUI

If a court convicts you of DUI for the second time within a five-year period, the penalties you face will be much more severe than those for your previous offense. They include:

  • Up to two years in jail
  • Fines of up to $2,000
  • A minimum five-year revocation of your driver’s license

In addition to these, a court may also sentence you to participate in Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program. As part of the requirements to restore your license, you’ll have to operate a vehicle with an ignition interlock device, which locks your car from working until it can detect from your breath that you have zero alcohol in your system.

What to expect for a third DUI

A third conviction within five years leads to even more severe penalties:

  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Mandatory 10-year license revocation
  • A requirement to maintain an ignition interlock device after license reinstatement for three years

At this point, the DUI is still a misdemeanor offense (barring aggravating circumstances). However, a fourth DUI is automatically a felony.

Fourth DUI offenses and permanent revocation

A fourth DUI conviction within five years leads to a felony offense on the driver’s criminal record. A felony conviction also leads to up to 10 years of imprisonment and permanent revocation of the driver’s license. This means the driver can’t legally drive in Maryland for the rest of their life.

The consequences quickly become dire for those repeatedly caught driving under the influence in Maryland. With enhanced jail time, fines, license revocations, and potential felonies – it’s crucial repeat offenders take DUI charges extremely seriously. If you face charges for another DUI offense, underestimate the penalties at your own risk. If you feel intimidated and confused, a legal professional may be able to help you explore your defense options.