Information on DUI in the Old Line State
Being pulled over and arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a very serious matter. When it comes to DUI in the state of Maryland, all major cities including Baltimore, Ocean City, Annapolis, and Frederick have the same laws– individuals with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher are considered to be breaking the law. Aside from a license suspension and possible jail time, there are a number of other financial repercussions of being convicted of a DUI.
What Penalties Will I Face as a First Time DUI Offender in Maryland?
Many states across the country have been working hard to decrease the number of deaths caused by drunk driving. One way this is being done is by ramping up the punishments, even for first time offenders, to discourage them being impaired behind the wheel. In the state of Maryland, first time offenders can expect to face the following penalties should they be found guilty:
- Up to 1 Year in Jail
- Up to a $1,000 Fine
- Minimum 6-Month License Suspension
While these are the general penalties for first time offenders, they may not be the only punishments assigned to drivers convicted of DUI. Additionally, it is important to note these are for first time offenders with no previous DUI convictions on their record – repeat offenders who have been convicted one or more times of DUI in the past will be subject to harsher penalties. Repeat offenders can expect longer jail sentences, higher fines, and longer license suspensions.
What Financial Struggles Will I Face Before I am Convicted?
Many licensed drivers tend to worry about the consequences they will face once they are convicted and often forget about the costs they will incur before they even go to court. When pulled over and taken into custody, the driver is responsible for the towing and storage of the car, which can cost anywhere between $100 and $1,000. In order to retrieve the vehicle once released from jail, there are usually significant fines associated with impounding the car.
Should there be aggravating circumstances associated with the case, such as having a minor in the car at the time of the arrest, an accident, or injury due to the offender’s impaired driving, the driver will often times be held in jail and have a bail set for their release. Bail amounts for DUI can range anywhere between $500 and $50,000 depending on the circumstances. In order to be released, a portion of the bail must be paid.
After being formally charged with Driving Under the Influence, finding a qualified attorney is the next logical step. Finding a lawyer who is well versed in the DUI laws in Maryland can sometimes be crucial in having the case dismissed or to arrange a plea bargain for a lesser charge. Every attorney will have different rates when it comes to trying DUI cases, but these fees generally range from $1,500 to as much as $50,000 for longer cases.
What Financial Penalties Will I Face After I am Convicted of DUI in Maryland?
If the case goes to trial and is ultimately convicted of Driving Under the Influence, the driver will face all of the penalties that were previously outlined and possibly more, including the monetary fines associated with a DUI convictions. First time offenders will be responsible for paying a fine of up to $1,000, second time offenders who have convictions within the last five years will pay a fine of up to $2,000, and third time offenders within the last five years will be responsible for a fine up to $3,000.
The fines for Maryland, however, are not the same fines that individuals will face in other states. Just as the amount of the fine varies based on previous offenses, the amount of the fine will also vary across state lines with some states having higher fines and some states having lesser fines.
Will I See Changes to My Car Insurance After a DUI Conviction?
What many people may not realize is that Driving Under the Influence is considered a vehicle based crime, which means it will appear on their driving record and be reported to their car insurance company. Once the DUI has been reported, it is inevitable the insurance company will raise the individual’s car insurance rates since they pose a bigger risk of having a file a claim. All insurance companies will have their own calculations when it comes to how much they will raise rates for DUI.
In comparison to other states, Maryland is more lenient when penalizing DUI offenders with car insurance than many other states. Generally, Maryland car insurance providers will raise an individual’s rates by just over 60 percent, which will add an additional $70 on to the monthly payment. While this is the state average, it is important to remember all insurance providers will calculate this differently and some providers may increase rates more than others.
How to Protect Your Finances from DUI/OUI
When all of the costs of Driving Under the Influence are added up, including the towing fees, storage costs, bail money, lawyer’s fees, penalties and car insurance rate increases, the overall cost of a DUI cold be well into five figures. The financial repercussions of a DUI conviction will not only impact current finances, but also the financial future. Drinking and driving is never worth the risk to your finances and to your life, so always use public transportation or a sober driver to help you avoid the cost of a DUI conviction.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.