Penalties for drunken driving in Maryland and DC

On behalf of Jack B. Rubin, PA posted in Drunk Driving on Thursday, August 9, 2012.

A first time offense for drunk driving in Maryland can result in as much as one year in jail. Now Washington DC is also increasing penalties for drunken driving and DUI convictions as well.

Washington DC is a special case in that many feel the district is still catching up with neighboring states like Maryland. The municipality is at least planning on doubling the jail time for a first time offenses, and fines for such a conviction may more than triple.

Yet whatever legislation is ultimately passed (either in Maryland or Washington DC), there will continue to be critics that feel such penalties do not go far enough. Lawmakers have already lowered blood alcohol levels required for conviction across most of the nation.

Some would like to see penalties instituted that would prevent individuals charged for the first time from being able to drive on the road. Also, lawmakers in DC would like to see a discredited breathalyzer program in that city brought back into operation.

Attorneys that represent individuals charged with DUI do not condone drinking and driving. They represent such clients in an effort to counsel them and perhaps help change the course of their lives.

Such attorneys understand that the facts for every alleged drunken driving incident are unique, and therefore the facts of each case must be closely examined. Though it may sound good in theory, drivers pulled over for the first time should not be treated the same as those pulled over several times. These attorneys have also seen breath results thrown out in court because such results often differ depending on circumstances unrelated to consumption of alcohol.

Individuals charged for the first time for a DUI seldom go unpunished. While facing such severe criminal penalties, many drivers may be facing other consequences that go well beyond the possible criminal convictions that they face. Being charged with a drinking related offense can result if family conflict as well and can profoundly affect one’s reputation in the community.

Source: ABC 7, “New law cracks down on D.C. drunk drivers,” by Mark Segraves, July 30, 2012

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