Baltimore Second-Offense DUI Charges

In Baltimore, all DUI charges—first, second and third—initially begin in the district court. There are three district court locations in Baltimore: Patapsco Avenue, Wabash and North Avenue. It’s at an individual’s discretion to have the case moved to the circuit court if he or she wants to request a trial by jury. The circuit court is in downtown Baltimore. It might not always be in a person’s interest to go to jury trial. Someone who is facing a second DUI charge and is unsure of what to do next should consult with an experienced Baltimore DUI attorney to discuss what options they have moving forward.

Prosecution of Second Baltimore DUI Cases

Prosecutors take second-offense DUI charges in Baltimore very seriously. They’re unlikely to offer to dismiss the case or place the case on an inactive docket. Usually, they’re going to seek some period of executed incarceration upon a conviction.

The amount of time between DUIs does matter. By statute, a judge is prohibited from granting probation before judgment to an individual who’s received probation before a judgment within the last ten years. Most judges would look at that ten-year window as a guide of sorts. If you have multiple DUIs within ten years, they’re going to treat that much more severely than if you have a prior that’s more than ten years old. It’s not a concrete rule spelled out in a statute, but it is a guideline that many judges go by.

Penalties for Second Offense DUI

Generally speaking, after a first-offense DUI, an individual receives probation before judgment in Baltimore, so that first offense doesn’t actually count as a criminal conviction for purposes of enhanced penalties. That means the penalties for a second-offense DUI after an individual has received probation before judgment for a first offense will likely be exactly the same as for a first offense DUI. Those are a maximum penalty of one year of incarceration, a $1,000 fine and 12 points in your license. It’s extremely rare for anyone to receive the maximum penalty on a second-offense DUI; typical periods of incarceration are significantly shorter than a year if there’s any incarceration imposed at all.

Diversion Programs

Baltimore prosecutors will never offer diversion programs for DUIs, and it’s very, very rare for them to offer probation before judgment on a second offense, even when the prior is more than ten years old.

How Courts Treat Second-Offense DUI in Baltimore

Sentencing on second-offense DUI charges is usually much harsher than on a first offense. For one thing, courts are prohibited from granting probation for judgment if the prior is less than ten years old. Additionally, judges will frequently sentence second-offense DUIs to some period of incarceration. That may be as little as a single weekend of incarceration, or it may be longer depending on the judge, the facts of the case and the individual’s driving history.

Building a Defense With Help of Baltimore Second DUI Lawyer

In building a defense for a second-offense DUI, a Baltimore attorney will first look at the elements of the case the state wants to prove. The state needs to prove that the stop was valid and the officers had reasonable, articulable suspicion to effectuate the stop. The state must also prove that there was enough probable cause for the officer to believe you might be impaired or under the influence in order to effectuate an arrest. If there’s a blood test, the state is going to need to prove that the test was administered correctly according to the rules of evidence in Maryland. Then they have to meet foundational requirements to admit all of those types of evidence. An experienced second-offense DUI attorney in Baltimore is going to challenge any aspect of the state’s case that he or she can.

Differences in Defense from First Offense DUI

In a second-offense DUI case, the stakes are higher, but that doesn’t mean that the evidence is necessarily different. Process-wise, defending a second offense is exactly the same as defending a first offense since the state has to prove the same elements to convict somebody in either case. All the rules and evidence are going to be the same and all the legal challenges are going to be the same. While the stakes are higher, the actual defense processes for first and second offenses are very similar.