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Howard County Second-Offense DUI Attorney

Procedurally first offense DUIs and second offense DUIs are exactly the same. They are native to the district court meaning that the first hearing will be at the district court and then if an individual elects to have a jury trial in a DUI case they can have the case transferred to the circuit court.

Prosecutors are much more vigorous in their prosecutions for a Howard County second offense DUI charges than they are on first offense DUI charges. A case that may be marginal for a first offense, they will pursue aggressively for a second offense. Prosecutors do not believe in giving people breaks on second offenses in Howard County.

Penalties for Second-Offense DUI Charges

Typically in Maryland an individual will receive probation before judgment on a first offense DUI. The second time that they are charged with a DUI they don’t actually have a prior conviction, which means that the state will not be able to seek enhanced penalties for the DUI.

The maximum penalty for a first offense DUI is one year of active incarceration. The state doesn’t need to seek enhanced penalties to get a sentence up to one year.

Typical sentences for second offense DUIs in Howard County will range from no incarceration if the first offense is very old up to several weekends of incarceration if the offense is pretty recent. So because several weekends is significantly less than a year the state doesn’t need to seek enhanced penalties in order to raise the maximum penalty from 1 year to 2 years.

If an individual didn’t receive probation before judgment on their first offense and they have a conviction on their record then the state can file subsequent offender penalties and increase the maximum period of incarceration for a DUI from 1 year to 2 years of active incarceration. It is extremely rare for an individual on a second offense DUI to receive anything close to the maximum sentence.

Penalties on a Driver’s License

Penalties for driver’s licenses are going to vary significantly depending on what the administrative penalty was and what the license history was. If it is a second conviction within 5 year period there is a mandatory one year suspension of your driver’s license. If the prior offense occurred a long time in the past then there may not be a mandatory suspension.

It is also going to be affected by which individual charge the person was convicted of, whether they were convicted with the driving under the influence citation or the impaired citation. The driving under the influence charge is the more serious charge and carries 12 points, which will result in suspension of driver’s license. The DWI citation, the lesser offense, only carries 8 points. It may be possible to keep an individual’s driver’s license even after a conviction for a DWI.

Creating a Defense Against Second-Time Charges

One of the first steps a Howard County second-time DUI attorney will take is look at all of the state’s evidences. They will see if there is any place that they can create any kind of reasonable doubts as to either the stop or the arrest, or the breathalyzer test in order to get their client acquitted.

Every case has specific factors and every case has unique factors. If there are any kinds of errors in any portion of the case, the attorney should look for it, find it and present it to the court in a way that is more likely to generate an acquittal.

Defending a DUI v. Defending License Suspensions

A DUI case and license suspensions are totally separate processes. Some of the defenses that apply in a court case wouldn’t apply in the administrative context. Then there are also some specific defenses that would apply to the administrative context that don’t really apply in a court case.

Sometimes the driving license suspension is being triggered by a refusal, in which case then the entire issue of the case is different in the two contexts. At the administrative case the issue is really, “Did you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test?” Being buzzed or being drunk isn’t really an issue in a refusal hearing. However, in the court case being impaired is the primary issue.