What started out as a fun night with friends can quickly become a nightmare when you get pulled over by the police after leaving the bar. Despite feeling okay before getting behind the wheel, the officer informs you that you are over the legal limit. When it’s a first-offense DUI, you may think you can get off with a slap on the wrist. However, this is a severe crime, and the assistance of a Maryland DUI attorney is vital. Keep reading to learn about the consequences you can face.
Does a First-Offense DUI Warrant Jail Time?
In Maryland, a first-offense DUI is considered a misdemeanor. There is no minimum jail sentence that someone will face when being sentenced for a DUI conviction for the first time. Despite the lack of a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge will consider several factors when determining if jail time is necessary. A first-time DUI carries up to a year in jail, probation and a possible 12 points on your driving record.
However, if you are facing a DWI, which is considered a lesser charge, you will only face a maximum of two months in jail for the actions, probation, and a possible 8 points on your driving record.
What Other Penalties Can I Face?
Aside from possible jail time, you can expect to face several other consequences for a DUI. This includes a fine of up to $1,000, the revocation of your license for up to six months, and voluntary enrollment in an alcohol treatment program. The treatment is not mandatory but your participation in these programs can help lessen a jail sentence.
These penalties can become more intense if you have a child passenger in the car. If there is a minor in the vehicle, the penalties can increase to a fine of up to $2,000 and a minimum of two years in jail.
How Can an Attorney Help?
When facing a DUI charge, ensuring you have the assistance of an attorney to guide you through is crucial. Even though the penalties for a first-time offense may not seem like a big deal, they can leave a permanent stain on your criminal record.
A DUI may seem indefensible, but a competent lawyer will explore every avenue possible to help find a defense to assist you. For example, the breathalyzer device the officer used may not have been correctly calibrated to show the correct response. Similarly, the reason for the stop may have been illegal, thus making the charges against you unenforceable.
When you need assistance with a DUI charge, the Law Offices of Debra Saltz is ready to help. Our dedicated legal team will explore all possible options to give you the best possible outcome for your circumstances. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.