When arrested for driving under the influence in Maryland, drivers should be aware of the litany of penalties there can be if they are convicted. These include a driver license suspension, fines and jail time. Depending on the circumstances, there could be the potential for a DUI sentence enhancement.
There are several reasons why a prosecutor will seek enhanced sentencing. If a driver has been convicted of DUI in the past, this will influence the decision. The blood-alcohol concentration is a critical factor in any DUI arrest. In general, drivers of passenger vehicles who register 0.08% BAC will face DUI charges. If, however, the BAC is 0.15% or higher, there may be harsher consequences. Drivers are required by law to take a breath test if they are requested to do so by law enforcement. Refusal carries with it automatic penalties and can lead to enhanced penalties.
Many drivers are accused of DUI with a child in the vehicle. This is taken very seriously. Having a child in the car during a DUI will likely spark an enhancement. Accidents in which another person is injured or there is property damage might warrant prosecutors seeking sentence enhancement. Other factors include driving without a license, being on probation, having an open alcohol container in the vehicle, and committing DUI while an ignition interlock device is installed.
Whether the circumstances of the DUI arrest result in potentially enhanced penalties or not, there are strategies to lodge a defense, reduce the charges or get an acquittal. Examples include there being no legal justification for the stop, the officer violating protocol, testing procedures being faulty or the driver not being under the influence at the time. To avoid the consequences, having legal advice from those experienced in DUI defense may be needed.