Multiple DUI Offenses in Columbia
Second and third offense DUI charges in Columbia are heard in the Howard County District Court among the other must-appear traffic citations. The courts approach second and third DUIs with much more vigor, and are often far more harsh in their sentencing. It is important to have a Columbia DUI lawyer on your side when facing a second, third, or subsequent DUI charge.
Second Offense DUI
For a second-offense DUI, an individual may face up to 2 years of incarceration and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Twelve points will be assessed to their driver’s record which will result in a year-long license suspension. Additionally, the individual will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle and obtain an SR-22 insurance policy, which will need to be kept for 3 years after their conviction.
A person can apply for a restricted license before their license has been reinstated, however, they must complete an alcohol education program and install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle prior to becoming eligible.
Third Offense DUI
For a third-offense DUI, a person may face up to 3 years of incarceration and/or a fine of up to $3,000. Additionally, if convicted, 12 points will be assessed to their driver’s record. This will result in a suspension of their license for a minimum of 18 months.
The courts treat third-offense DUI charges more harshly. It is likely that the judge will order a longer period of supervised probation, as well as a longer stay of incarceration depending on how long ago the individual received the prior DUI convictions.
Upon a DUI conviction, a person’s license could be suspended for up to 3 years, depending on if they have any enhancements applied. The Howard County District Court judges will review the past 5 years criminal record to determine if the individual has any prior DUI convictions, before counting it as a second offense.
If an individual has a prior DUI conviction, there is a sentence enhancement that will be applied. For example, a judge may order an ignition interlock device be installed in the driver’s vehicle, be required to attend an alcohol treatment program or AA classes; or suffer a home detention.
Furthermore, enhanced penalties may be applied due to other aggravating factors in the case. Thes can be things such as having a minor in the vehicle at the time of your DUI arrest. There are no enhanced penalties for a high BAC.
Hiring the Right Attorney
You should determine if the lawyer has extensive knowledge of the applicable Maryland DUI laws, as well as a lawyer who furthers their knowledge through educational classes to keep up to date. Additionally, the lawyer should have a majority of their practice devoted to handling DUI cases.
With this experience and training, the lawyer will be able to quickly spot any issues your case may have and be able to build successful defenses. Local experience matters because a lawyer should be familiar with the Howard County District Court judges and prosecutors as well as the Columbia police force.