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Third Offense DUI Charges in Maryland
A third-offense DUI charge is a red flag to the courts because it indicates that the person who received the DUI charge did not learn their lesson for the DUI allegations brought in a previous case.
These kinds of charges are treated seriously by the court system. A prosecutor looks closely into the circumstances surrounding the case. The length of time that prior incidents took place is important. If they are closer in time to the current event, that is more serious than a previous DUI charge that took place further back in time.
Third offense DUI charges in Maryland are not viewed positively for any court system in Maryland with respect to how the person is criminally prosecuted and sentenced. It is important to fight these charges quickly with the help of a skilled Maryland DUI lawyer.
BAC is an important factor for any criminal DUI case. In DUI cases, when a judge debates giving a person a period of jail and the length of the period of jail they might see a person with a lower BAC of 0.08 as different than a person with a 0.18 or higher. The driver knew they were intoxicated and should not have gotten behind the wheel of a car.
Third offense DUI charges in Maryland are heard in a district court in the county in which the matters took place. For example, if the DUI charge took place in Montgomery County, it is heard in the Silver Spring District Court or the Rockville District Court. It does not matter whether the charge is a first, second, or third DUI. It is heard in a district court system because it is a misdemeanor case.
Penalties for third-offense DUIs are enhanced from first-offense DUI charges. First-offense DUI charges carry only a maximum penalty of up to 12 months in jail or a maximum fine of up to $1,000. A second or subsequent offense can multiply those fines and periods of incarceration in terms of the maximum penalty.
More importantly, if the prosecution does not file the proper paperwork to charge somebody as a subsequent offender, the person may not be exposed to those enhanced penalties. Talking with an attorney who understands subsequent offender rules can ensure that an individual is exposed to the least amount of jail time possible.
There are no diversion programs available for DUI cases with a third offense in Maryland. Probation can sometimes be appropriate depending on the circumstances of the case. If a person is in court for a third DUI offense in a span of five years, it is unlikely that probation is the only outcome associated with the case.
However, if someone is in court for their third offense and prior offenses took place decades earlier, prosecutors might be inclined to consider probation instead of a period of incarceration.
Building a Defense
DUI lawyers build defenses for third-offense DUI charges in Maryland as they do any other DUI charges, which is by evaluating the evidence against their client, determining the procedures the officer followed, and building defenses for each of those issues.
Even if a person is charged as a subsequent or third-time offender, the burden of proof for the prosecution is the same. They are still held to the same standards of proof, which is proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for any criminal case that comes before the court.
Contacting a Lawyer
A lawyer with local experience understands the temperament of the prosecutors and the judges in any particular case for legal arguments and for the facts of the case.
It is important to work with a DUI attorney who understands the temperaments of all parties involved who can make certain that an individual gets the fair and reasonable forum to have the case heard for the most appropriate sentence.