Second Offense DUI Charges in Montgomery County
Generally, second offense DUI charges are just like first offense DUI charges. They’re heard in the District Court first. In the following page, a DUI lawyer in Montgomery County discusses penalties associated with a second offense DUI charge.
In Montgomery County, there are two District Court locations based in Rockville and in Silver Spring. A defendant in a DUI case has the opportunity to ask for a trial by jury in their case. If they do that, then that case will be transferred to the Circuit Court for Montgomery County and that’s in Rockville, right across the street from the District Court.
Second offense cases are treated much more seriously. Prosecutors will almost never dismiss a second offense DUI. In their mind, it’s much better to lose a DUI at trial, particularly for somebody who has a prior DUI, than it is to dismiss the case outright.
Montgomery County Second Offense DUI Penalties
Time between DUIs matters a great deal. In Maryland, first offense DUI will usually qualify for probation before judgment. You’re not eligible for a second probation before judgment for a period of 10 years from receiving your first probation before judgment. So on a first offense, it’s pretty rare for an individual to actually be convicted of the DUI.
On the second offense, many courts will not offer probation before judgment even if that ten-year time window had lapsed. So on a second offense, most judges will want the individual to receive the conviction and to get the points on their driver’s license for a second offense DUI. Because most first offenders in Maryland do receive probation before judgment, usually a second offense doesn’t receive any kind of enhanced penalties or prior convictions because there was no prior conviction on the first offense that resulted in a probation before judgment.
How Does Montgomery County Treat 2nd DUIs?
On a second offense in Montgomery County, it’s very likely that there will be some period of incarceration upon a conviction. That can range from a single weekend to some period of continuous incarceration. The courts will very rarely offer probation before judgment for a second offense DUI and the courts will also almost certainly put an individual on supervised probation on a second offense DUI.
Building a Defense in 2nd Offense DUIs
In terms of my attempt to get an acquittal on a second offense or third offense or fourth offense or a first offense, I treat all cases exactly the same. My first goal in any DUI case whether it’s a first, second or third is to get an acquittal for my client. So the way I do that is I attack the state’s evidence. I look at the officer’s reasonable articulable suspicion to justify the stop. I look at the officer’s probable cause to justify asking my client to submit to a breath test. I take a look at the back story on the breathalyzer machine. I look at the certifications of the machine and the operator and the simulator solution. I’ll examine the history of the machine to see if it has a history of improper readings. Basically, I’ll look at any scrap of evidence I can find that can justify an acquittal.