Third Offense DUI Charges in Montgomery County
All DUI cases, whether they’re first, second, third or fourth offenses, are first heard in the District Court for Montgomery County. It is in your best interests to contact a Montgomery County DUI lawyer if you are facing a second or subsequent DUI charge.
District Court Locations in Montgomery County
There are two District Court locations–one in Rockville and one in Silver Spring. There are parking garages available at both of those locations. There is also street parking available around both of those locations. An individual who is charged with a DUI in Maryland also has the option of asking to have the case heard by the Circuit Court by asking for a trial by jury and if they do that, then that case will be transferred to the Circuit Court, which is in downtown Rockville right across the street from the District Court.
Third offenses are obviously prosecuted more vigorously than first or second offenses. By the time the individual is on the third offense, the prosecution is extremely unwilling to drop the case. Even if they believe that they will lose at trial, they will still take it to trial rather than outright dismiss in a third offense DUI case. Prosecutors will prepare those cases more vigorously than they will prepare first offense DUIs in terms of making sure all of their witnesses and all their evidence is lined up, calling witnesses in advance and generally trying to get a conviction on the third offense.
Penalties for 3rd DUIs in Montgomery County
By the time an individual is on a third offense DUI, it’s very likely they’ve received at least one conviction for one of their prior DUIs, which means that the state would then seek to have enhanced penalties applied to that case. If there is one prior conviction, meaning, this is an individuals’ third offense because their first offense received probation before judgment, their second offense received a conviction and now, they’re facing a second conviction, the sentence enhancement is an additional year for the prior conviction. So the maximum penalty of incarceration with no prior convictions with no enhanced penalties is one year of incarceration on a DUI.
With a sentence enhancement from a prior, that can take it up to 2-year maximum incarceration for a DUI. Now, it’s very unlikely that an individual will receive the maximum sentence. Even on a third offense, it’s pretty uncommon to see two years of active incarceration in Montgomery County.
How Montgomery County Judges Treat 3rd DUIs
The courts will be even stricter with a third offense DUI than they would be with a second offense. Supervised probation perhaps for a longer period of time is almost guaranteed if an individual is convicted. Some period of incarceration is also likely if an individual is convicted. That can range in time from a few weekends depending on how old the two priors were to 30 or even 60 days of active incarceration. If an individual attends an inpatient rehabilitation program, that can sometime mitigate against active incarceration.
Building a Defense in Montgomery County Third DUI Cases
We treat third offense DUIs exactly like we would treat any other DUI case in that my primary goal in reviewing the case and preparing the case is to get an acquittal for my client. We will challenge any part of the state’s case that we think can work through creating reasonable doubt in the mind of the judge and jury who’s hearing the case. So we will challenge the stop. We will challenge the reason to ask my client to blow. We will challenge the validity of any kind of breathalyzer test or any other kind of scientific evidence that is put forth.
Finding an Attorney for a Third DUI
There are two things you will really need to look.
Knowledge of the Law
One, you need to look for a lawyer who really understands the ins and outs of DUI law. DUI law is more technical and more complicated than many other areas of criminal defense law. Having a lawyer who knows DUI, who does a lot of continuing educations on DUIs, and who has a significant percentage of their practice devoted to DUI defense is very important because you want to have a lawyer who can spot issues and who can present legal challenges in a way that the court is likely to hear.
The other thing that you should look for is a lawyer who has experience with the individual jurisdiction where you’re charged. Having a lawyer who hears a lot of cases in Montgomery County so that they have familiarity with the prosecutors and they have familiarity with the judges so they can really advise you how to get the best possible outcome in your case.