Somerset Third Offense DUI Charges
The prosecutor’s office is very aggressive in the prosecution of DUI charges and even more aggressive when an individual has two prior DUIs. Typically, the prosecutor’s office likes to pursue subsequent offender penalties.
Under the law in Maryland, if a defendant has a prior DUI, the maximum penalty that the defendant faces can be increased. Depending on how close together the prior offenses are, it could lead to a required specific number of days or months in jail. In the case of a conviction, the court has no discretion but to put the person in jail.
If you are facing a Somerset third offense DUI charge it is vital to contact a Somerset DUI lawyer who is familiar with these types of cases. Their assistance can lead to a better defense, a greater chance for the best possible outcome, and penalty mitigation.
Third DUI Penalties
The maximum penalty for a Somerset third DUI conviction is up to three years in prison. It is important to know the amount of time that has passed between the DUIs, because in some circumstances if the DUIs are close enough together, the state may require a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail. That can be imposed if the person’s prior offenses are within five years of the new offense. Regardless of the statute , the judges in Somerset County generally impose a sentence greater than 10 days for a third offense.
Court Approach to a Third DUI
The courts treat a Somerset third time DUI charge differently than a first time DUI. If the court is sentencing an individual for their first DUI, there is generally more leniency from the court. That would be the time that the court would consider granting the defendant probation before judgment and allowing them to have a chance to keep their record clean. That would also be the shortest period of probation that the court will consider.
For certain judges, a first time DUI may be the only time that they will consider allowing probation to be unsupervised. That is very different than the court having to figure out how to sentence a person who has a third time DUI. At that point, the court is probably thinking this is somebody who has a very serious alcohol problem and whose behavior was not deterred on prior occasions by receiving a suspended sentence or a period of supervised probation.
For a third DUI, the court could go one of two ways. One strategy might be just giving the person a large period of active incarceration. They believe that there is no sense in attempting to deter the person’s behavior or hope to rehabilitate them, so there is just a straight sentence. Another strategy that the court may consider for a third time DUI is giving the person a longer period of supervised probation with hopes to deter the person from drinking. They can also make the person get treatment for alcohol abuse. It would depend on the judge, but some judges may decide that for a third time DUI the person needs to have a very long period of supervised probation with a lot of different conditions, hoping to rehabilitate the person and deter them from drinking and driving again.
Location of Courts
Somerset third offense DUI charges are heard in the District Court building in Princess Anne in Somerset County. The District Court hears all forms of traffic citations and offenses such as a DUI. However, if the defendant decided they wanted to have their case heard by a jury, the defendant could pray a jury trial, in which case, it would be heard in the Circuit Court for Somerset County, also located in Princess Anne.
Benefits of an Attorney
Generally, an attorney will approach a third time DUI offense the same way they would approach a first time offense. The first thing that an attorney needs to look at is whether the state can prove it’s case. The state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual committed the crime that had been charged. No matter a first or third offense, an attorney will look at the reports to see if the state can prove their case.
The main diference between the first and third offenses is the advice the attorney would give to their client. A client’s first DUI offense may entail an evaluation to determine whether or not the individual has an alcohol problem, or if they need an alcohol education class. Sometimes, an individual with a first offense DUI charge was just unaware of how little alcohol it takes to impair coordination. The advice changes by the third offense. At that point, the individual should find an inpatient program to complete. This is because the individual will most likely be unable to stop using alcohol on their own.
The advice on what to expect from the court changes as well. With a first time DUI offense, the individual may be facing a period of probation before a judgment to determine whether to keep their record clean. With a third time DUI offender, the penalties expected could be potential jail time. It is not a question of if the individual is going to jail, it is a question of how long, and what they can do to try and minimize the consequences associated with their charge.