One of the biggest causes of fatal car accidents around the United States is that someone is driving while intoxicated. The laws governing the definition of intoxication are standard according to blood alcohol concentration across the nation. If your BAC is 0.08% or over, you can be charged with a DUI. While the definition of intoxication is consistent, states do vary in the prosecution of DUIs and the type of charges that they carry. If you are arrested for DUI in Baltimore, there are times when it might be a misdemeanor offense and others when you can be charged with a felony.
To someone who doesn’t understand the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor charge, it might not seem like a big deal. Being charged with a felony comes with much more severe consequences, like the potential for jail time and having charges on your permanent record that can affect your ability to advance at work, get housing or anything else requiring a background check.
When you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI, and you have a BAC of more than 0.08% and less than 0.20%, then you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor. However, if there are additional factors involved, then your case can be escalated. A charge like vehicular manslaughter is possible if someone dies as a result of your driving while intoxicated. The reasons that your Maryland DUI charge can be characterized as more than a misdemeanor include:
- You have had more than one DUI in your past
- Your blood alcohol concentration is recorded as being more than 0.20% according to a breathalyzer or blood test
- You were in a car with a minor while driving while under the influence
- You were driving at excessive speeds while intoxicated – usually 20mph or more over the posted speed limit
If you are charged with a DUI and also meet one or more of the preceding conditions, then it is possible for your charges to be escalated from a misdemeanor to a felony. If you are found guilty of a felony charge, then you can potentially face up to three years in prison and $3000 – or more – in fines. You can also face administrative fees up front before you are even convicted, and a suspension of more than a year of your driver’s license.
Other instances when your DUI charge can be escalated
If you are driving while intoxicated and you injure a pedestrian, then it is likely going to be escalated to a much more serious offense. It might not be increased to a felony charge, but the misdemeanor consequences can be much more severe than other DUI misdemeanor consequences. If a pedestrian dies as a result of your driving while intoxicated, it will automatically become a felony charge. And it’s not just alcohol that’s involved: if you are taking any intoxicant that alters your ability to drive, then you can be found guilty of a felony charge if a pedestrian is killed.
If you are found guilty of a DUI in Maryland
If you are found guilty of a DUI, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or felony charge, there are other consequences that you can face. Other potential consequences can include:
- Having to pay three times as much for insurance as you were previously paying
- Not being able to find housing due to a criminal background on your record
- Having limited career opportunities due to your background check
If you are charged with DUI in Maryland, it is imperative that you hire a Baltimore DUI lawyers who specializes in DUI charges to protect yourself from either a misdemeanor or felony charge. If you are being charged with a felony, then it is especially important for you to hire a professional to potentially find cause to have your case dismissed due to error – or at a minimum, to have your charges reduced. There are a variety of defenses available for those who are involved in a DUI; you just have to hire the right attorney who can provide the best defense for their clients to make sure they don’t suffer the dire consequences of being convicted of a felony.
Shruti Gupta is a writer, digital marketer and outreaching expert. She writes about technology, startups & other niches. She has contributed to a number of famous websites like Thenextweb deccanchronicle and Crazyegg. Stay tuned with her at:@shruti_gupta01 or via skype