Any criminal charge in Maryland can result in life-altering consequences for the accused. A judge can impose penalties based on state law that can include probation, incarceration and financial consequences. Additionally, a guilty plea or conviction will result in a criminal record. Especially if a record includes felony charges, that burden can be consequential well into the future.
Educational institutions, landlords and employers will see that someone has previously violated the law, and that can influence the decisions they make about certain opportunities. Certain criminal offenses have more of a chilling effect on someone’s life than others. Driving under the influence (DUI) charges may not be seen as serious as the violent crimes that some people commit in Maryland. However, they can still look very serious during a background check. Businesses are generally more lenient toward those with a misdemeanor record. Yet, some DUI offenders may need to worry about having a felony record after a conviction for a particularly egregious or repeat offense, not a misdemeanor record as is fairly standard for DUI charges in Maryland.
Some scenarios may lead to felony charges
In some states, there are aggravating factors that may lead to felony DUI charges. Maryland does not have a felony DUI statute. However, the state can bring more than one charge against someone accused of impairment at the wheel. In a situation where an allegedly impaired driver causes a crash that injures someone else or costs someone their life, the state will likely pursue a second charge against that driver in addition to the DUI charge. The secondary charges will likely be felony offenses.
Vehicular assault and manslaughter by vehicle are both typically felony offenses. Not only do these allegations carry much more significant penalties that a judge can impose, but they will likely also have a stronger impact on someone’s opportunities during a background check. Simply put, a DUI charge itself will be a misdemeanor, but the secondary charges related to the incident could very well be felony offenses.
As a result of this reality, anyone accused of a DUI would likely benefit from defending against those charges to minimize the potential long-term impact that the situation will have on the future. Those accused of a DUI in the scenario that led to injury or death will have even more reason to mount the strongest defense possible. Therefore, seeking legal guidance as soon as possible after DUI arrest is ideal.