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DUI penalties are harsher if there is a child in the car

On Behalf of | May 31, 2024 | Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence (DUI) offenses can lead to a variety of different penalties. Judges can incarcerate people, impose sizable fines and even suspend someone’s driver’s license because of an impaired driving offense.

Each of those penalties can be inconvenient for the defendant. In some scenarios, those accused of drunk driving infractions may be at risk of more serious penalties. Occasionally, Maryland prosecutors may have reason to pursue aggravated DUI charges against a defendant. For example, someone arrested for impaired driving with a minor in their vehicle could potentially face an aggravated DUI charge.

What makes an aggravated DUI different?

Obviously, an aggravated DUI offense can look more serious on a background check because the state makes a point of declaring it more serious than the average DUI. Not only does the driver accused of impairment at the wheel have to worry about a more damaging blemish on their criminal record, but they may also need to consider the likelihood of increased penalties.

Aggravated DUI charges carry more serious consequences than standard DUI charges in Maryland. A first DUI offense in Maryland typically leads to up to $1,000 and fines and possibly a year in state custody. An aggravated DUI charge related to a child passenger typically leads to a longer potential period of incarceration and higher fines.

The first time someone gets arrested for drunk driving with a passenger under the age of 18 in the vehicle, they could face up to two years in prison and $2,000 in fines. A second DUI with a minor passenger could lead to a three-year sentence of incarceration and $3,000 in fines. Those facing third or subsequent charges could be at risk of four years in state custody and $4,000 in fines. Prosecutors could also choose to file child endangerment charges in some cases.

Parents and youthful drivers are among those more likely to end up accused of an aggravated DUI related to a child passenger in a vehicle. Given the increased penalties possible after a conviction or guilty plea, the risk of failing to respond appropriately to an aggravated Maryland DUI charge is quite significant. Discussing what led to an arrest with a skilled legal team can help someone preparing to respond to a pending DUI charge.