Misdemeanor v. Felony: What is a DUI in Maryland?

Defendants in DUI cases in Maryland always want to know if this traffic offense is considered a misdemeanor or a felony. The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is a serious one. Misdemeanors are considered minor offenses in the nature of things and do not tend to have life altering effects in terms of employment abilities, maintaining a job, obtaining government clearance generally, maintaining a job at the Federal government and other such important matters. Whereas a felony charge on the other hand is a very serious matter. Felonies typically are associated with the possibility, if not the likelihood of long jail sentences. Felonies are associated with serious crimes such as robbery, burglary, murder, arson and other serious matters. A conviction for a felony will obviously have long-term ramifications in terms of employment ability, clearance ability or getting a meaningful position because it calls into question the defendant’s character traits.

Fortunately, a DUI charge in Maryland is not considered a felony; in fact a DUI charge is not technically considered criminal in nature as it is located in the Transportation article of Maryland and not the Criminal Code of Maryland. Having said that, the charge does carry the possibility of a jail sentence for a first, second or multiple offender. Interestingly, even for a second or third offender, the charge is still not a felony charge but rather a misdemeanor traffic event. This is probably descent news for individuals that find themselves in this predicament.

While a DUI conviction is considered a misdemeanor and not a felony for a second or multiple time offender jail time is a real possibility. That is to say for first offenders keeping the defendant out of jail is often times possible in the absence of an accident with personal injuries. In a second offense or multiple offense situation, jail time becomes a more likely possibility. Even then however there are things that can be done to minimize the exposure a defendant has in court. As stated previously it is always a good idea for a defendant to engage in an alcohol education program prior to going to court; in a second or multiple offense situation a reputable alcohol education program with a possible inpatient component can make a considerable difference in whether or not a defendant goes to jail. If it is a multiple offense situation other programs in addition to inpatient treatment may be necessary such as AA programs. Obtaining a home group and a sponsor is a good way to show a judge that the defendant is taking his alcohol problem seriously and attempting to make amends. Again judges look upon this favorably at the time of sentencing.

While a DUI or DWI offense is considered a misdemeanor in Maryland the charge nevertheless carries teeth that a defendant needs to be aware of. Assuming that one does not wish to be in jail it is incumbent upon the defendant to contact aggressive and competent DUI specific counsel to render the very best advice in order to obtain the best outcome possible in a given situation. Robinson and Associates, attorneys at law, have a long track record of obtaining such favorable results for DUI defendants.

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