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When Does a Maryland DUI Become a Felony?

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At Lotze Mosley, LLP, our Maryland criminal defense attorney knows that getting arrested for a DUI is eye opening, and often comes with a lot of confusion about what to expect from the court. A first-time DUI in Maryland is a misdemeanor but can still change your life in both the short- and long-term. Repeat DUI offenses are also misdemeanors but have increased penalties.

Multiple DUI convictions come with serious consequences including jail time, probation requirements, increased fines, and prolonged license suspensions.

The Maryland criminal courts have a ten-year “look back” period when examining the consequences of a DUI. This means if you are arrested for a DUI in 2023 — then again in 2025 — the penalties are going to be more severe than if your second DUI was in 2035.

No matter which year it is, the DUI will remain a misdemeanor unless there is significant bodily injury or death. Then the charge will increase to a felony and be charged as vehicular assault or vehicular manslaughter case.

What Does the State Have to Prove to Convict a Driver of Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Manslaughter Case?

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Under Maryland law, manslaughter by vehicle is a felony with a maximum prison sentence of ten years. To reach this maximum penalty, the state must prove the driver was acting in a grossly negligent manner. This requirement is generally defined as acting with a reckless disregard for human life.

If the prosecutor is only able to prove the defendant acted in a criminally negligent manner, the offense is a misdemeanor with a three-year maximum penalty.

Do Not Face Your Maryland DUI Charges Alone: Contact Lotze Mosley Today

Because each DUI case is unique — including first-time arrests, subsequent DUIs, and those involving injuries or death — it is crucial to partner with our skilled criminal defense attorneys in Washington D.C. at Lotze Mosley, LLP by calling 202-393-0535. This will ensure your rights are protected from the beginning of your case, so we can build the best defense for your unique charges and pursue the best outcome.

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