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First-time DUI convictions may come with new penalties

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2024 | CRIMINAL LAW - Drunk Driving

When someone is convicted of DUI in Maryland, they may face penalties such as jail time, fines, and loss of driving privileges. The severity of these penalties depends much on the case, and specifically, the driving history of the individual. Those who’ve previously been convicted may face harsher penalties, especially when it comes to being able to legally drive in the future. Some people in the state are trying to overturn a so-called loophole that prevents first-time offenders from facing certain penalties after a DUI conviction. 

The loophole in question 

A 2016 law, called Noah’s Law, required all DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock system installed in their vehicle before they were allowed to drive again. The law was named after a police officer who was killed by a drunk driver. Advocates for harsher penalties against those convicted of DUI claim that a loophole in the law excludes first-time offenders from this requirement if they were sentenced to probation before judgment.  

Many first-time offenders are sentenced to probation after a DUI conviction. Those who support closing the loophole believe it will help prevent DUI-related crashes. A hearing this month could determine whether the law will be changed.  

Facing DUI charges 

Those facing DUI charges should know they have the right to defend themselves in court with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. No one must face these charges alone. Depending on the case details, one may have the option to plead to a lesser charge or plead not guilty to all charges. Working with someone who understands Maryland’s DUI laws can help one understand how best to present one’s case in court.