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DUI with a Minor in the Car: Exploring the Legal Consequences in Maryland

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Maryland, and the consequences become even more severe when a minor is present in the vehicle. DUI offenses involving minors are subject to additional penalties and increased scrutiny by law enforcement and the judicial system. This article provides an in-depth look at the possible penalties of a DUI with a minor in the car in Maryland.

Maryland DUI Laws

In Maryland, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. For drivers under the age of 21, the legal limit is 0.02%. Maryland has a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drinking and driving.

Penalties for DUI in Maryland

A first-time DUI offense in Maryland typically results in the following penalties:

• License suspension: 6 months

• Fines: Up to $1,000

• Imprisonment: Up to 1 year

• Mandatory alcohol education program

• Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for a minimum of 6 months

• Repeat offenders and those with higher BAC levels may face more severe consequences, including longer license suspensions, higher fines, and longer jail sentences.

Additional Penalties for DUI with a Minor in the Car

In Maryland, having a minor in the car during a DUI arrest significantly increases the penalties. These additional penalties include:

• Child Endangerment: An individual charged with DUI and having a minor in the vehicle can be charged with child endangerment. This is a separate

criminal offense that carries its own penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

• Increased fines: The presence of a minor in the vehicle during a DUI arrest can result in a fine increase of up to $1,000 for a first-time offender and up to $2,000 for repeat offenders.

• Additional jail time: A DUI conviction with a minor in the vehicle may result in up to 2 years of additional imprisonment, depending on the circumstances.

• Mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment: An offender with a minor in the vehicle may be required to undergo an alcohol assessment and complete an alcohol treatment program as part of their sentence.

• Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement: A DUI arrest with a minor in the car may prompt an investigation by CPS, which could lead to additional consequences, such as loss of child custody or visitation rights.

• Ignition Interlock Device (IID) requirement: An individual convicted of a DUI with a minor in the car may be required to install an IID for an extended period, typically up to 3 years.

Legal Defenses and Mitigating Factors

An experienced DUI attorney can help explore potential legal defenses and mitigating factors to reduce the severity of penalties.

These may include:

• Challenging the accuracy of BAC testing equipment

• Arguing improper police procedures during the arrest

• Demonstrating that the defendant was not actually under the influence while driving

• Presenting evidence of the defendant’s good character or lack of prior convictions

DUI offenses involving minors carry significant legal consequences in Maryland. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI involving a minor, it is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney to navigate the complex legal process and get you the best possible outcome.