What makes DUI a felony?
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What makes DUI a felony?

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Felony DUI |

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a severe offense. It is usually treated as a misdemeanor in Maryland, and an individual may face penalties like fines, license suspension, and community service.

However, there are situations where a DUI can elevate to a felony, resulting in harsher consequences. Understanding the situation can help you make responsible decisions and avoid a more serious charge.

When does a DUI become a felony?

The key factor that bumps a DUI misdemeanor up to a felony is when the accident causes serious injury or death. If an individual driving under the influence severely hurts or kills someone, they might face felony charges for crimes like vehicular assault or manslaughter. These charges may come with significant jail time, hefty fines and a permanent mark on their criminal record.

While a high blood alcohol content (BAC) is not enough to automatically turn a DUI into a felony, it can increase the severity of the charges, especially if combined with other factors. Maryland has a standard BAC limit of .08, but a BAC of .15 or higher can be considered an aggravating factor in a DUI case. If the driver is under 21 years old and their BAC is .02 or higher, they may face serious DUI charges.

Being a responsible driver

The good news is that DUIs are preventable. If you plan on drinking, prepare for a safe ride home. Designate a driver, call a rideshare service or use public transportation. Being responsible after a night of drinking may keep you, your passengers and other people on the road safe and out of harm.

What to do after a DUI charge

If you face DUI charges, know that you are not alone. Talk to a friend or confide in a family member; facing a DUI charge can be highly overwhelming and you need all the support you can get. You may also want to speak with a legal professional as they can help you navigate the legal system and explore potential defenses that work toward a favorable outcome in your case.