Felony DUI Charges: What You Need to Know
While it’s always illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content level above .08 percent in Maryland and all other states, some charges of driving under the influence are more serious than others. These charges tend to escalate from misdemeanors to felonies when injury to another person or damage to another person’s property is involved.
If you were to get into an accident while driving with a BAC over the legal limit, you likely would not be charged with a felony unless other factors were present.
The notable exception is if you have an extremely high BAC level. If your BAC is significantly higher than .08 percent (such as twice the limit or more), you could be charged with a felony — even if no one was injured.
Another exception is if you already have a history of DUI convictions. Some states are stricter than others when it comes to how many prior convictions it takes for a DUI to become a felony, but all states have escalating penalties for each conviction — with a felony charge eventually becoming a possibility. In Maryland, you may face felony charges if you’ve had more than one previous DUI conviction over the past 10 years.
You could also be charged with a felony if you were driving under the influence with a child under 14 in your vehicle, or if you were operating under the influence with a suspended driver’s license.
If an injury did occur, you do not necessarily need to have had a very high BAC to be charged with a felony. If you were over the legal limit, it’s still a DUI and you still are liable for the injuries you caused. It doesn’t matter if the person who was injured was one of your passengers, a person in another vehicle or even yourself — any drunk driving accident resulting in someone getting injured could lead to felony DUI.
Penalties for felony DUI include prison time, major fines, probation and a suspended license. To learn more about your options if you’ve been accused of drunk driving, meet with the dedicated La Plata DUI defense lawyers at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A.