DUI Probation Dos and Don’ts

In Maryland and many other states, first-time DUI offenders get placed on probation. This doesn’t mean you’ve gotten off without charges—if you break the terms of your probation, you will likely go to jail. It’s important to understand what you can and cannot do while on probation for a DUI so that you don’t break the terms and risk harsher penalties.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a DUI, is a misdemeanor offense; however, it can result in serious penalties, including jail time. In Maryland, an adult can be arrested for a misdemeanor if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is .07 or higher, and the cutoff is even lower for individuals below the legal drinking age.

DUI charges are taken seriously in Maryland, and first-time offenders can face fines of up to $1000 and one year spent in jail. For second-time offenders, those penalties double—and if other factors are present such as a minor in the vehicle or possession of an illegal substance, you can also expect harsher penalties. If a judge grants you probation, you must comply with its terms to avoid a harsher sentence.

Probation Terms

The exact terms of probation will vary between cases and judges. However, there are a few stipulations that are common across Maryland in DUI cases. If you’re granted probation after a DUI charge, the following things will likely be required of you:

  • Abstaining from alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Attending school, meetings with a probation officer, and all court hearings
  • Obeying all state laws
  • Being tested for drugs or alcohol
  • Complying with rehabilitation services and requirements
  • Attending a victim impact panel meeting

Maryland Ignition Interlock Device Program

Many individuals on DUI probation in Maryland are ordered to participate in the state’s Ignition Interlock Device program. Many defendants prefer not to have their license suspended and opt for this as an alternative.

Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) are installed in cars to prevent individuals from driving while impaired or under the influence. This device will connect directly to your vehicle’s ignition system, and you will be required to blow into a breathalyzer each time before starting your car. If the device registers a BAC higher than your allowed limit, the car won’t start.

Defending a DUI Charge

One thing many individuals may not understand is that there are many ways to defend against a DUI charge in court. You may be able to argue that the police officer who arrested you performed the breathalyzer test incorrectly, or that he or she carried out the steps of the arrest procedure in an incorrect order.