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DUI conviction could carry over to nearby states

Drinking and driving laws vary from state to state, and with so many states in close proximity in New England, it is important to understand the differences. For those living in Prince Georges County, Maryland, drunk driving charges often depend on the history of the driver that is defending against such accusations. First-time offenders in Maryland can be fined up to $1,000 for getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Those defending against Tier 1 charges and have no previous offenses on their records can be sentenced to jail for a year. They can also have 12 points added to their driving record, which will increase insurance costs.

In addition to this, a person convicted of drinking and driving in Maryland for the first time will have their license automatically suspended for 45 days. Having your license suspended can make getting around extremely difficult and may negatively affect the stability of your job. This is, of course, if you are convicted of the charges. Not all drinking and driving allegations are accurate. Many times, a plea bargain will lower the punishments assessed to the defendant. Legal professionals are often extremely helpful in these circumstances.

As mentioned earlier, it is important to understand DUI laws in neighboring states. Why? Because most states share information regarding DUI convictions through a database known as the Interstate Compact. This national information system can be used to use a person's history of previous convictions against them, especially in states that have similar drinking and driving laws. This means that a conviction in Maryland could cross over to Delaware, New Jersey or Pennsylvania and vice versa. In Pennsylvania, a first-time offender with a Tier 1 charge faces less stringent punishments than a person in Maryland. These punishments include a $300 fine, 150 hours of community service, six months of probation and alcohol highway safety school.

Source:  Daily Local, "Some states tougher than Pa. on drunken drivers" Fran Maye, Sep. 01, 2013

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