Two Maryland cases shed light on aggravated DUI charges and punishments

When you injure someone while driving under the influence of alcohol, it could mean a substantial ratcheting up of punishments.

Any type of drunk driving charge can be a very serious matter. But when someone is seriously injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident that allegedly stemmed from drunk driving, the potential consequences reach a new level of severity. Two recent Maryland incidents provide examples of what can happen in an aggravated DUI case arising out of an injury crash.

One driver just charged in injury crash, another sentenced for separate incident

In the early morning hours of September 23, Cpl. Brian Hirsh, a Maryland State Police trooper with 11 years on the job, was searching a vehicle along the Capital Beltway. Both Hirsh and another trooper at the scene had their patrol cars in the vicinity with their emergency lights and sirens engaged, according to the Maryland State Police.

At approximately 2 a.m., police say that the driver of an SUV failed to move over as he approached the scene of the search, and instead drifted into the vehicle being searched. The impact ripped off the stopped vehicle’s door, and Hirsh was struck with a mirror, causing him to suffer injuries. Hirsh was rushed to Prince George’s County Hospital for treatment.

Officers were able to stop the SUV a short distance away from the crash. They said the driver showed signed of intoxication, and arrested him for DUI. In addition to a DUI charge, the driver faces charges for negligent driving, violations of the “move over law” and failure to stop after a crash involving injury.

So what kind of penalties could the driver of the SUV be facing if convicted? Although every DUI case is unique and this driver was hit with a few additional charges, another Maryland aggravated DUI case that recently proceeded to the sentencing phase could be illustrative.

In this case, a Maryland man rear-ended a woman’s car, seriously injuring her. He eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of causing a life-threatening injury while driving under the influence of alcohol (a separate charge of failing to stay at the scene of the accident was dropped).

On August 20, the man was sentenced to three years in prison, with the sentence suspended to 30 days in jail. Assuming he successfully serves the 30 days and completes a substance abuse recovery program during three years of court supervision, he should be able to avoid prison.

The sentence imposed in any given aggravated DUI case will vary based on the facts and circumstances of that particular case. But in this instance, the defendant, who entered treatment for alcoholism after the crash and apologized to the victim in open court, was able to convince the judge that he had been making a real effort to change his life. This likely factored into the relatively lenient sentence.

Get help from a drunk driving defense lawyer if you are facing DUI charges

If you have been accused of aggravated DUI, you could be sentenced to years behind bars. However, with the help of an experienced DUI defense lawyer, you may be able to get certain charges dropped, secure a favorable plea deal or otherwise mitigate the risk of an unduly harsh punishment. Contact a defense lawyer today if you have been accused of drunk driving, and get out ahead of the problem.

Keywords: Maryland, drunk driving, DUI

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