Bishop Suffragen Heather cook, the second-highest leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, now faces vehicular manslaughter, DUI, and other charges. Just a few weeks ago, Bishop Cook was driving a car that killed a bicyclist in Baltimore and she fled the scene, only to return a short time after. It was later reported that Bishop Cook had been charged with DUI in the past, and when police officers tested her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) after the wreck, it was 0.22, which is almost triple Maryland’s legal limit of 0.08. Her previous DUI arrest included a BAC of 0.27 and an officer found two small bags of marijuana, paraphernalia, a bottle of wine, and a bottle of liquor in her car. Cook pleaded guilty to drunken driving then, and the drug possession charges were dropped. Unfortunately, in this recent accident, a 41 year old was killed.
As a reminder to all Maryland drivers, consequences of multiple DUIs become harsher with each subsequent conviction. First time offenders who are convicted of DUI in Maryland will be subject to a driver’s license suspension, monetary fines, and/or jail time. Specifically, the MVA will revoke your license for six (6) months and you will incur twelve (12) points on your driver’s license. In addition, a first DUI offense carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Finally, an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), which is a breathalyzer device connected to the car that does not allow the car to start if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the programmed limit, is not required for your first offense. If you refuse to submit to an alcohol-related test, or submit to a test and the result indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at the time of testing, your driver’s license will be confiscated, you will be issued an Order of Suspension, and if eligible, a temporary license valid for 45 days.
Second time or subsequent offenders who are convicted of DUI in Maryland will be subject to a driver’s license suspension, monetary fines, jail time, and use of an IID. Specifically, the MVA will revoke your driver’s license for one year, require use of an IID for a three to twelve (3-12) month period, impose twelve (12) points on your license, and recommend an alcohol abuse program. In addition, a second DUI offense carries a maximum penalty of two (2) years in jail (with a mandatory minimum of five days) and/or a $2,000 fine. If your alcohol test result reveals an alcohol concentration of at least 0.08, but less than 0.15, the suspension of your driver’s license will be 90 days. If your test result is 0.15 or more, the suspension will be 180 days for a second or subsequent offense. If you refuse the test, the suspension will be one year for a second or subsequent offense.
Note that in Maryland, the lookback period, or period of time that prior DUIs are relevant for sentencing, is ten (10) years. In other words, judges can take into account prior DUI convictions within ten (10) years when sentencing for a current DUI offense.
If you or a family member has been charged with a DUI or DWI in Maryland and would like a free legal consultation or if you would like more information on DUI or DWI please feel free to contact our office at (301) 854-9000 or visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshure.com/Criminal-Defense/DWI-DUI/