Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rockville DUI Lawyer, Police Officer Killed by Drunk Driver

Visit Us On The Web At:

A Montgomery County Police Officer was killed earlier this month when he was struck by a drunk driver.  Officer Noah Leotta, 24, was struck while performing a traffic stop during holiday alcohol task force enforcement.  Montgomery County Police Chief, Thomas Manger, delivered a powerful speech after Officer Leotta’s death, stating that the residents of Montgomery County had “lost a great cop,” who was “dedicated to public service.” 

This tragedy has sparked a renewed conversation about Maryland’s current laws and penalties for driving under the influence, especially for repeat offenders.  Manger stated that the drunk driver involved in this case had been arrested twice before for drunk driving and had also been previously convicted for drug possession.  Manger decried Maryland’s DUI laws, stating that, “the state of Maryland has some of the weakest penalties for drunk drivers.”  Manger further stated that there would be little chance of justice for victims of drunk drivers “until the state of Maryland starts taking these crimes seriously.”

In Maryland, the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.  First time offenders are eligible for probation before judgment, which is not a conviction, and carries no points for drivers’ license purposes.  Maryland law does not provide for any mandatory jail time for first offenders or for subsequent offenders.  Repeat DUI offenders face the same maximum penalties as a first time offender and it is completely within the judge’s discretion to impose jail time, or not.

By contrast, Virginia has enacted especially harsh penalties for individuals convicted of driving under the influence.   If a defendant’s blood alcohol content is .15 or above, Virginia law imposes a mandatory minimum of five days in jail.  A second offense carries a 20 day mandatory minimum in Virginia.  A third offense carries 90 days.  Virginia civil law also provides enhanced protections for injured victims of drunk drivers in the form of eligibility for punitive damages in personal injury cases where the defendant’s BAC was above .15.  Maryland law carries no such protection.

If you, a family member or someone you know has been convicted of DUI or DWI or if you would like more information on drunk driving, please do not hesitate to call us at 410-995-1515 for a free consultation.

No comments:

Post a Comment