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Should Maryland have mandatory minimums for DUI homicides?

The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that went into effect last fall called Noah's Law. The law implemented stricter penalties for people convicted of DUI offenses. However, some Marylanders say that the penalties for DUI homicide are still not strict enough.

Under the current laws, those who are convicted of homicide by motor vehicle while driving under the influence can be sentenced to up to five years in prison and fined up to $5,000. Those penalties double for a second DUI homicide conviction.

Judges have the leeway to impose less than these maximum penalties based on the details of each individual case. However, some think that the potential penalties should be harsher and that there should be mandatory minimum sentences for this crime. As one sheriff's deputy says, "It's basically a traffic homicide. You're killing someone because of decisions you made."

The deputy places the blame on the state legislature for being afraid to create harsher penalties. Two state delegates say they agree that there should be stronger maximum sentences for those convicted of killing someone while DUI. However, one notes that legislators would prefer to increase maximum penalties rather than have mandatory minimum sentences. He says that the current legislative trend is toward decreasing rather than increasing sentences.

When a person dies as a result of your drunk driving, it's something that you have to live with for the rest of your life. Every situation is different, no matter how tragic the outcome. If you are facing a DUI homicide charge, it's essential to get sound legal advice and representation to help mitigate the consequences to your future.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "DUI sentencing a concern among some," Heather Mongilio, July 22, 2017

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