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Should Maryland DUI homicides carry mandatory minimum sentences?

When people are convicted of killing someone because they were driving while intoxicated, the opinions about what kind of sentence they should face are still decidedly mixed.

Here in Maryland, there are maximum sentences and fines based on whether it's a first, second or subsequent such offense. However, those convicted can get a more lenient sentence if the judge and attorneys involved in the case agree.

One Carroll County sheriff's deputy has spoken out in favor of mandatory minimum sentences for DUI homicides. He says that he believes the current laws aren't strict enough to change people's behavior. He says, "I think three to five years as mandatory for killing someone would be a good start."

Both prosecutors and defense attorneys in that county, however, say that judges consider all of the facts of the homicide DUI cases that come to them and listen to the defendants as well as the victims' families.

One Maryland state legislator says he favors increasing maximum sentences for DUI homicides over imposing maximum sentences. Another Maryland delegate notes that getting legislation that would require mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of DUI homicides through the Judiciary Committee "might be a tough sale against the majority we have in Annapolis right now."

Obviously, there are no winners in a DUI homicide. A family has lost a loved one, and a driver has to spend the rest of his or her life dealing with the unintended consequences of driving under the influence. An experienced Maryland DUI attorney can work to help mitigate the legal consequences for those drivers.

Source: Carroll County Times, "DUI sentencing a concern among some," Heather Mongilio, accessed Aug. 22, 2017

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