DUI/DWI – Long Term Collateral  Effects

A DUI/DWI is forever. 

Some believe that a first time DUI/DWI at least in some parts of Maryland has very little impact.  Indeed, with no “bad facts” – no outrageous conduct, no extraordinarily high breath test, many people pleading guilty will end up with a moderate fine, probably under $500.00, a period of probation that may or may not be unsupervised, one time attendance at the Victim Impact Panel sponsored by MADD, and completion of alcohol  classes, and very likely Probation Before Judgment (PBJ), meaning no conviction and no points on the driving record.

The reality can be far different.  I have received calls from several people asking for help to have DUI/DWI charges expunged now that they have completed probation and several years have passed.  Unfortunately, DUI/DWI’s in Maryland can not be expunged, regardless of how much time has elapsed, even if the outcome was a PBJ.  Unlike most criminal charges, Maryland law specifically precludes expungement. 

The common thread in each of the calls is that the DUI/DWI happened several years ago.  However, potential employers are finding these old charges and denying employment or contracts because of them.  Two individuals had similar stories: both had previously done contract work going back several years, but were denied new employment with the same employer – one a private company, the other a government agency, hence their desire to expunge.

Both cases shared a common factor:  People charged are scared, embarrassed, and “just want the case over”.  A quick plea with the likelihood of that PBJ which carries no points appears attractive.  However, attorneys who do not defend a significant number of these cases may not even be aware of the long term collateral effects of that guilty/PBJ.

Sometimes a plea may be the best way forward if it avoids more serious charges or results in some better outcome than might otherwise be available.  But, before rushing into what appears to be the easy way out, people need to consider all the consequences. 

DUI/DWI defense attorney Richard Kodzis will explain how this information can help a client avoid conviction. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.