The Maryland drunk driving laws are complicated and confusing when trying to figure out what can happen if charged. The Maryland drunk driving laws are contained in Maryland Transportation Article 21-902. All of the Maryland drunk driving laws are classified as misdemeanors.
The Maryland drunk driving laws distinguish between DUI and DWI. DUI stands for driving under the influence. DWI stands for driving while impaired. The difference between DUI and DWI in Maryland are the elements that constitute the crime and the penalties if convicted.
Maryland DUI Laws
The Maryland DUI laws changed on October 1, 2017. Before that date, the DUI laws in Maryland were classified as 21-902(a)(1) and 21-902(a)(2). Since October 1, 2017, the new structure for the Maryland DUI laws are 21-902(a)(1)(i) and 21-902(a)(1)(ii).
Maryland DWI Laws
The Maryland DWI laws are spelled out under Maryland Transportation Article 21-902(b)(1)(i), 21-902(c)(1)(i) and 21-902(d)(1)(i).
The various subsections are provided to differentiate between the substances which impair the driver. Under 21-902(b), alcohol is the substance that impairs the driver.
For a 21-902(c) charge, drug, any combination of drugs or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol is the substance that impairs the driver.
Under 21-902(d) charge, controlled dangerous substance is the reason for the impairment. This may include marijuana, cocaine, heroin or any other CDS defined in Maryland Criminal Law 5-101.
Maryland Drunk Driving Laws and Penalties
The Maryland drunk driving laws specify the maximum penalty for each offense. The penalties and consequences also increase as one of more convictions are incurred by an individual.
Driving Under the Influence Penalties
1st conviction – Maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and/or a $1000 fine.
2nd conviction – Maximum penalty of 2 years in jail and/or a $2000 fine.
3rd or subsequent conviction – Maximum penalty of 3 years in jail and/or a $3000 fine.
Driving While Impaired Penalties
1st conviction – Maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
2nd conviction – Maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and/or $1000 fine.
3rd or subsequent conviction – Maximum penalty of 3 years in jail and/or $3000 fine.
A prior probation before judgment (PBJ) is not considered a conviction for the purpose of enhanced penalties under the Maryland drunk driving laws. There are enhanced penalties if charged with drunk driving while transporting a minor.
Maryland Drunk Driving Laws and Your Driver’s License
In addition to the penalties that can be ordered by a Judge, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will take administrative action against a driver and their license if charged with drunk driving in Maryland. The MVA can suspended a driver’s license or require them to participate in the ignition interlock program. The clock begins to run as soon as the driver is charged to make a decision about their license. Drivers charged with drunk driving in Maryland should consult a lawyer and determine which option is best for them.
Maryland Drunk Driving Laws and MVA Points
If a driver is convicted, receives a guilty and not a PBJ, then the MVA will assess points to their driving record. Too many points will result in additional suspensions or revocation of the driver’s license to drive in Maryland. The Maryland Transportation Article 16-402 defines the point assessment by the MVA for a drunk driving conviction.
- 8 Points – Driving while impaired by alcohol or while impaired by a drug, combination of drugs, or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol, or driving within 12 hours after arrest under § 21–902.
- 12 Points – Driving while under the influence of alcohol, while under the influence of alcohol per se, or while impaired by an illegally used controlled dangerous substance
Understanding the Maryland Drunk Driving Laws
As we mentioned earlier, the Maryland drunk driving laws are complicated. You should contact a Maryland DUI lawyer to discuss the potential penalties and consequences of a DUI or DWI arrest in Maryland. Attorney Randolph Rice is a Maryland drunk driving defense lawyer. He has represented thousands of clients in Maryland who have faced drunk driving charges. Contact his office today to schedule a free consultation.