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Maryland DUI & DWI Penalties

In Maryland, the DUI/DWI penalties range from a maximum 60 days in jail up to 4 years, depending on various circumstances. The maximum penalty for a drunk driving conviction are determined by:

The Maryland DUI penalties vary depending on the type of charge and driver’s record. If charged with DUI in Maryland, it is advised to hire a DUI lawyer. A DUI defense lawyer can provide valuable legal and practical guidance. Making decisions after a DUI can have a negative impact on your freedom as well as your ability to drive.

In Maryland, there are two different types of penalties one can face:

  1. Administrative penalties imposed by the Maryland MVA; and
  2. Criminal penalties imposed by the courts (tribunal sanctions).

Maryland DUI DWI penalties lawyer

Common Terms to Know if Charged with Drunk Driving

Some of the most common terms used when discussing drunk driving charges are:

If you have questions about various terms of citations you received as a result of a drunk driving arrest, contact our office at 410.288.2900 to discuss and schedule a free consultation.

What is “DUI” in Maryland?

DUI stands for “driving while under the influence of alcohol.” A driver can be charged with DUI if they have alcohol in their system and it is affecting their ability to operate a motor vehicle. Driving under the influence is found under Maryland Transportation Article (TA) 21-902(a).

There are two subsection of TA 21-902, 21-902(a)(1) violation and the 21-902(a)(2) violations. 21-902(a)(1) also has two subsections, which include TA 21-902(a)(1)(i) and TA 21-902(a)(1)(ii).

TA 21-902(a)(1)(i) makes it illegal in Maryland to drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Whereas, TA 21-902(a)(1)(ii) provides that is it illegal to drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol per se.

If you’ve been charged with DUI in Maryland, contact attorney Randolph Rice at 410.288.2900 to discuss your case and how he can help.

What is the penalty for a DUI in Maryland?

The penalty for a DUI in Maryland is:

The penalty for a DUI in Maryland IF TRANSPORTING A MINOR is:

What is the Punishment for a 2nd DUI in Maryland?

The punishment for a second DUI is a maximum of 2 years in jail and up to a $2000 fine, however, if there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the DUI stop, the maximum punishment is 3 years in jail and a fine of up to $3000.

Is Your License Suspended Immediately After a DUI?

No, in Maryland, your license is not suspended immediately after a DUI. It will depend on whether you refused the breath or blood test, or if the driver takes the test and records a BAC of .08 or higher.

If a driver refuses a test, then their have the option to request an MVA hearing, accept a period of suspension or elect to participate in the ignition interlock program (IIP) for 1 year. If the driver accepts a suspension, then it will begin on the 46th day after the drunk driving arrest.

If a driver elects the IIP, they must enroll within 30 days.

What is Not Guilty Agreed Statements of Facts?

“Not Guilty Agreed Statement of Facts” (NGASF) is an type of plea a defendant may accept in the District Courts of Maryland. It is tantamount to a guilty plea, but instead of pleading guilty, you are pleading Not Guilty and agreeing to the Statement of Probably Cause offered to the Court by the State. This means the record will display that you plead “not guilty,” but you are telling the court that you agree to the facts of the case and want to resolve the case by way of a plea.

What happens when you enter a NGASF?

The defendant will stand before the judge and his/her lawyer will explain that you are entering that type of plea. The judge will ask your lawyer to “qualify” the defendant. This means your lawyer will recite certain rights and you must agree on the record that you are willing to waive those rights.

That includes the understanding a jury trial and that you are waiving your right to a jury trial. The State’s Attorney will read the Statement of Probable Cause, the judge will listen and then determine if the facts are sufficient to find you guilty. Rarely does the judge not find a defendant guilty after the reading of the Statement of probable Cause.

After this is complete, the judge will hear from the State and your attorney and decide he appropriate sentence in your case.

Can You Receive a PBJ if You Plead Guilty of Enter a Not Guilty Agreed Statement of Facts?

Yes, you can still receive a PBJ even if you enter a guilty plea or proceed by way of a Not Guilty Agreed Statement of Facts. However, if a judge cannot grant a defendant a PBJ (probation before judgment) if within the past 10 years a defendant has a prior PBJ or conviction of drunk driving. For more information about PBJ 10 years after a prior, read Maryland Criminal Procedure 6-220 section (d).

What is the penalty for a first offense DUI 21-902(a)(1) in Maryland?

The penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol (21-902(a)(1) is 1 year in jail and up tp $1,000.00 fine.

What are the court costs for a DUI conviction?

In Maryland, the court costs for a DUI conviction or PBJ are $57.50.

Can the Court Waive the Court Costs?

No, in Maryland, a judge cannot waive the court costs for a DUI or DWI conviction/PBJ>

Why have I been charged with so many counts of DUI?

If arrested for DUI or DWI in Maryland, the police officer will typically write tickets for numerous violations under the Maryland DUI laws. Those may include:

  1. 21-902 (a)(1);
  2. 21-902 (a)(2);
  3. 21-902 (a)(3);
  4. 21-902 (b)(1);
  5. 21-902 (b)(2);
  6. 21-902 (c)(1);
  7. 21-902 (c)(3);
  8. 21-902 (d)(1);
  9. 21-902 (d)(2); and
  10. 21-902.1.

The police officer does this because they want to protect the case in the event the State cannot prove the more serious violations. Thus, if the State cannot prove the DUI, maybe they can prove that you were driving while impaired.

What is Driving While Impaired by Drugs or Drugs and Alcohol?

Maryland Transportation Article 21-902 (c)(1) holds that it is a crime to driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcohol. Driving while impaired is not a scientific value. This is something that can be determined by a Judge or Jury based on a driver’s ability to control a vehicle or signs of impairment if pulled over and tested.

What is DWI in Maryland?

DWI stands for “driving while impaired” by alcohol or drugs or drugs and alcohol. When considering the Maryland DUI penalties, the DWI charge can carry lower fines and less jail time than a DUI.

Different Maryland DUI Penalties

Depending if this is a first time DUI or subsequent DUI charge, the penalties vary in Maryland. The penalties can also increase if at the time of the DUI arrest, there was a minor in the vehicle.

Maryland DUI Penalties Chart

Offense1st Offense2nd Offense3rd or Subsequent OffenseMVA Point AssessmentMandatory Penalty
21-902(a)(1) Driving while under the influence of alcoholA fine of not more than $1,000, or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or bothA fine of not more than $2,000, or imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or bothA fine of not more than $3,000, or imprisonment for not more than 3 years, or both12 PointsA person who is convicted of a violation of 21–902(a) within 5 years after a prior conviction is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 5 days. A person who is convicted of a third or subsequent offense under 21–902(a) within 5 years is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 10 days
21-902(a)(2) Driving while under the influence of alcohol per seA fine of not more than $1,000, or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or bothA fine of not more than $2,000, or imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or bothA fine of not more than $3,000, or imprisonment for not more than 3 years, or both12 PointsA person who is convicted of a violation of 21–902(a) within 5 years after a prior conviction is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 5 days. A person who is convicted of a third or subsequent offense under 21–902(a) within 5 years is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 10 days
21-902(a)(3) Driving while under the influence of alcohol while transporting a minorA fine of not more than $2,000 or imprisonment for not more than 2 years or bothA fine of not more than $3,000 or imprisonment for not more than 3 years or bothA fine of not more than $4,000 or imprisonment for not more than 4 years or both12 PointsA person who is convicted of a violation of 21–902(a) within 5 years after a prior conviction is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 5 days. A person who is convicted of a third or subsequent offense under 21–902(a) within 5 years is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 10 days
21-902(b)(1) Driving while impaired by alcoholA fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 2 months or bothA fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or bothA fine not exceeding $3,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or both8 PointsN/A
21-902(b)(2) Driving while impaired by alcohol while transporting a minorA fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months or bothA fine of not more than $2,000 or imprisonment for not more than 1 year or bothA fine of not more than $4,000 or imprisonment for not more than 4 years or both8 PointsN/A
21-902(c)(1) Driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcoholA fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 2 months or bothA fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or bothA fine not exceeding $3,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or both8 PointsN/A
21-902(c)(3) Driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcohol while transporting a minorA fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months or bothA fine of not more than $2,000 or imprisonment for not more than 1 year or bothA fine of not more than $4,000 or imprisonment for not more than 4 years or both8 PointsN/A
21-902(d)(1) Driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substanceA fine of not more than $1,000, or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or bothA fine of not more than $2,000, or imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or bothA fine of not more than $3,000, or imprisonment for not more than 3 years, or both12 PointsA person who is convicted of a violation of 21–902(d) within 5 years after a prior conviction is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 5 days. A person who is convicted of a third or subsequent offense under 21–902(d) within 5 years is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 10 days
21-902(d)(2) Driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substance while transporting a minorA fine of not more than $2,000 or imprisonment for not more than 2 years or bothA fine of not more than $3,000 or imprisonment for not more than 3 years or bothA fine of not more than $4,000 or imprisonment for not more than 4 years or both12 PointsA person who is convicted of a violation of 21–902(d) within 5 years after a prior conviction is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 5 days. A person who is convicted of a third or subsequent offense under 21–902(d) within 5 years is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for not less than 10 days
21-902.1 Driving after arrest for drunk drivingA fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 2 months or bothA fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 2 months or bothA fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 2 months or both8 PointsN/A

Breakdown of the DUI and DWI Penalties in Maryland by Statute

21-902 (a)(1) – Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol

21-902 (a)(2) – Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se

21-902 (a)(3) – Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol While Transporting a Minor

21-902 (b)(1) – Driving While Impaired by Alcohol

21-902 (b)(2) – Driving While Impaired by Alcohol While Transporting a Minor

21-902 (c)(1) – Driving While Impaired by Drugs or Drugs and Alcohol

21-902 (c)(3) – Driving While Impaired by Drugs or Drugs and Alcohol While Transporting a Minor

21-902 (d)(1) – Driving While Impaired by Controlled Dangerous Substance

21-902 (d)(2) – Driving While Impaired by Controlled Dangerous Substance While Transporting a Minor

21-902.1 – Driving After Arrest for Violation of 21-902 – Maryland DUI penalties

Penalty for Refusing to Take a Breath or Blood Test in Maryland

In Maryland, according to Maryland Transportation Article 27-101(x)(3) if a person is convicted of a violation of any DUI crimes and the trier of fact finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the person knowingly refused to take a test arising out of the same circumstances as the violation, the person is subject to a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 2 months or both.

Administrative Penalties for a DUI in Maryland

In addition to Maryland DUI penalties imposed by the Court, the MVA may impose administrative penalties for being operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol.

Drivers stopped or detained and reasonable grounds exist to believe the driver has been driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle and under the influence or impaired by alcohol then Maryland Law requires that the driver be asked to submit to a test.

Informed Consent in Maryland

In these situations, the law deems that drivers have consented to take a test to measure the alcohol concentration or drug or controlled dangerous substance content in their system. Drivers may refuse to submit to the test(s), unless you were in a motor vehicle accident resulting in the death of or life-threatening injury to another person. In those circumstances, the driver will be required to submit to a test.

Will the Police Officer Take My License?

If a driver refuses to submit to a test, or if a driver submits to a test and the result indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at the time of testing, the Maryland driver’s license shall be confiscated. The police officer will issue an Order of Suspension and, if eligible, a temporary license valid for 45 days.

How Long Will My License Be Suspended After a DUI Arrest in Maryland?

The following periods of suspension will be imposed against drivers in Maryland:

Ignition Interlock Program: How it Works

Below are the 10 steps for the Maryland Ignition Interlock Program:

Step 1: The driver decides to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program.

The driver reviews the program requirements provided by a referring entity or the MVA’s Administrative Adjudication Division (AAD) and decides to participate.

The driver contacts an Ignition Interlock Service Provider from the list of MVA approved providers and schedules an appointment to have the ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle.

Approved Maryland Ignition Interlock Service Provider:

Notes: In most cases the driver participates in the program to avoid having his or her driving privilege suspended or revoked.
The referring entity typically:
Determines the minimum participation period;
Determines the time frame allowed for the driver to obtain the ignition interlock device; and
Provides a list of authorized Ignition Interlock Service Providers.

Step 2: The Ignition Interlock Service Provider installs the ignition interlock device in the driver’s vehicle

When a IID is installed the provider will:

The driver is responsible for having the ignition interlock device installed within the timeframe permitted by the referring entity.
The driver is also responsible for all costs associated with the installation and maintenance of the ignition interlock device

Step 3: The driver applies for a restricted Maryland driver’s license

Drivers must apply in person at any MVA office and must present the following documents at the time of application:

  1. Proof of installation provided by the Ignition Interlock Service Provider.
  2. Other applicable documents provided by the referring entity.

Step 4: The MVA driver agent (CA) issues a restricted driver’s license (code “J”) to the driver

The driver can only drive a vehicle outfitted with an ignition interlock system, except as noted below for employment exemptions.
The driver  begins receiving credit for participating in the Ignition Interlock Program only after he/she has had the ignition interlock device installed AND received the restricted driver’s license.

If the driver was referred to the program by the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), he or she may petition the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for permission to drive an employer’s vehicle without an ignition interlock device during normal business hours. The request may also be made to the Ignition Interlock Unit of the MVA.  Reference a “Placement of a Restriction (#26200.04)” at the MVA.

Step 5: The Driver Wellness & Safety Division (DW&S) opens an Ignition Interlock Program case for the Driver

The MVA will verify that a restricted license was issued and verify that its registration is valid, then send a “welcome” letter explaining the interlock program to the driver. The letter will advise the IIP participant that the required participation period could be extended if the driver violates program rules or if other events occur after the driver enters the program.

Step 6: The driver takes the vehicle to the Ignition Interlock Service Provider at the end of each 30 day period

Every 30 days, the driver is required to visit the original interlock provider to download the previous month’s data.

Step 7: The Ignition Interlock Service Provider services the ignition interlock device and electronically reports information recorded by the device to the Driver Wellness & Safety Division (DW&S)

The reports prepared by the provider include:  driver and vehicle information; Any violations, including:                                                                

Step 8: The Driver Wellness & Safety Division (DW&S) monitors the driver during his/her required participation time

Violation reports are automatically generated based on the data received, and they are mailed to the participants. Failure to Appear (FTA) letters are automatically generated based on the data received, and they are mailed to the participants. Low start letters (fewer than 50 starts per month) are automatically generated based on the data received.

They are reviewed by a Case Manager to determine if it should be mailed to the participant. Fourth violation (removal) letters are automatically generated based on the data received.  They are reviewed by a Case Manager to determine if there have been 4 violations, and the person should be removed from the program.  In that case, the letter is mailed to the participant. Phone calls, emails and letters are received from participants appealing one or more violations.  A Case Manager reviews the information presented, and determines if the violation should be waived.  All decisions must be documented in case notes, and any documentation submitted should be scanned into DIWS.

Steps 6, 7, and 8 are repeated every 30 days throughout the period of the driver participation in the Ignition Interlock Program.

Step 9: The Driver Wellness & Safety Division (DW&S) removes the driver from the Ignition Interlock Program at the end of the required participation period

The driver goes to a service center on or after their last day of assignment to the interlock program for one final download of data.
In order to successfully complete the program, you may not have any of the following violations in the three months prior to completion:

If the data is clear, with no violations, a letter is generated to the driver that indicates that they can obtain an unrestricted license and have the ignition interlock device removed.

Step 10: The driver obtains an unrestricted driver’s license

The driver takes the letter to any MVA office and requests an unrestricted driver’s license. The driver then takes the letter from the Driver Wellness &b Safety to the Ignition Interlock Service Provider and has the device removed.

CDL and Drunk Driving Arrests in Maryland

If a person holds a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and was driving a non-commercial motor vehicle when stopped, and refuses to submit to a test, the CDL or privilege shall be disqualified for 1 year for a 1st offense or for life if the CDL or privilege has been previously disqualified for at least 1 year under Maryland Transportation Article §16-812 (a) or (b), a federal law, or any other state’s law. The Maryland DUI penalties while operating or holding a CDL can have serious affects on a driver’s ability to continue working.

If a driver was operating a commercial motor vehicle and the test result indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more, or if the drivers refuses to submit to a test, the commercial driver’s license or privilege shall be disqualified for a period of 1 year for a 1st offense, 3 years for a 1st offense committed while transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded, and disqualified for life if your commercial driver’s license has been previously disqualified for at least 1 year and/or you have incurred 2 offenses of Maryland Transportation Article §16-812 (a) or (b), a federal law, or any substantially similar offense(s) under any other state’s law.

MVA Points and DUI Convictions

If a driver is convicted and receives a guilty finding, the MVA will assess points to that driver’s record. Too many points can result in loss of a driving privilege in Maryland. Maryland DUI penalties can vary depending on the outcome, make sure you speak with an experienced DUI lawyer about those outcomes.

The following are the penalties for too many points in Maryland:

If a driver receives a PBJ (Probation before Judgment), then the MVA will not access points to the driver’s record.

How Many Points Are Assessed for a DUI or DWI Conviction in Maryland?

The following points will be assessed if a driver is convicted in Maryland. The Maryland DUI penalties for points assessed to a driver’s record are:

  1. 21-902 (a)(1) – 12 points;
  2. 21-902 (a)(2) – 12 points;
  3. 21-902 (a)(3) – 12 points;
  4. 21-902 (b)(1) – 8 points;
  5. 21-902 (b)(2) – 8 points;
  6. 21-902 (c)(1) – 8 points;
  7. 21-902 (c)(3) – 8 points;
  8. 21-902 (d)(1) – 12 points;
  9. 21-902 (d)(2) – 12 points;
  10. 21-902.1 – 8 points.

Maryland DUI Defense Lawyer

A DUI or DWI arrest can be scary and the thought of being exposed to the Maryland DUI penalties even scarier. The idea of losing your license or going to jail can be overwhelming. Contact the Maryland DUI lawyer Randolph Rice today at 410.288.2900 to schedule a consultation.

Randolph Rice is a former Assistant State’s Attorney and has been ranked by Super Lawyers, Avvo and Lead counsel as a 10 out of 10 Superb Lawyer. He has represented hundreds of individuals charged with DUI and DWI in Maryland.