DUI in Maryland

Unlike most other states, the state of Maryland makes a clear distinction between the offenses of DUI and DWI.  Maryland defines driving under the influence (DUI) as a driver operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or greater.  This is the legal limit across the country and is an arrestable offense.  Most states would grant some leeway for individuals pulled over with a level just under this legal limit.  Maryland, however, does not.  If someone is caught driving with a BAC of .07 percent, they will be arrested for DWI, driving while impaired. Both offenses carry harsh punishments.

A Maryland driver can be arrested for the following drunk driving offenses:

  • Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC)of between .07to .079 - DWI offense
  • Driving with a BAC of .08 or greater - DUI offense
  • Driving while impaired by the use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Driving impaired by the use of a controlled substance


Maryland DUI Penalties

Court Fines Potential Jail Time License Suspension
1st Conviction Up to $1,000 Up to 1 year Minimum 45 days
2nd Conviction Up to $2,000 Up to 2 year Minimum of 1 year
3rd Conviction Up to $3,000 Up to 3 year Minimum 18 months

Punishments for DUI and DWI

There are two separate sets of penalties for DUI and DWI convictions.  Punishments for DUI are generally more severe and consist of up to a year in jail, fines up to $1,000, and license suspension of at least 45 days for a first offense.  A second conviction will bring potential jail time of up to 2 years, fines up to $2,000, and license suspension of at least 1 year.

Though a lesser charge, a first conviction of DWI could still bring about penalties of license suspension (up to 60 days), 8 points on a driver's record, a $500 fine, and possible jail time of two months.  Penalties increase to a possible 1 year jail sentence and another $500 fine for a second conviction.

Talking to an attorney can help you understand the possible consequences of a DUI arrest and can advise you on actions you can take to mitigate punishment.

Chemical Testing and Implied Consent Laws

Under Maryland state law, any licensed person operating a motor vehicle automatically gives his or her consent to an approved test (blood, breath, or urine) for the purposes of showing intoxication.  Test refusal will result in license suspension of up to one year.

Breath and blood tests must be performed by a qualified individual other than the arresting officer.  Only approved equipment can be used.  A driver can also request a second, independent chemical test at his or her own expense.

Administrative Hearing

A driver arrested for DUI or DWI has 10 days from date of arrest to request a hearing with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.  Failure to do so will result in automatic license suspension.

Drivers from Outside of Maryland

If you are not a resident of Maryland when you are caught driving under the influence, then you will still have your license revoked in your home state as Maryland is part of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact.  This network allows the 45 states that are members to share information about those people who have been convicted of a DUI.  This gives states the ability to govern drivers' drunk driving offenses from outside their jurisdiction.  If you are charged with a DUI or DWI in Maryland, you will face the consequences once you return to your home state.

NOLODRUPAL-web1:DRU1.6.12.2.20161011.41205