Everything You Need to Know About Maryland DWI Laws


Maryland’s DWI laws place strict penalties on those who violate them. Learn more in this comprehensive overview.

Maryland DWI Laws


The state of Maryland makes it illegal to drink and drive. If you drink and drive, you could be arrested, fined, and/or imprisoned. There are two categories of drinking and driving offenses in Maryland.

The first and most serious infraction is driving while intoxicated (DWI). A person is considered to be under the influence of alcohol if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or above.


New Maryland DUI Laws

Previously, the approximate punishment in Maryland for offenders convicted of traffic crashes deaths caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs was zero to five years.

Law enforcement authorities around the country have made catching drunk drivers a priority, not just in Maryland. As a result, drunk drivers should know that an arrest will almost certainly result in drastic criminal penalties.

The new Maryland law imposes a harsher “three strikes” penalty for DUI offenders, as well as harsher maximum punishments (10 years in prison or a $10,000 fine) for:

  • Drivers found guilty of drunk or drugged driving three times
  • A five-year prison sentence for a driver’s first conviction of vehicular homicide (including watercraft)
  • Doubling maximum jail sentences for drivers prosecuted of driving while intoxicated while transporting minors

As you can see, the criminal penalties in Maryland for DWI and DUI vary greatly based on the specific amount of alcohol in your system. These blood alcohol concentration regulatory limitations are difficult to grasp. Many people get into problems with the law because they don’t comprehend the facts.

If you face a DWI or DUI conviction in Maryland, it’s best to contact a professional DWI lawyer. At Scrofano Law, we can help drivers facing DWI allegations avoid increased penalties or have their charges dropped completely.

If it’s your first offense, you have a high chance of undergoing an easier trial. Contact us at 202-765-3175 for a consultation on your case, and learn more about Maryland’s new DWI laws.

Maryland DUI Limit


Driving under the influence of alcohol is considered a Per Se DUI offense in the state of Maryland if the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater.

Driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is unlawful. Driving under the influence with a minor in the car is a separate offense. If a driver is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol for the first time, the driver risks up to one year of jail time or a $1,000 fine.

Suppose a driver is charged with driving while intoxicated and has a previous conviction for a drunk driving-related offense. In that case, the driver risks up to two years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. If there was at least one child in the car at the time of the infraction, then the driver risks up to three years in jail and/or a fine of up to $3,000.

Let’s speculate that a driver is convicted of driving while intoxicated and has at least two prior DUI convictions for any drunk driving-related violation (from the list at the top of the page). In that case, the driver risks up to three years in incarceration and/or a fine of up to $3,000. If there was at least one kid in the car at the time of the incident, the driver faces up to four years in jail and/or a $4,000 fine.


Legal Alcohol Limit in MD

The vast majority of DUI suspects have blood alcohol levels above .08. However, many people are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol with blood alcohol concentrations below .08. Keep in mind that various alcohol restrictions apply in Maryland based on your blood alcohol level, .08 or higher, between .07 and .08, or between .06 and .07.

If you have an alcohol content of .08 or above, you are legally regarded to be under the influence of alcohol. The most severe type of DUI is Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, which indicates that the alcohol has significantly impacted your usual coordination.

If your blood alcohol content is between .07 and less than .08, the law states that you are highly likely to be impaired. Although not as bad as driving while intoxicated, driving while impaired is nonetheless a punishable DUI offense. Being affected by alcohol implies that the alcohol you drank has interfered with your natural coordination to some level.

You are not deemed to be under the influence if your blood alcohol level is more than .05 but less than .07. Your blood alcohol level, however, can still be investigated as evidence in the case, and you can still be ruled to be intoxicated and even under the influence.

Maryland DWI Penalties


If a person is convicted of driving under the influence twice in five years, they risk an extra required minimum of five days in jail. Suppose a person is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol three times in five years. In that case, they risk a 10-day statutory minimum jail term. If a person is convicted of driving under the influence within five years of being convicted of any drunk driving offense, the person must:

Receive a thorough alcohol misuse evaluation. If indicated after the exam, participate in an alcohol treatment as ordered by the court.


How Long Do Alcohol Charges Stay on Your Driving Record?


Any driver convicted of a DUI or DWI will have “points” added to their record by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. Points are recorded on the driver’s record for two years. A driver who is convicted of DWI will lose 8 points on their license, making a driver’s license suspension likely.

A driver guilty of DUI will lose 12 points on their driver’s license, making license revocation likely. Administrative fines may be imposed by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). 

Suppose the driver fails or refuses a test. In that case, the officer is expected to confiscate the driver’s license (which is then suspended for 12 hours), issue a temporary license, and report the results to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).

When to Hire a Maryland DUI Defense Lawyer


Suppose a driver is caught for impaired driving in Maryland. In that case, they face immediate administrative fines and subsequent criminal penalties and license suspension if convicted. 

When searching for an experienced Maryland DWI lawyer, it is critical to examine several criteria. However, the attorney’s expertise in the practice area and knowledge of the subtleties of the Maryland criminal justice system are two of the most important.

Without first-hand experience, it isn’t easy to truly comprehend the expertise and knowledge of the local legal system. When you pick a local attorney who has successfully handled cases in court, you know you’ve chosen someone who knows the process and can utilize that experience to craft a solid defense for you.

What Are the Repeat Offender Laws for DUI in Maryland?


A repeat offender risks considerably harsher penalties since the maximum jail sentence for DUI with one prior conviction is two years. For DWI, it is one year. Fines and driver’s license suspension times rise, and obligatory jail time is possible if the past crime happened within five years of the present violation. 

The penalties for a second offense have not altered in recent years. Still, the legislature has addressed penalizing persons with two or more prior convictions for DUI, DWI, or other drunk driving offenses impaired by alcohol in another state. 

If you have two prior convictions and are charged with DWI or DUI, you may face up to 5 years in jail. Under this rule, probation before judgment, or PBJ, does not count as a conviction. If a person has three prior convictions for drunk or impaired driving, they risk up to ten years in prison if charged with a fourth DUI or DWI. 

Anyone with a criminal conviction for homicide by car or vessel while under the influence of alcohol or controlled dangerous substance faces a 10-year maximum sentence. Suppose a person is convicted of inflicting life-threatening harm via motor vehicle or vessel while impaired or under the influence. In that case, they risk up to ten years in prison if charged with DUI or DWI again.

No one want’s to lose their driver’s license, but a drunk driving offense will have some repercussions on your normal life nonetheless. To get the best results when faced with a DWI conviction, or DUI, it is best to contact a professional lawyer to represent you and fight for your case. 

Paolo Gnocchi of Scrofano Law is well-equipped to help you in restoring your freedom if you face criminal charges or allegations. Get the proper defense by contacting our law firm at 202-765-3175! Call us today to receive a consultation on your case.

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