Maryland uses strict laws to prohibit driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. People who are arrested for committing this crime can face punishments ranging from loss of driving privileges to jail terms.
Drivers in Maryland can avoid getting a DUI by knowing at what limits that the state sets for blood alcohol content levels. They can also benefit by being aware of what legal and civil punishments await those who are convicted of DUI in Maryland.
BAC Limits in Maryland
Maryland establishes different categories for blood alcohol contents or BACs for drivers in the state. The per se BAC limit for drivers who are 21 and older and operate privately owned vehicles is higher than 0.08 percent. Driver who are found to have BACs higher than this limit can be arrested for DUI.
Underage drivers, those younger than 21, are not supposed to have any alcohol or drugs in their systems while driving. The legal allowable limit for drivers in this age category is 0.02 percent. Young drivers with BACs higher than 0.02 can be arrested for and charged with a DUI.
Commercial drivers also are held to a different BAC limit because of the risk that their vehicles pose to the public. To keep other motorists, pedestrians and others in the general public safe, the state imposes a BAC limit of 0.04 percent for commercial drivers. They must keep their BACs at or below this limit to avoid being arrested for DUI in Maryland.
The state also allows for circumstances that merit a DUI being charged as an aggravated infraction. These criteria for aggravated DUI include:
- Engaging in extremely reckless behavior
- Having an excess amount of alcohol in one’s blood
- Transporting a minor while driving under the influence
- Causing an accident that results in serious bodily harm or death
- Being a repeat DUI offender
An aggravated DUI is met with harsher legal penalties than standard DUIs in Maryland.
DUI Penalties in Maryland
The penalties for DUI in Maryland vary according to the number of prior offenses and the severity of the damage inflicted during the incidence. A first-time DUI offender can get penalties like:
- Up to one year in jail
- A fine of up to $1000
- Up to six months’ license suspension
A second DUI in Maryland can result in up to two years in jail, a fine of $2000, and a license suspension of up to nine months. A third DUI in Maryland can be punished with a five-year jail term, a $5000 fine and a 12-month license suspension.
An aggravated DUI in Maryland merits penalties like:
- A minimum six-month license suspension
- A fine of $500 to $1000
- One year in jail
- Mandatory ignition interlock device or IID on the offender’s car
- Mandatory alcohol or drug rehabilitation counseling
For the purposes of determining a person’s license suspension period in Maryland, his or her prior DUI convictions will not be counted if they took place more than five years ago.
Underage DUI Penalties in Maryland
Maryland has a zero-tolerance law for underage drinking and driving. Drivers under the age of 21 cannot have a BAC of more than 0.02 percent. If they do, they face consequences like a jail term of one year and a fine of $1000. They can also get 12 points on their driving record.
In truth, most first-time underage DUI offenders in Maryland do not incur jail time or points on their driving record. However, they do commonly have to pay a $500 fine.
Implied Consent Laws in Maryland
Maryland has an implied consent law that requires drivers to provide blood, urine or breath samples to determine their BAC levels. They give consent in exchange for their driving privileges in the state.
If they refuse, drivers can have their licenses seized by the arresting officer and have a temporary 10-day license issued in its place. The officer must file his report with the motor vehicle administration, and the driver must request an administrative hearing within 10 days.
A first-time refusal to comply with chemical testing can also result in a loss of one’s license for 270 days. A second refusal can result in a loss of the license for up to two years if the first refusal took place within five years.
Ignition Interlock Device Program and Hardship Licenses
Maryland requires certain DUI offenders to use IIDs on their vehicles. In particular, this device is required for:
- Drivers charged with alcohol-related DUIs
- Drivers who were arrested for DUI with a passenger under 16 in the car
- DUI offenders under the age of 21
- DUI offenders who have prior DUIs within five years on their records
People who are ordered to use IIDs and have their licenses suspended can ask the state to issue them hardship licenses with limitations. The criteria for getting a hardship license include:
- Completing 180 days with an IID if arrested for DUI with a BAC of 0.08 to 0.14 percent
- Completing one year with an IID if arrested for DUI with a BAC of 0.15 or higher
- Completing one year with an IID if arrested for DUI for refusing a chemical test
Drivers who had BACs of less than 0.15 percent can also request a hardship license during their suspension period.
Driving under the influence is a significant crime in Maryland. To dissuade drivers from engaging in this behavior, the state uses a variety of DUI laws that set the legal limits for blood alcohol content levels. People found to be driving with BACs higher than the established limits can be arrested for and charged with DUI and incur a variety of penalties ranging from civil fines, jail time and loss of their drivers’ license.