In addition to establishing a blood alcohol limit of .08 percent for driving under the influence (DUI), Maryland also establishes a baseline BAC of .07 percent for driving while impaired (DWI). A DUI implies driving or otherwise operating a vehicle when one’s normal coordination appears substantially impaired as determined by a police officer. A DWI is considered to be less severe than a DUI and DWI imply that the driver’s normal coordination appeared to be somewhat impaired. For minors under the age of 21 and commercial drivers, the penalties are even more severe. The BAC for minors is .02 percent and .04 percent for commercial drivers.
The Maryland Implied Consent law establishes that by virtue of applying for and obtaining a driver’s license, drivers suspected to be under the influence must consent to a chemical blood or urine test. If a driver refuses to consent to the test, his or her license may be suspended for no more than four months for a first refusal or one year for a second refusal. When a driver refuses, the burden falls upon the state to prove, through observational or testimonial evidence, that a driver’s normal coordination was substantially impaired as required for a DUI or somewhat impaired as required for a DWI.
First Offense Maryland DUI Penalties
A first-time offense for DUI carries a penalty of no more than one year in prison and a $1,000 fine or no more than two years and a $2,000 fine if a passenger was a minor child. In addition, one’s driver’s license may be suspended for six months. A first offense for DWI carries a prison sentence of up to two months and a $500 fine or up to six months and a $1,000 fine if a passenger was a minor child. In addition, the driver’s license is suspended for six months.
Second Offense Maryland DUI Penalties
A second offense for DUI carries a penalty of no more than two years, a $2,000 fine, and a one-year license suspension. In addition, a convicted driver may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed to ensure that he or she is able to pass a breathalyzer test before the car will start. A second offense for DWI carries a prison sentence of up to one year and a $1,000 fine.
The state of Maryland considers anyone who has been convicted of more than one offense of DUI within a five-year period, to be a repeat offender. A repeat offender will get a suspended license for one year followed by one year of restricted driving privileges. Under the one-year restriction, a convicted driver is required to maintain an ignition interlock device on all owned or co-owned vehicles. A convicted driver is required to pay the costs associated with installing and maintaining the device unless he or she is able to prove financial hardship.
For all subsequent offenses of DUI and DWI, the prison time increases by one year, the fine increases by $1,000, and the license suspension increases by one year. In addition, a judge may choose to have the convicted driver’s vehicle impounded for a time that is dependent upon the judge’s discretion.