If you are arrested for impaired driving, also called DWI or DUI in Maryland, you may face sanctions and penalties. If you are convicted of an impaired driving offense, you will face immediate administrative sanctions. You may also face additional criminal penalties and license sanctions. It is important to have an experienced lawyer represent you to defend you or to mitigate the potential punishment.
New! Important changes to Maryland’s drunk driving laws take effect on October 1, 2016. These changes include increased penalties and expansion of the Ignition Interlock Program. Click here for more information about the Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016 (Noah’s Law).
What happens if I fail a test or refuse to take the Test?
A police officer may stop you if he suspects you to be under the influence. He may request that you to submit to a field sobriety test or portable breath test.
If you take the test and are above the legal limit for alcohol (0.08 BAC), or refuse an officer’s request to submit to a chemical test for alcohol or drug use, you will be issued an Order of Suspension along with your traffic citation(s).
The police officer will confiscate your Maryland driver’s license and may issue you a 45-day temporary paper license.
What happens if I am convicted?
If you are convicted of an impaired driving offense, you face both criminal penalties and license sanctions.
If you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, or DUI in Maryland:
- For a first offense, you face up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. Twelve (12) points will be assessed on your driving record and your license may be revoked for up to six (6) months. You will be required to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program.
- For a second offense, you face a $2,000 fine and up to two years imprisonment (with a mandatory minimum of five days). Twelve (12) points will be assessed on your license and your license may be revoked for up to one year.
- You may be required to participate in an alcohol abuse assessment and program.
- An experienced attorney may be able to mitigate your penalties. He may defend the charge(s) or convince the Judge to reduce the charge. He may convince the judge to grant you a Probation before Judgment (meaning there will not be a conviction on your record) or impose less than the maximum sentence.
If you are convicted of Driving while Impaired by Alcohol, or DWI in Maryland:
- For a first offense, you face up to a $500 fine and up to two months imprisonment. Eight (8) points will be assessed on your driving record, and you face a 6-month license suspension. If you are under 21, you will face a 1-year suspension.
- For a second DWI offense, you face up to a $500 fine and up to one year imprisonment. Eight (8) points will be assessed on your driving record, and you face a license suspension of 9 to 12 months. If this conviction is the result of a driver under 21, you will face a 2-year suspension.
The penalties are substantially higher if you are transporting a minor at the time of the offense or for a third offense.
What if I am under age?
If you are under 21 and found to have purchased, possessed or consumed alcohol, you will face fines. The fine for your first offense is $500 and the fine is $1,000 for your second or subsequent offense.
Anyone under 21 who violates their alcohol restriction must automatically participate in the ignition interlock program or face suspension.
If you are under 21 and in possession of a fake ID, you face a fine of up to $500 and up to 2 months in prison. Twelve (12) points will be assessed on your driving record, and your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked.
If you sell fake IDs and are caught, you face fines of up to $2000 and up to two years in prison for each fake ID sold. You are also subject to prosecution for violating federal and homeland security laws.