Penalties for DUI and DWI in Maryland
Maryland DUI and DWI laws are codified in Section 21-902 of the Transportation Article of the Maryland Code. Section 21-902(a)(1) and Section 21-902(a)(2) prohibit Driving while Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI) and Driving while Under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se (DUI Per Se). The maximum penalty for a first violation of DUI or DUI Per Se is one year of incarceration and a $1,000 fine making it imperative you consult with a Maryland DUI lawyer if charged for driving under the influence.
Section 21-902(b) prohibits Driving While Impaired by Alcohol (DWI). In Maryland, this is a lesser offense than DUI or DUI Per Se. The maximum penalty for a first violation of DWI is 60 days of incarceration and a $500 fine. Once again, it is extremely rare for anyone convicted of a first offense to receive anything close to the maximum sentence.
If the state is able to prove that a person was operating a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, then that person is guilty of the crime of DUI Per Se. If a suspected DUI or DWI driver refuses to blow into the breathalyzer at the police station, then the state will attempt to prove either intoxication or impairment by other means – specifically driving behavior, performance on Standardized Field Sobriety tests, and other indicators of impairment or intoxication.
Section 27-101 of the Transportation Article of the Maryland Code imposes additional penalties for multiple offenders. If a person is convicted of a violation of DUI within five years of a prior conviction, there is a mandatory minimum five-day jail sentence imposed by this section. This section also increases the maximum penalty for a second DUI to two years of incarceration and a $2,000 fine. The maximum penalty for a third DUI is three years of incarceration and a $3,000 fine. The maximum penalty for a second or subsequent DWI is one year of incarceration and a $500 fine. As with first offenders, it is extremely rare for anyone convicted of DUI or DWI in Maryland to receive anything close to the maximum penalty allowed by law.
In addition to incarceration and fines, judges can order a person convicted of DUI or DWI to complete probation, community service, or home detention, or to attend a Victim Impact Panel (usually put on by Mothers Against Drunk Driving).
As a condition of probation, a person may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in a vehicle in order to be able to drive. Information regarding the program and penalties for tampering with ignition interlock devices can be found here.
Section 16-205 and Section 21-902
A conviction for a DUI or a DWI can trigger additional sanctions against a person’s driver’s license. Section 16-205 of the Transportation Article allows the MVA to suspend a person’s drivers license for a conviction of a violation of Section 21-902. The length of the suspension and the possibility of a modification of the suspension to allow limited driving depend on the precise charge that a person was convicted of and on that person’s criminal history.
Most first offenders in Maryland qualify for Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) under Section 6-220 of the Criminal Procedure article of the Maryland Code. A PBJ will keep the criminal conviction off a person’s record. This means that there are no further penalties against a person’s driver’s license, and his or her auto insurance rates are not affected. A PBJ is not considered a conviction under Maryland law.
Probation Before Judgment and Maryland DUIs
In certain instances, such as a first-time offense, you may be placed on probation prior to a judge’s ruling. This is beneficial in the sense that those who complete such probation programs will not retain a DUI charge or conviction on their record. If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI in the state of Maryland, the penalties of a conviction can have serious consequences for your livelihood. Many professionals and college students can be negatively impacted by a DUI charge, including the loss of a job, scholarship, or academic standing.