According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, impaired drivers have accounted for roughly one-third of all roadway deaths in Maryland over the past five years. The tragedy is that every 58 hours a person in Maryland is killed by a drunk driver. On average statewide, there are 7,884 impaired driving crashes, resulting in 171 fatalities and 4,026 injuries every year.
Maryland DUI Laws include BAC limits, administrative license suspensions, Ignition Interlock Device requirements, and more.
Two types of offenses
In Maryland, there are two primary types of impaired driving offenses, which involve drivers who operate vehicles with illegal blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) or whose abilities are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs.
The first, driving under the influence (DUI), is a .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or above. With this .08 BAC, Maryland considers you to be under the influence of alcohol “per se”. That means the state wouldn’t have to show other evidence of your drinking, such as the smell of alcohol on your breathe or your failure of the field sobriety tests. A driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs (DWI) is a less severe crime, with a lower BAC limit of .07.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI): this is the offense of operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher. This is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1000 fine for a first offense, along with a 6 month driver’s license revocation.
- Driving while impaired by alcohol (DWI): this offense is operating a motor vehicle while one’s abilities are impaired by alcohol, even if a BAC test shows that it is below the legal limit. A DWI is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to 2 months in jail, along with a 6 month license suspension.
Commercial drivers are held to a higher standard when it comes to drinking and driving. The BAC limit for a commercial driver is .04%.
Underage DUIs in Maryland
Maryland has what is called a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drinking and driving. Therefore, if an underage driver drank at all, even if he or she wasn’t drunk, the underage drinker would still get a DUI charge. If a driver is under 21 (the legal drinking age in Maryland), the maximum BAC is .02%.
What if you refuse to take a chemical test in Maryland?
Maryland has an implied consent law. What this means is that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension.
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A DUI or DWI conviction can have a far-reaching impact on any driver’s life. An experienced DUI defense attorney can often make a significant difference in the case. Contact us today to explore your options.