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Maryland DUI Offenses

In the state of Maryland, there are four different types of drunk driving-related offenses:

Standards, Presumptions, Definitions: Generally

Furthermore, the term “drugs” and “controlled dangerous substances” are distinct, with the latter referring to Schedule I through Schedule V controlled substances. Section 5-101(f). Thus, “drugs” refers to substances that are not included in the federal DEA and FDA’s controlled substance Schedules I through V.

In the state of Maryland, it is considered to be a Per Se violation of driving under the influence of alcohol if the driver has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Section 2-501.

If a driver’s BAC is 0.05 or less, then the presumption will be that the driver is neither under the influence of alcohol nor impaired by alcohol. Section 10-307(3)(b).

If a driver’s BAC is higher than 0.05 but less than 0.07, then there will be no presumption based on the driver’s BAC (although the BAC may be used along with other competent evidence to come to a conclusion as to the driver’s state of impairment or lack thereof). Section 10-307(3)(c).

If a driver’s BAC is 0.07 or higher but less than 0.08, then it will be presumed that the driver was impaired by alcohol. Section 10-307(3)(d).

If a driver’s BAC is 0.02 or higher, then the BAC will be prima facie evidence that the driver was operating a motor vehicle with alcohol in his or her system. Section 10-307(e). This is significant because for drivers with an alcohol restriction, (see Section 16-113(b)(2)) such as drivers under the age of 21, having a BAC means violating that restriction. Section 10-307(f).

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Sections 2-501; 21-902(a); 27-101

In the state of Maryland, it is considered to be a Per Se violation of driving under the influence of alcohol if the driver has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Section 2-501.

It is illegal to drive or attempt to drive a motor vehicle when the driver is under the influence of alcohol. Section 21-902(a). It is a further violation to drive under the influence with a minor in the vehicle. Section 21-902(a)(3).

If a driver is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and it is the driver’s first offense, then the driver faces up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Section 27-101(k)(1)(i). However, if there was at least one minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the driver faces up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Section 27-101(q)(1)(i).

If a driver is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and the driver has a prior conviction of any drunk driving-related offense, then the driver faces up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Section 27-101(k)(1)(ii). If there was at least one minor in the vehicle at the time of the violation, then the driver faces up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $3,000. Section 27-101(q)(1)(ii).

If a driver is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and the driver has at least two prior convictions of any drunk driving-related offenses (from the list at the top of the page), then the driver faces up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $3,000. Section 27-101(k)(1)(iii). However, if there was at least one minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the driver faces the penalty of up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $4,000. Section 27-101(q)(1)(iii).

Mandatory Penalties

If an individual receives two convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol within a period of five years, the individual faces an additional mandatory minimum of five days in jail. Section 27-101(j)(2)(i).

If an individual receives three or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol within five years, then the individual faces a 10-day mandatory minimum jail sentence. Section 27-101(j)(2)(ii).

If an individual has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol within five years of having been convicted of any drunk driving-related violation, then the individual must:

  • Receive a comprehensive alcohol abuse assessment, and;
  • If recommended at the end of the assessment, participate in an alcohol program as order by the court. Section 27-101(j)(4).

Driving While Impaired By Alcohol and/or Any Drug(s) Sections 21-902(b); 21-902(c)

In the state of Maryland, it is also illegal to drive while the driver is impaired by alcohol. Section 21-902(b). It is a further violation to drive while impaired by alcohol while there is a minor in the vehicle. Section 21-902(b)(2).

It is also illegal for a driver to operate or attempt to operate a vehicle while impaired by drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. Section 21-902(c). Furthermore, it is a more serious violation for the driver to commit such an offense while there is at least one minor in the vehicle. Section 21-902(c)(3).

If a driver is guilty of driving while impaired by alcohol or driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcohol, then the driver faces penalties of a misdemeanor conviction and up to two months in jail and/or a fine of $500 or less. Section 27-101(c)(22)-(23).

If a driver is guilty of driving while impaired by alcohol or driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcohol with at least one prior conviction of any drunk-related offense (see list at top of page), then the driver faces up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $500 or less. Section 27-101(f)(ii).

If a driver is guilty of these charges while there is at least one minor in the vehicle and no prior convictions for drunk-related violations, then the driver faces up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Section 27-101(q)(2)(i).

If a driver is guilty of these charges while there is at least one minor in the vehicle and the driver has at least one prior conviction of a drunk driving-related offense, the driver faces up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Section 27-101(q)(2)(ii).

Driving While Impaired by Controlled Dangerous Substances Section 21-902(d)

According to state law, “controlled dangerous substances” include any Schedule I through Schedule V controlled substance. Section 5-101(f).

It is illegal for any person to drive or attempt to drive a motor vehicle while impaired by any controlled dangerous substance unless that person is entitled to use the controlled substance. Section 21-902(d)(1). It is a more serious violation if the driver has a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense. Section 21-902(d)(2).

If a driver is convicted of driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substances, and the driver has no prior convictions for drunk driving-related offenses, then the driver faces up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Section 27-101(k)(1)(i). If there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the driver would then face up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Section 27-101(q)(1)(i).

If a driver is convicted of driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substances and the driver has a prior conviction for any drunk driving-related offenses (see list at top of page), then the driver faces up to two years in prison and/or a fine of $2,000 or less. Section 27-101(k)(1)(ii). In addition, if there was at least one minor present in the vehicle at the time of the offense, then the driver faces increased penalties of up to three years in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $3,000. Section 27-101(q)(1)(ii).

If a driver is convicted of driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substances and the driver has at least two prior convictions for any DUI or DWI offenses, then the driver faces up to three years in prison and/or a fine of $3,000 or less. Section 27-101(k)(1)(iii). Once again, the penalties increase if there is a minor in the vehicle at the time of the violation– in this case to up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $4,000. Section 27-101(q)(1)(iii).

Mandatory Penalties Section 27-101(j)

If a driver is convicted of driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substances within five years of a prior conviction of any drunk driving offense, then the driver faces an additional five-day mandatory minimum jail sentence. Section 27-101(j)(3)(i).

If a driver is convicted of driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substances at least three times within five years, then the driver faces an additional 10-day mandatory minimum jail sentence. Section 27-101(j)(3)(ii).

If a driver is convicted of this violation twice within a period of five years, the driver faces additional penalties of:

  • A mandatory comprehensive drug abuse assessment, and;
  • If recommended at the end of the assessment, to participate in a drug program as ordered by the court. Section 27-101(j)(4).

MVA Penalties

In addition to criminal penalties for these convictions, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) imposes penalties of its own (see MVA website here).

When a person gets a Maryland driver’s license, the person is thereafter considered to have implied consent to any BAC testing lawfully conducted by law enforcement officers. A refusal to submit to testing has a penalty of an automatic 180-day driver’s license suspension the first time a person refuses. However, the second time a person refuses to submit to chemical testing, the penalty is a mandatory minimum one-year suspension of the person’s driver’s license.

Furthermore, the MVA will impose a 45-day license suspension for the first DUI offense, a 90-day license suspension for the second DUI offense, and total license revocation for the third DUI offense.

However, if the driver was found to have a BAC of 0.15 or higher, the penalties are a 90-day license suspension for the first offense, a 180-day suspension for the second offense, and total revocation for a third offense.

Drivers Under 21 Years of Age

If a driver under 21 is found with a BAC of 0.02 or higher, then the driver faces up to two months in jail and/or a fine of $500 or less, along with having driving privileges revoked or indefinitely suspended. Sections 27-101(c)(10); 16-113(b).