DUI Laws in Maryland

Learn the key facts about DUI in Maryland.

In Maryland, you can get a DUI (driving under the influence) if you drive or are in physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, regardless of whether your driving ability was actually impaired. However, you can also get a DUI for driving or being in physical control of a vehicle while “substantially impaired” by alcohol. And even if you aren’t substantially impaired, you can get a DWI (driving while impaired) if alcohol has at least affected your “normal coordination.” In Maryland, the penalties for a DWI are less serious than those for a DUI.

Similarly, Maryland law prohibits driving or being in physical control of a vehicle while impaired by drugs.

And the law in Maryland says that if you’re driving a vehicle, you’ve given consent to submit to a chemical test for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol or drugs in your blood. Here are some details on the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test in Maryland and other details about Maryland DUI law.

In Maryland, what are the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test (usually a breathalyzer or blood test) when suspected of DUI?

Here are the consequences for not taking a breathalyzer or blood test in Maryland, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

120 day license suspension

1 year license suspension

1 year license suspension

 

If you refuse chemical testing and are ultimately convicted of a DUI or DWI, the judge can impose additional penalties based on your refusal—these additional penalties can include up to $500 in fines and a maximum of two months additional jail time.  

In Maryland, when do police have to measure your BAC?

In Maryland, law enforcement officers are supposed to measure your BAC within two hours of your arrest (four hours if testing for the amount of drugs in your blood). However, prosecutors may be able to prove your culpability for DUI even if your BAC is taken later than this time.

What is the maximum BAC for drivers under 21 in Maryland?

In Maryland, the maximum BAC for drivers who are under 21 (considered minors under some drinking and driving laws) is .02%.

What are the minimum jail times for a DUI in Maryland?

Here are the minimum jail times for a DUI in Maryland, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

No minimum jail term required

5 days jail

10 days jail

 

How long will prior DUI convictions remain relevant for sentencing purposes in Maryland?

In Maryland, prior DUI convictions stay on your record (and can be counted against you when you are being sentenced for another DUI/DWI offense) for five years.

Can a DUI be “pleaded down” to a "wet reckless" in Maryland?

A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a DUI charge is reduced to reckless driving. Maryland has no law prohibiting plea bargains in DUI cases. So, depending on the circumstances of your case, it might be possible for a lawyer to plead your DUI down to a reckless driving charge.

If you are interested in contacting a lawyer, you can find a DUI lawyer in your area in Nolo's Lawyer Directory.

Are ignition interlock devices (IIDs) required for convicted DUI offenders in Maryland?

It's within the court's discretion to require an IID for any conviction (including first offenses).

Where can I get more information about DUI laws in Maryland?

Nolo's DUI/DWI topic has many helpful articles, including a Drunk Driving, DUI, and DWI FAQ. For more help after a DUI arrest, see Nolo's Lawyer Directory, where you can view in-depth profiles of Maryland DUI attorneys in your area.

Last updated on 3/8/2016.

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