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Driving Under the Influence or While Impaired by Alcohol

Driving under the influence is illegal in Maryland, as it is elsewhere in the nation. If you are over the age of 21, you are considered to be under the influence if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher, as measured by chemical tests. Under Maryland’s implied consent law, if you refuse to submit to a chemical test when requested to do so by the police, you may be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension.

Maryland distinguishes between driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired by alcohol (DWI). The former is more serious than the latter.


The maximum penalty for a DWI is incarceration for 60 days, a $500 fine, and administrative license suspension for 6 months. To get your license reinstated you may have to complete an alcohol substance abuse treatment program. A judge is not required to impose the maximum penalty. Although there is no mandatory minimum period of incarceration, those convicted of DWI face an enhanced sentence of 6 months incarceration and a maximum fine of $2000 if transporting a minor when arrested.


On the other hand, if you have a BAC of .08 or higher, you can be convicted of a DUI or a DUI per se. The maximum penalty for these offenses is a $1000 fine and 1 year of incarceration.   as well as administrative license suspension of 6 months and certain stipulations related to reinstatement of your driver’s license. As with a DWI conviction, there is a sentence enhancement for DUIs if you were transporting a minor at the time you were arrested; specifically, you may be incarcerated for up to 2 years. Additionally, a DUI conviction places 12 points on your record, as opposed to the 8 points you receive with DWI conviction.

Additional DUI/DWI Consequences

First offenders in Maryland may qualify for Probation Before Judgment (PBJ), which allows the person’s record to remain clean of convictions. If a person is subject to PBJ, penalties are not imposed on the driver’s license, and the premiums for the driver’s automobile insurance stay the same.

On the other hand, convictions influence sentencing of future DUI/DWI charges for a 5-year period. For example, if you are convicted of a second DUI within 5 years of a prior conviction, you are subject to a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days, a maximum penalty of incarceration for two years, and a fine of $2000. If you are convicted of a third DUI within five years of prior convictions, the maximum penalty is incarceration for 3 years and a fine of $3000. 

Fines and incarceration are not the only possible consequences in the DUI/DWI context. Judges may also order community service, probation, and attendance at a Victim Impact Panel. Further, you may have your license suspended depending on the nature of the conviction and your criminal record. There are additional penalties possible as well, such as a requirement that you install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle in order to avoid getting your driver’s license suspended.

Lawyers who are knowledgeable about DUI/DWI offenses are sometimes able to get the penalties reduced or find procedural errors that can result in the charges against you being dropped. If you are facing a DUI/DWI charge, we recommend that you contact the experienced Maryland DUI Attorneys at the office of Anthony A. Fatemi, LLC right away. Call us at (301) 519-2801, or submit our online contact form today.

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