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Maryland drunk driving laws

Maryland's laws for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) can be confusing. Do you have to take a breath test or field sobriety test? What happens if you refuse? What are the penalties for first offense DUI? How much larger are the penalties for second offense DUI? What is a felony DUI?

Breathalyzer and field sobriety tests

When an officer pulls you over on suspicion of drunk driving, he or she may ask you to take a field sobriety test or a blood alcohol concentration test (BAC) to determine how much alcohol is present in your blood. You may refuse to submit to these tests. If you refuse, however, your license will be automatically suspended. For a first offense, your license will be suspended for 120 days. A second offense increases the license suspension penalty to one year.

Refusing to take a blood alcohol test is much drearier for commercial truck drivers whose CDLs can be suspended for one year for a first refusal and for life for a second refusal.

DUI and DWI penalties in Maryland

Driving under the influence of alcohol carries the following penalties in Maryland:

  • First DUI offense (.08 or higher): Up to one year in jail, $1,000 fine, 12 points on your license and license revocation for up to six months.
  • First DWI offense (.07 or higher): Up to two months imprisonment, $500 fine, 8 points on your license and license suspension for up to 60 days
  • Second DUI offense (.08 or higher): Up to two years in prison, $2,000 fine, 12 points on your license, license revocation for one year, mandatory participation in alcohol abuse program, and potential installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Second DWI offense (.07 or higher): Up to one year in prison, $500 fine, 9 points on your license and license suspension for 120 days

If you are accused of a third offense DUI or you were transporting a minor at the time you were pulled over for DUI, you can face felony charges.

The penalties for DUI and DWI in Maryland are not light. If you face DUI charges, take action immediately to defend against them.

Source: Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration, "Maryland Impaired Driving Laws," last accessed Nov. 1, 2013

Learn more about defending against DUI/DWI charges by visiting our pages on drunk driving defense.

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