Maryland Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Maryland?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration is .04 percent or greater. In Maryland, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is
    .02 or more.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Maryland

  • First-time offenders face a term of imprisonment of up to one year, payment of a fine of up to $1,000, or both. The driver’s license suspension period for a first-time offender whose BAC was .08 but less than .15 is 45 days. The suspension period for a first-time offender whose BAC was .15 or greater is 90 days.
  • A person who commits a second violation within five years of the first offense faces a term of imprisonment of up to two years, payment of a fine of up to $2,000, or both. The driver’s license suspension period for second and subsequent offenders whose BAC was .08 but less than .15 is 90 days. The suspension period for second and subsequent offenders whose BAC was .15 or greater is 180 days. A person who commits two or more DUIs in a five-year period will be required to use an ignition interlock device for three years.
  • Those who commit a third or subsequent offense within a five-year period face a term of imprisonment of up to three years, payment of a fine of up to $3,000, or both. These offenders will also be required to use an ignition interlock system for three years.

Ignition Interlock

In addition to other penalties associated with Maryland’s DUI laws, a judge may prohibit any person convicted of DUI from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system for up to three years. Use of an ignition interlock system for a three-year period is mandatory for offenders who commit two or more DUIs within a five-year period.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with Maryland’s DUI laws, a commercial driver who commits a first DUI while driving any vehicle will be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle for one year. If, however, the offender was driving a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials at the time, the disqualification period is three years. If the driver commits a second DUI, the driver will lose his or her commercial license for life, which may or may not be reduced to a period of 10 years.

Drivers Under 21

In addition to other penalties that may apply, a driver under 21 who is convicted of DUI may be required to participate in Maryland’s Ignition Interlock System Program for up to three years.

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Dram Shop

There is no Dram Shop Act in Maryland.

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Illegal Sales of Alcohol to Minors and Intoxicated Persons

It is crime to sell alcohol to a minor. Generally, a violation of this state law subjects the offender to a term of imprisonment of up to two years, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Requirements for conviction, as well as penalties, may vary, however, depending on the county in which the violation occurred. Additionally, in certain counties, it is a crime to sell alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

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Please note: All of our lawyers are licensed to practice in the state of Pennsylvania. We also have lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio, and West Virginia and we associate with experienced attorneys in other states.

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