Maryland Drunk Driving Laws

Maryland's New Drunk Driving Laws - Effective October 1, 2001

With pressure from MADD and the Washington Post, the Maryland legislature produced a .08 per se law and a law allowing refusals in evidence, effective October 1, 2001. Since there is no scientific evidence that all individuals are intoxicated at a .08, the legislature denominated the new .08 offense, under Transportation Article § 21-902 (a)(2), as well as the non per se offense of "driving while intoxicated" under Transportation Article § 21-902 (a)(1), as "driving under the influence of alcohol per se" and "driving under the influence of alcohol."   Prior to October 1, 2001, this offense required a test result of .10 or more.  This yet to be defined offense carries all the criminal and administrative penalties that previously attached to § 21-902(a)(1) when it required intoxication, which was defined as "substantial impairment" of normal coordination as a result of the consumption of alcohol. The lesser offense formerly, called "driving under the influence" under Transportation Article § 21-902(b), which requires some impairment, will now be called "driving while impaired." This bill becomes effective September 30, 2001.

Under the new legislation, a breath test of .08 or more will be considered per se under the influence.  A test result of .07 or more, but less than .08, will be prima facie evidence that the person is impaired by alcohol.  The other inferences and presumptions contained in Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, § 10-307 remain the same

The legislature also overruled Krauss v. State, 322 Md. 376, 587 A.2d 1102 (1991). Krauss held the State could not introduce evidence of the defendant's refusal to submit to a breath or blood test for alcohol since the statute authorizing the introduction of the evidence, Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, § 10-309, provided that "no inference or presumption regarding guilt or innocence arises because of a refusal to submit." The new statute, which becomes effective on October 1, 2001, removes that phrase. However the new law does not indicate exactly what the effect the jury may give the refusal.

Maryland's New Drunk Driving Laws - Effective September 30, 2002

In effect since September 2002, the Maryland legislature added enhanced penalties for repeat offenders.  As a result of House Bill 4/Senate Bill 352 a second conviction of driving under the influence in violation of § 21-902(a) within 5 years of a prior "a" conviction receives a mandatory one-year suspension of their driver's license or privileges.  There is no work permit or interlock restriction allowed for the one year.  Preceding the year the person is required to install an ignition interlock system on all vehicles they own for from 3 months to one year.  They are entitled to a hearing for an Administrative Law Judge to determine the length of the interlock restriction and whether there is financial hardship involved with installing an interlock on more than one car.

Additionally, a second "a" conviction within 5 years of the first carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 days incarceration or 30 days community service.  A third "a" conviction within 5 years carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days incarceration or 60 days community service.  Incarceration includes house arrest or in patient treatment.

Maryland Drunk Driving Charges and Penalties

Driving While Under the Influence (DUI)
.08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
Penalty - Maximum 1 year in Jail
Fine - Maximum $1,000
Points - 12

Driving While Under the Influence and Transporting a Minor
Penalty - 2 years in Jail
Fine - Maximum $2,000
Points - 12

Driving While Impaired (DWI) by Alcohol and/or Drugs
.07 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
Penalty - 60 Days in Jail
Fine - $500
Points - 8

Driving While Impaired and Transporting a Minor
Penalty - 6 months in Jail
Fine - $1,000
Points - 8

Manslaughter by Automobile - (Gross Negligence and Death Involved) - FELONY
Penalty - 10 years in Jail
Fine - $5,000
Points - 12

Homicide by Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence .08 BAC
Act of Negligence and Death Involved
Penalty - 5 years in Jail
Fine - $5,000
Points - 12

Homicide by Motor Vehicle While Impaired .07 BAC
Act of Negligence and Death Involved
Penalty - 3 years in Jail
Fine - $5,000
Points - 12

Revised December 17, 2003

 

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