Maryland’s politicians are serious about cracking down on impaired driving. Each year they propose changes in the laws aimed at increasing the penalties for drunk and drugged driving.
In 2019, Maryland lawmakers increased the penalties for those with Baltimore, Ocean City and Maryland repeat DUI and DWI convictions. In 2016, they made changes to Maryland’s drunk driving laws that increased participation in the program requiring that a device be placed in a car that won’t allow the vehicle to start if the amount of alcohol detected in the driver’s breath measures more than a set level.
There are two basic drunk driving charges in Maryland – DUI and DWI. “DUI” stands for driving under the influence and “DWI” stands for driving while intoxicated. This blog post focuses on Baltimore, Ocean City and Maryland DWI penalties. Another blog post discusses Maryland DUI penalties.
A DWI is a lesser offense than a DUI. The difference stems from the amount of alcohol in your blood at the time you are pulled over by an officer who believes you are guilty of drunk or impaired driving.
If a police officer suspects that you are operating a vehicle while impaired, the officer will request that you submit to a field sobriety test or a portable breath test. A DWI can be charged when a driver’s blood alcohol is measured at .04% to .07%, DUIs start at .08%.
Maryland DWI penalties
Penalties for Ocean City, Baltimore and Maryland DWIs vary, depending on whether it is a first offense or a repeat offense. Obviously, penalties and fines increase in instances of repeat convictions.
A first offense DWI can result in a fine up to $500 and up to two months imprisonment, although jail time isn’t mandatory and rarely happens with a first offense. Eight points will be assessed on your driving record and you could get a 6-month license suspension.
For a second offense DWI, you face a fine up to $500 fine and up to one year in prison. Eight points will be assessed against your driving record and your license could be suspended for up to 12 months.
Penalties are higher for a third Maryland DWI charge or if the impaired driver is transporting a minor.
If your license is revoked because of a Baltimore, Ocean City, Maryland DWI, you must also complete an Alcohol Education Program before your license is reinstated or a restricted license is issued. There is a fee for the program of about a couple hundred dollars, it is offered by several providers around the state and can be completed online. You must also have an approved dealer install an Ignition Interlock Device. The driver has to blow into the device and, if the driver’s blood alcohol exceeds a set level, the car will not start.
An experienced attorney can help you with your Ocean City, Baltimore or Maryland DWI charge. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Maronick can help you to get the best possible result, sometimes a “probation before judgment” agreement is available, which is not a conviction. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 410-885-1775, the law office at 410.244.5068 or via the website for a free consultation.