Maryland DWI Laws: FAQ

What is the legal drinking limit for driver’s under 21 in Maryland?

Maryland law states that no one under 21 may consume any alcohol. If a driver under age 21 has been drinking and their BAC level is .02 or more, the driver has violated this restriction and his or her license may be suspended or revoked. The driver may also face a fine of up to $500.

What are the terms for drunk driving offenses in Maryland?

A person arrested for drunk driving in Maryland can be charged with 2 different offenses: Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) or Driving While Intoxicated (“DWI”). The difference between the two is the driver’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Driving under the influence (DUI) is driving with a BAC between .04 and .08, while Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is driving with a BAC of .08 or higher. Accordingly, the penalties for a DWI are likely to be more severe than penalties for a DUI.

Should I take a Chemical Test when stopped for suspected DUI/DWI in Maryland?

Yes, unless you would like to be penalized. Signing a Maryland’s driver’s license or learner’s permit application form enters you into an agreement. It says that if you are detained by a police officer who suspects you’re driving or attempting to drive under the influence or intoxicated by alcohol an/or drugs, you agree to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine. This is called a Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC test.

What happens if I refuse a Chemical Breath, Blood, or Urine Test under Maryland law?

The penalty for violating this agreement is an automatic 120-day license suspension. If you are detained a second time, refusal to take the BAC test will result in an automatic one-year suspension of your driving privileges.

When is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) required after a DUI in Maryland?

As of October 1, 2011, an IID is Mandatory as a condition of modification of a license suspension or revocation of a license or the issuance of a restrictive license if the driver:

  • Is required to participate by a court order;
  • Is convicted of DWI  and had a BAC of 0.15 or greater;
  • Was convicted of another alcohol and/or drug-related driving offense within the past five years in addition to the current offense; or
  • Was younger than age 21 at the time of the offense.


Additionally, the IID will be installed for 6 months for a first qualifying conviction, 1 year for a second, and three years for a third or subsequent qualifying offense.

What are the penalties for DWI in Maryland?

Maryland’s DWI Penalties are as follows:

1st Offense:

  • Fine: As much as $500 (doubled if driving with a minor in vehicle),
  • Drivers License Suspension/Revocation: Mandatory 6 Months, and
  • Jail Time: 2 Months (6 if transporting minor).

2nd Offense:

  • Fine: As much as $500 ($2,000 if driving with a minor in vehicle),
  • Drivers License Suspension/Revocation: Mandatory 1 Year, and
  • Jail Time: Maximum 1 Year.

What are the penalties for DUI in Maryland?

Maryland’s DUI Penalties are as follows:
1st Offense:

  • Fine: As much as $1,000 ($2,000 if driving with a minor in vehicle),

  • Drivers License Suspension/Revocation: Mandatory 6 Months, and

  • Jail Time: Maximum 1 Year(2 if transporting minor).

2nd Offense:

  • Fine: As much as $2,000 ($3,000 if driving with a minor in vehicle),

  • Drivers License Suspension/Revocation: Mandatory 1 Year, and

  • Jail Time: Maximum 2 Years (3 if transporting minor).

3rd Offense:

  • Fine: As much as $3,000 ($4,000 if driving with a minor in vehicle),

  • Drivers License Suspension/Revocation: Mandatory 18 Months, and

  • Jail Time: Maximum 3 Years (4 if transporting minor).

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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