The penalties, based upon a first offense, for violating Maryland’s drunk driving laws are as follows:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol: $1,000.00 fine, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol per se: $1,000.00 fine, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol while transporting a minor: $2,000.00 fine, imprisonment for not more than two years, or both.

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol per se while transporting a minor: $2,000.00 fine, imprisonment for not more than two years, or both.

  • Driving or attempting to drive while impaired by alcohol: $500.00 fine, imprisonment for not more than two months, or both.

  • Driving while impaired by any drug, any combination of drugs, or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol that the driver cannot drive a vehicle safely: $500.00 fine, imprisonment for not more than two months, or both.

  • Driving or attempting to drive while impaired by alcohol while transporting a minor: $1,000.00 fine, imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

  • Driving while impaired by any drug, any combination of drugs, or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol that the driver cannot drive a vehicle safely while transporting a minor: $1,000.00 fine, imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

  • Driving or attempting to drive while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance: $1,000.00 fine, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

  • Driving or attempting to drive while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance while transporting a minor: $2,000.00 fine, imprisonment for not more than two years, or both.

Enhanced Penalties for Drunk Driving, Drugged Driving and DUI in Maryland

Additional enhanced penalties may be imposed for second or subsequent drunk or drugged driving offenses.

A driver who refused to submit to a breath test or a blood test also is subject to an additional penalty. If the court finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver knowingly refused to take a test arising out of the same circumstances as the violation, the driver is subject to a fine of $500.00, or imprisonment for not more than 2 months, or both.

Factors in Actual Sentences

The actual sentence imposed by a judge will depend upon the unique facts of each case, and the offender. Courts consider a wide variety of factors in fashioning an appropriate sentence or disposition. These are some of the factors considered:

  • The nature and circumstances of the offense.

  • Age of the offender.

  • Family circumstances.

  • Employment.

  • Education.

  • Prior criminal record.

  • Prior alcohol or drug related offenses.

  • Driving record.

  • The nature and extent of any alcohol or drug problem.

  • Efforts to obtain treatment for an alcohol or drug problem.

  • The prosecutor’s recommendation.

  • Aggravating factors.

An “aggravating factor" that might increase the sentence includes whether or not there was an accident, including the presence of injuries; abusive conduct at the time of the offense; an excessively high blood alcohol level (e.g. 0.20 or more); and any prior alcohol or drug related offenses. Most courts in Maryland routinely impose incarceration for second or subsequent drunk or drugged driving offenses.

Maryland judges often impose probation. The maximum period of probation in district court cases is three years. The maximum period of probation in circuit court cases is five years. Judges may and often do impose shorter periods than the maximum. Probation may be supervised or unsupervised. Probation typically involves certain “standard" conditions of probation, as well as “special" conditions of probation. Standard conditions of probation include the following:

  • Report as directed and follow the probation supervisor’s lawful instructions.

  • Payment of a monthly supervision fee.

  • Work or attend school regularly as directed.

  • Get permission before changing your home address, changing your job, leaving the State of Maryland, owning, possessing, using or having under your control any dangerous weapon or firearm of any description.

  • Obey all laws and incur no serious motor violation.

  • Notify your probation supervisor if charged with a criminal offense and/or jailable traffic offense.

  • Permit your probation supervisor to visit your home unannounced.

  • Do not illegally possess, use, or sell any narcotic drug, controlled substance or related paraphernalia.

  • Appear in court when notified to do so.

The court may also impose one or more special conditions of probation. Examples include the following:

  • Payment of all fines, costs, restitution, and fees as ordered by the court.

  • Totally abstain from alcohol and abusive use of any drug.

  • Submit to alcohol and other drug testing as directed by your probation supervisor and pay any required costs.

  • Completion of a designated number of hours of community service.

  • Submit to alcohol and drug evaluation, testing, and treatment as directed by your probation supervisor and pay any required costs.

  • Refrain from driving or attempting to drive after consuming alcohol.

  • Attending and successfully completing a drug treatment program and pay any required costs.

  • Attending and successfully completing an alcohol treatment program and pay any required costs.

  • Attendance at self-help group meetings (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous) weekly.

  • Obtaining an alcohol restriction on your driver’s license.

  • Attending a Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel Meeting.

  • Submit to evaluation and attend counseling for psychiatric or psychological treatment.

  • Attend and successfully complete the MVA Driver Improvement Program.

  • Installation of an ignition interlock.

Many judges have their own unique special conditions. For example, some judges will require the offender to read a book on drunk driving, and then write an essay applying the content of the book to the driver’s life.

Maryland judges have discretion to grant "probation before judgment." This involves a verdict of guilty, but the withholding of a formal conviction. If a judge were to grant probation before judgment, the offender is treated like any other convicted driver. However, no points will be imposed. There will, however, be a record on a confidential page of the driver’s Maryland driving record.

A drunk or drugged driving conviction may also cause additional consequences with the Motor Vehicle Administration. A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol will result in 12 points (and a basis for revocation). A conviction for driving while impaired by alcohol will result in 8 points (and a basis for suspension). After a conviction is reported to the MVA, the MVA computer automatically assesses the appropriate number of points on the Maryland driving record. Points are not imposed by the court, only by the MVA. Depending upon the number of points, the MVA will then issue a notice of suspension or a notice of revocation. It is important to note that these consequences are in addition to any suspension or other administrative sanction imposed at the initial administrative hearing for submitting to an alcohol test with the result of 0.08 or more, or refusal to submit to an alcohol test.