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Maryland DWI OWI Penalties

Maryland DWI laws are fairly complex. This is due in part to the fact that there are two different drunk driving laws in the state, and each carries separate penalties.

The first and more serious violation is known as driving under the influence, DUI or per se DUI in Maryland. This means you were operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level past the legal limit, which is anything equal to or greater than .08 percent.

The second offense is known as operating while impaired (OWI) or driving while impaired (DWI) in Maryland. This means that although your blood-alcohol content may not have exceeded the legal limit, your driving was impaired enough by alcohol to warrant criminal charges.

If you find yourself charged with either DUI or OWI in Maryland, you will want to rely on the advice of a Maryland DUI lawyer. An area lawyer versed in Maryland's drunk driving laws will be able to help you understand your available defenses and the possible penalties you face.

Penalties for Maryland DUI

Under Maryland DUI law, per se DUI is a more serious offense than operating while intoxicated. For this reason, driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or above warrants more severe penalties.

The severity of these penalties will vary depending on a number of factors, including how many prior drunk driving convictions you have on your record, as well as whether a minor was in the car at the time of your arrest.

For a first-time conviction, you may face:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • Suspension of your driver's license for at least six months

If transporting a minor when arrested, you may face jail time of up to two years, as well as fines of up to $2,000.

Second-time offenders face increased penalties, such as:

  • Up to two years in jail
  • Fines of up to $2,000
  • Suspension of your license for a year if the second conviction occurred within five years of the first conviction
  • The possible installation of an ignition interlock device

If you had a minor in the car the time of your second arrest, you may face up to three years in jail and fines of up to $3,000.

Third-time offenders are punished even more harshly. The following punishments may be applied if you are convicted of DUI in Maryland for a third time:

  • Up to three years in jail
  • Fines of up to $3,000
  • Suspension of your license for a minimum of 18 months

Once again, if a minor is in the car at the time of arrest, you may face harsher penalties, such as up to four years in jail and fines up to $4,000.

A fourth DUI offense may be counted as a felony DUI in Maryland. A felony is a much more serious crime than the usual DUI charge, which under most circumstances is a misdemeanor. If you have been convicted of DUI for a fourth time, you will want to consult with an experienced Maryland DUI attorney.

Penalties for Maryland DWI

A Maryland DWI is a less serious crime than a DUI. However, it still can carry potentially serious penalties. Like DUI laws, if you are caught transporting a minor when committing DWI, your penalties will increase.

The possible penalties for a first-time offender of Maryland DWI law include:

  • Jail time for up to two months
  • Fines of up to $500
  • License suspension for at least six months

If you are caught with a minor in your car, your jail time could increase to up to six months and your fines could max out at $1,000.

For second-time Maryland DWI offenders, the penalties include:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Fines of up to $500
  • Suspension of your driver's license for at least a year

If a minor is in your car on the second arrest, you will face up additional fines of up to $2,000.

As with DUI charges, Maryland DWI charges continue to escalate with each new conviction.