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Mistakes can be made every day – but some mistakes are a lot more serious than others.

For example, DUI convictions can have serious repercussions on your personal and professional life. They can drain your bank account through fines and fees, kill your transportation through license suspension, and even put your job in jeopardy.

If you’re facing a potential DUI charge, then you should know the possible penalties – and the potential ways to get back to life as it should be.

When it comes to Maryland DUI penalties:

  • No matter the degree of the offense, the first offense will always be the least strict in terms of sentencing – but will be considered for five years if you get another.
  • If you get your license suspended, you will get a Notice of Suspension and will have to turn in your driver’s license – though an ignition interlock can possibly help avoid that.
  • Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) uses a point system to determine how punishments are made, based on previous records. As a result, judges’ hands are often tied and are not able to circumvent laws for good drivers who made a mistake.

Maryland DUI Penalties: No License, Big Fines, and More

A DUI can cost you more than just money. It can cost you your freedom and driver’s license. The road through license suspension is a longer one. But you can shorten the process – if you move quickly.

DUI License Suspension

From your first offense, you start a five-year cycle. If you get convicted of another DUI within those five years, it is counted as a second offense.

For a first offense:

  • If your BAC was above 0.08%, you will lose your license for 180 days.
  • Refusing to take a test means you will lose your license for 270 days.

For a second offense:

  • You will lose your license again for a typically longer period of time than the first.
  • If you refuse to take a test for a second time in five years, the penalty is a minimum 2 year suspension.

Other reasons:

  • Anyone under the age of 21 with a BAC over 0.02% will receive a 6 month suspension.

DUI Fines and Jail Time

Along with losing your license, expect to be fined and potentially face jail time.

Drunk driving offenses in Maryland can cost you money and freedom. Fines and jail time range from $500 and two-months jail time, to $5,000 and five years in jail.


Maryland MVA’s Points System and DUI Conviction

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will assign points to any driver that has a record of a DUI or a DWI. The points stay on your record for 2 years minimum.

  • 8-11 points = license suspended for a set period of time
  • 12+ points = license revoked and you must reapply for a new one after a waiting period of

For commercial driver’s licenses (CDL), a first offense of a DUI of any proportion may result in 12-month suspension, while a second offense may result in up to five years suspension. Even if someone with a CDL is not operating a vehicle from or on their workplace, it may still count against their professional license.

Maryland DUI Penalty Chart

1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense
Jail Up to 1 year Up to 2 years Up to 5 years
Fines Up to $1,000 Up to $2,000 Up to $5,000
License Suspension Up to 6 months Up to 9 months Up to 12 months

H/T Maryland DUI Driving Laws


How to Avoid License Suspension After DUI

Judges will make most of the decisions concerning your DUI punishment. While judges can make changes, keep in mind that Maryland law is pretty cut-and-dry in terms of how DUI cases are ruled.

In other words, judges cannot bend the law for good drivers who make genuine mistakes. Maryland law is unapologetically equal for every Maryland citizen.

However, Maryland does allow basically “accident forgiveness” for good drivers who had a bad night or made an honest mistake.

For first offenders only, in Maryland you can appeal the regular hearing process to either get your license back, receive a temporary license, or change the sentence to pay for an ignition interlock system.

By filing for an appeal within 10 days of your incident, you are eligible for an appeal hearing within 30 days of your arrest. If you file for an appeal 11-30 days after your incident, you are eligible for an appeal hearing within 45 days.

Keep in mind that just because you file for an appeal, it does not mean that you are granted a limited license suspension. Only if you are able to prove that it was a unique circumstance or you have a crystal-clear driving record, then you are more likely to have your license suspension limited. (A good traffic lawyer can help with that.)

Another option that keeps your ability to drive despite a DUI is an ignition interlock device (IID).

An IID is a device that attaches to your ignition on your car. To start your car, you must take a breathalyzer test. If you’re sober, then the car starts without an issue.

However, anytime you blow into a device and it senses that your BAC is above 0.02%, the device will automatically report to your Maryland district court that you have violated your agreement with the state of Maryland to not drink during the program. This violation may have grave consequences.

Considering a CDL, your livelihood is dependent on your ability to drive. Even while driving a personal vehicle, a DUI can make it hard to find work. Consider hiring a lawyer, as it may be your best option in navigating through potential loss of employment.

Life After Getting a DUI

While Maryland laws punishing driving while intoxicated can be pretty strict, the state still can forgive an honest mistake – if it believes your case.

Your best option moving forward is to retain a traffic lawyer to argue your side of the case and explain to the state how a momentary mistake should not wreck your entire life.

We offer free initial consultations if you’d like to see how we’d handle your case. Just make sure you request that hearing within 10 days after the DUI, and then immediately retain a good Firm!