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Legal Penalties for a DUI/DWI

DUI/DWI? Know Your Rights.

Being charged with a DUI or a DWI can have a catastrophic effect on your livelihood and your future. The penalties are serious, but before you panic, call on a Maryland DUI lawyer to take a look at your case and help you. You may be able to avoid certain penalties or have your charges reduced based on a wide variety of factors.

Legal Penalties for a DUI or DWI in Maryland

What are the Legal Penalties for a DUI or DWI?

Years of Jail Time

One of the most frightening penalties for a DUI/DWI is jail time. For a 1st DUI offense, you may face up to a year in jail for a DUI and up to two months for a DWI. On a 2nd offense, you may face up to two years for a DUI and one year for a DWI. Subsequent offenses may result in up to three years of jail time for either a DUI or a DWI.

Fines that Hit Where it Hurts

Financial penalties often accompany a DUI or DWI offense. For a 1st offense, you may face fines up to $1,000 for a DUI and $500 for a DWI. After a 2nd offense, you could face up to $2,000 for a DUI, though the fine for a DWI is still $500. Third offenses and beyond could mean fines up to $3000 for both DUIs and DWIs.

A Suspension of Your License

Many, if not most, Americans need their license to get to work, handle small tasks, and to enjoy a meaningful quality of life. However, a license is not a right; it’s a privilege. If you are convicted of a DUI or a DWI, you may face having your license suspended for anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending on your case.

License suspension will also come into play if you refuse to take a chemical test due to the implied consent laws in Maryland. For your first offense, you can face a 270-day suspension of your license if you refuse a breathalyzer test. For your second offense and subsequent refusals, your license will be suspended for 2 years.

Following your arrest, you will need to seek a hearing with the MVA to dispute the suspension or revocation of your license.

An Ignition Interlock System

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breathalyzer that is integrated into your vehicle’s ignition system. They are required to be installed after a DUI conviction in the State of Maryland, even for first-time offenders. Though the IID program was only required for offenders with multiple DUIs in the past, Noah’s Law has expanded the program.

If you are required to invest in an IID, you will have to pay not only to have it installed, but to maintain it, and then have it removed from your vehicle when the time comes.

What Constitutes a DUI Vs. a DWI in Maryland?

The penalties for a DUI are much heftier than the penalties for a DWI. The difference is in your BAC levels. You will be charged with a DUI when you test for a BAC of .08 or higher. For a DWI, your test will come in between .04% and .08%.

For drivers under the age of 21, you can be charged with a BAC of .02% or higher. The state of Maryland has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving, so even one drink can lead to serious consequences.

The situation is similar for drivers of commercial vehicles. If you are in operation of a commercial vehicle at the time of your arrest, your BAC can be no higher than .04% or you will face DUI charges.

Work with a Trusted DUI Lawyer in Maryland

If you’re looking for someone who works with you to secure your future, call on Albers & Associates today for a free consultation.


Will I Lose My License?

You might. Depending on the type of license you have and whether or not you are convicted, your license may be suspended or even revoked depending on the circumstances of your charges. However, even being charged with a DUI can result in the suspension of your license, which can affect your life substantially.

Will I Lose My Job?

It depends on your job. At the time of your arrest, the police officer will confiscate your license and provide you with a paper license that you can use until your MVA Hearing. However, for people who hold commercial driver’s licenses, also known as CDLs, this will not replace the license you need to do your job. So, until the charges are cleared, you will not be able to work. Getting on the phone with a lawyer as soon as humanly possible is essential for your continued employment.

Am I Going to Jail?

You might. If you are found guilty of a DUI, particularly if this is your second or third offense, you may face jail time. One possible outcome of DUI court proceedings, a Probation Before Judgment, can be sought. If you are able to secure a PBJ, you will be able to avoid going to jail.