Maryland Legislature Passes New Drunk Driving Laws

Maryland Legislature Passes New Drunk Driving Laws

The legislation requires the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to now impose a one-year driver’s license suspension on a person convicted of either DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while impaired) more than once in a five-year period. The law allows the MVA to issue restricted licenses for the suspension period if the person participates in the Ignition Interlock System Program (IISP).

The IISP prohibits drivers from driving any vehicle not equipped with the ignition interlock system, and allows the person to drive only to and from school, to and from work or to and from an alcohol/drug treatment program and health care treatment

The legislature also increased the “look-back period”, doubling the length of time, from five to 10 years during which there can be no previous DUI related Probation Before Judgment dispositions in order for the Court to consider a PBJ in the instant case.

Under current Maryland law, drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of between .04 and .08 are usually charged with DWI. Those with a BAC of .08 or higher are normally charged with DUI. A first-time DWI conviction means being faced with up to two months in jail, a $500 fine and a driver’s license suspension of 60 days. Penalties for a first-time DUI are more severe, including up to one-year in jail, up to a $1,000 fine and a 45-day or more driver’s license suspension.

A second DUI conviction increases the fine to $2,000, a one-year license suspension (followed by one-year of restricted driving privileges) and can mean up to two-years in jail. A second DWI conviction can cost up to $500 in fines and up to a one-year jail term.

The legislature also passed a bill increasing penalties for violating any alcohol restriction on a driver’s license. The misdemeanor violation is now punishable by a fine of $500 and two months in jail.