Impaired driving or operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law in virtually every state, including Maryland. What you might not be aware of, though, are the stiff penalties associated with either Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Impaired (DWI). They’re much more serious if you hurt or kill someone.
How serious of a problem is impaired driving in Maryland?
Data compiled by the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) between 2013 and 2017 shows 6,627 impaired driving accidents occurred that year. At least 2,088 of those injured someone. There were 167 fatalities.
Maryland MVA data shows that most impaired driving accidents occur in metropolitan areas. At least 95% of these crashes happened in or around Washington or Baltimore. A full 20% of these crashes happened in Prince George’s County.
That same data shows that at least 56% of all impaired driving crashes happened on either Friday, Saturday or Sunday. It also showed that accident rates tended to be highest between 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. Ones that occurred in early morning hours on either a Saturday or Sunday tended to result in the most significant injuries or death.
At least 50% of the impaired drivers were between 21 and 39.
What are Maryland’s penalties for impaired driving?
Anyone convicted of their first DUI may face up to a year in jail, $1,000 in fines and have their driver’s license revoked for six months.
Second-time offenders face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days up to two years, license revocation for up to a year and as much as $2,000 in fines. Anyone with two DUI convictions within five years may have to participate in alcohol abuse and Ignition Interlock Programs in addition to having their license suspended.
DUI or DWI-related penalties don’t stop there
Motorists may face enhanced penalties if they’re under the age of 21 at the time of the commission of their alleged crime if they are repeat offenders or injure or kill someone in a Maryland crash. A conviction on your record can significantly affect your ability to live on your terms in the future. An experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you of the penalties you’re facing and help you develop defense strategies to pursue in your Prince George’s County case.