An intoxicated driving conviction is considered a second offense in Maryland if the driver has only one prior conviction within the last ten years. Generally, prior convictions that occurred more than ten years ago are said to “washout”—meaning, they don’t count for purposes of determining whether a current offense is a second or subsequent offense. First offense convictions carry less severe consequences.
Maryland has different types of intoxicated driving offenses that carry different penalties, a DUI (driving under the influence) being the more and DWI (driving while impaired) being the less serious.
The penalties for a second intoxicated driving offense generally depend on the classification of the offense (DUI or DWI) and whether the offense involved alcohol or drugs.
DUIs involving alcohol and DUIs involving controlled substances carry the same penalties. A second offense generally will result in up to two years in jail and a maximum of $2,000 in fines. However, an offender who was transporting a minor passenger faces up to $3,000 for fines and a maximum three years in jail.
Second DUI offenders must also complete an alcohol and drug assessment and follow any resulting treatment recommendations. Any time the driver spends in treatment can be counted towards the required jail time.
DWI offenses involving alcohol or drugs carry the same penalties in Maryland. The offender will serve a maximum of one year in jail and have to pay a fine of up to $500. For second DWI offenses where the driver was transporting minor passengers, the maximum penalties are $2,000 in fines and two year in jail.
Drug and alcohol treatment isn’t mandatory for a second DWI, but any time the driver spends in treatment can be credited against the jail sentence.
The court reports all intoxicated driving convictions to the Motor Vehicles Administration (MVA). A second-offense generally results in a maximum nine-month driver’s license suspension. But the suspension period may be longer if the driver refused testing in violation of the state’s implied consent laws.
Drivers who had a prior DUI or DWI offense within the last five years, an alcohol-related DUI, or a passenger under 16 years old must complete the ignition interlock program. The program allows the driver to operate a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device (IID) during the suspension period. However, the driver’s license cannot be reinstated until completion of the one-year ignition interlock program.
Drivers under 21 years old must also complete the program, but may be required to hold an IID for up to three years.
Suspended drivers who aren’t required to participate in the ignition interlock program can voluntarily apply for the program to obtain the IID license or can apply to the MVA for a hardship license. The hardship license comes with certain restrictions and is available only to drivers whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was less than .15%.