DUI and DWI Laws in Maryland 2023: How Much Alcohol Can You Drink and Drive?

Drink and drive laws in Maryland

Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least 0.08% or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or higher is considered DUI (driving under the influence) in Maryland. 

However, you can also be charged with DWI (driving while impaired) if you are driving with impaired capability caused by alcohol or drugs.

Generally, one or two standard drinks will get you over the 0.08% BAC threshold. This quantity is only a rough estimate because a person’s BAC level varies depending on gender, weight, and other factors.

Please remember that this piece aims to inform readers about Maryland’s impaired driving laws. This article does not endorse or promote drunk driving in any state or region.

DUI and DWI are prohibited in Maryland. Statistics show 567 fatal car accidents in Maryland caused by drunk drivers in 2020. Thirty-two percent of these fatal crashes involved drivers with BAC levels greater than 0.08%, and 21% involved drivers with BAC levels exceeding 0.15%.

To prevent drunk driving in the state, the government of Maryland enforces DUI laws. As a result, checking your blood alcohol level before driving is critical.

Using a breathalyzer, verify your BAC level to ensure it is less than Maryland’s legal BAC limit.

You could use Uber, a designated driver service, or call a cab as an alternative to driving.

To stay current on DUI driving laws and regulations, visit the official website of Maryland’s Department of Transportation.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Maryland

If you were found driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher in Maryland, you would be charged with DUI.

The state government implemented the BAC limits to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents.

Even though the state imposes a 0.08% legal BAC limit, it’s crucial to remember that everyone’s reaction to alcohol is different. Some people may only need a few drinks of alcohol to pass out.

Your BAC is affected by a number of things, including the following:

  • weight
  • gender
  • medication intake
  • stress levels
  • alcohol consumption level

You can determine how much alcohol you can have before driving using a BAC chart and BAC calculator. These solutions might not suit everyone because everyone’s response to alcohol is unique.

Using a certified alcohol breathalyzer is the most precise way to calculate your BAC.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Maryland

The BAC and other variables affect the level of impairment. When a person’s blood alcohol concentration is between 0.010% and 0.029%, they often appear normal. Yet, when BAC levels rise, alcohol-related impairment symptoms are more prominent.

Each state has its own set of DUI rules. Administrative and legal repercussions could occur from driving while intoxicated. You must test your blood alcohol level before you drive to avoid punishment. 

Although the terms DUI and DWI are sometimes used interchangeably to refer to the act of driving while intoxicated, in Maryland, these offenses are addressed differently.

Even though these charges are similar and frequently presented together, they may result in different punishments if found guilty.

Here is an overview of Maryland’s penalties for DUI and DWI.

DUI Conviction

You can be convicted of DUI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or greater.

You may face the following consequences if you are found guilty of DUI.

First Offense

  • Fines: Up to $1,000 fine
  • Jail Time: Maximum imprisonment period of one year
  • License Suspension: Up to six months 
  • Point Accumulation: Twelve points

Second Offense

  • Fines: $2,000
  • Jail Time: Mandatory five days of jail time and can be extended for up to two years
  • License Suspension: Up to one year
  • Point Accumulation: 12 points

For two offenses within five years, A mandatory length of suspension will be followed by a minimum duration of participation in the Ignition Interlock Program. You should also take part in an evaluation and program for alcohol misuse.

DWI Conviction

You may be found guilty of DWI even if your BAC was less than 0.08%, but you were still determined to be impaired by alcohol or drugs. If you are found guilty of DWI, you could be punished in the following ways:

First Offense

  • Fines: $500
  • Jail Time: Up to two months in prison
  • License Suspension: Six months 
  • Point Accumulation: Eight points

Second Offense

  • Fines: $500
  • Jail Time: Up to one year in jail
  • License Suspension: Nine to twelve months 
  • Point Accumulation: Eight points

Point Accumulation

You must appear in Court for the citations issued for impaired driving. If you are actually convicted of the offense, your driving record will reflect the conviction, and you will receive points.

Your license will be suspended if you receive between 8 and 11 points within two years.

Your license will also be suspended if you accrue 12 or more points.

You can request a hearing or, in certain circumstances, choose to participate in Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program.

When Can You Drink and Drive in Maryland?

As was already mentioned, everyone responds to alcohol differently. One factor that affects a person’s blood alcohol level is gender. Studies show that the BACs of men and women differ.

Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) concentrations are higher in men than in women. These enzymes are the reason why men’s metabolic rates of alcohol are quick. Men, therefore, process alcohol more swiftly than women.

The tips below can be helpful if you’re unsure how much alcohol you can legally drink before driving in Maryland.

Studies support the information below. Yet, as everyone responds to alcohol differently, it might not apply to everyone.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Drink and Drive in Maryland?

Drink beer and drive in Maryland

According to BAC charts, a person with a lighter build may have a higher BAC.

For instance, a 12-ounce (350 ml) beer may cause a man weighing 72 kg (160 lbs) to have a blood alcohol content of 0.02%.

A lady of the same weight who drinks the same quantity of beer, on the other hand, might have a BAC of 0.03%.

A lower-weight man and woman can have a more significant blood alcohol content.

The recommended amount of beer to stay under Maryland’s legal BAC limit is one to two bottles.

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Consume and Drive in Maryland?

Up to 12% ABV is found in a standard wine glass (5 oz/142 ml).

It takes two glasses of wine to reach Maryland’s legal BAC threshold.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in Maryland?

Forty percent of alcohol by volume is present in one shot of an alcoholic drink like vodka or whiskey.

If you need to drive after drinking, one to two shots of whiskey or vodka will keep your blood alcohol level below Maryland’s legal limit.

Sticking to DUI Laws in Maryland

There are numerous misconceptions about alcohol and how it affects driver safety. Every driver must know the risks of DUI, and they should avoid it at all costs.

Driving after consuming alcohol is not recommended. Your ability to control a vehicle and yourself immediately decreases once alcohol enters your system.

You should never become complacent and believe that your blood alcohol content and ability to drive are safe, even if you have only had a few drinks. If you’re intoxicated, you should consider using another form of transportation rather than driving.

If you are going to drive after drinking, be sure your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal BAC limit. You must also make sure your ability to drive is unimpaired. You can determine your blood alcohol content level with accuracy by using a reputable alcohol breathalyzer.

Regularly visit the state’s official website to stay current on Maryland’s DUI laws.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.