Study: Maryland second weakest DUI penalties

Study: Maryland second weakest DUI penalties

While getting charged with a DUI is never a good thing, perhaps where you get charged with one can make a big difference. According to a new study by, Maryland has the second most lenient penalties for DUI in the country. The most lenient state when it comes to DUIs is South Dakota.

The WalletHub study reports that Maryland also ranked 32nd when it came to DUI prevention rate. Washington D.C. was ranked 50th for weak DUI penalties. Virginia, though, was certainly not at the bottom of any list when it comes to strict penalties for DUIs — it ranked eighth for harshest penalties and 13th for their DUI prevention rate.

So how did the study come up with these rankings? There were several variables used, including minimum jail time on a first or second offense, how large a fine is charged, how long a driver’s license would be suspended, when, if ever, an ignition interlock is required and if the state utilizes sobriety checkpoints.

In Maryland, at no point does a DUI automatically become a felony. If the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration is .15 or higher, then an ignition interlock system will be required — even for the first offense. However, Maryland doesn’t have fines for the first offense.

The study also found that driving under the influence cost U.S. citizens almost $60 billion on average each year. In addition, 31 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents involved drunk drivers in 2012.

If you are facing a DUI, it is important to know all of your legal options. An experienced criminal defense attorney can review your case and develop a strong defense.

Source: Bowie Patch, “Maryland Among Most Lenient States Regarding Drunk Driving,” Ethan Levine, June 16, 2015

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