Do you know Maryland’s blood alcohol content legal limits? This seems like a simple question at first. Many people think that staying under a blood alcohol level of .08 will keep them safe even if they are pulled over for DUI in Maryland. While the ultimate answer to this question is fairly simple, it is important to remember that staying under .08 will not necessarily protect you from all consequences.
In order to properly answer this question, you need to know if you are one of these three categories:
- Under the age of 21
- Have the words “Alcohol Restriction” printed on the back of your license
- Have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and are driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) at the time the police stop you
Special restrictions apply to these three driver categories under DUI Law in Maryland. Read on to learn more.
If you are under the age of 21, then you should already know that the law says you are not supposed to have any alcohol in your system. Maryland law says that underage drivers are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle with alcohol in their systems.
That may seem straightforward, but Maryland law actually more clearly defines which numerical concentration you should be concerned about. Specifically, Maryland law states that an alcohol concentration of .02 or more on an underage driver’s breath or blood is clear evidence that they are violating the restrictions placed on their license.
It is important to understand that a juvenile with an alcohol concentration of .02 or more is not automatically treated as a drunk driver. They simply have an amount of alcohol in their system that they are not supposed to have while driving, which means that they have automatically exceeded blood alcohol content legal limits.
If you have an Alcohol Restriction on your license, you are treated exactly the same as a driver who is under the age of 21. Thus, for all the same reasons stated in the above section, you should keep your alcohol levels under a .02 if you have the words “Alcohol Restriction” written on the back of your license.
If you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and are caught with alcohol in your system while you are operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV), your license may be disqualified from operating CMVs. This occurs if you have an alcohol concentration on your blood or breath that is .04 or higher.
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All Other Drivers
If you do not fall into any of the above classes, then we are finally getting into the substance of the broad original question. But this answer isn’t as simple as it may seem. Even though the above consequences always apply to those particular people, they can still be charged with additional crimes if they have higher alcohol levels than .02 and .04.
Many people believe the legal limit in Maryland is .08. When you take a closer look at the law, however, you will see that everyone who doesn’t fall into one of the above categories should actually aim for a blood alcohol level of .05 or less. Under Maryland law, you are presumed not to be driving while impaired if the alcohol in your system measures .05 or less.
But be aware that lawyers and judges look carefully at words when making arguments about these blood alcohol content legal limits. To an attorney, the word “presumed” does not mean to stop analyzing the case—it is simply a challenge to be overcome. So even a .05 or lower can cause problems under the right circumstances.
Blood Alcohol Content Legal Limits
You may be wondering why you’ve never heard about the .05 limit. You probably aren’t aware of this because the majority of people who are charged with a DUI have blood alcohol levels above .08. But plenty of people are charged with blood alcohol levels below .08. Keep in mind that Maryland law has different rules, depending on whether your blood alcohol level is .08 or higher, between .07 and .08, or between .06 and .07:
- If you have an alcohol concentration of .08 or more, you are considered to be under the influence of alcohol as a matter of law. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol is the most serious form of DUI, indicating that the alcohol in your system has substantially impaired your normal coordination. Read our in-depth article on the for more information.
- If you have an alcohol concentration of between .07 and less than .08, then the law says there is a strong likelihood that you are impaired. While this is not as serious as being under the influence, driving while impaired is still a jailable crime. Being impaired by alcohol means that the alcohol you consumed has impaired your normal coordination to some extent.
- If you have an alcohol level of more than .05 and less than .07, you are not presumed to be under the influence. However, your blood alcohol level can still be examined as evidence from the case and you still can be determined to be impaired or even under the influence.
As you can see, the penalties for DWI and DUI in Maryland vary widely depending on the exact amount of alcohol in your system. These blood alcohol content legal limits are a challenging subject to understand, and not knowing the facts gets many people in trouble with the law.
So what are the blood alcohol content legal limits in Maryland? Keep it under .02 and you will probably have nothing to worry about. How much alcohol can I have to keep it under a .02? The short answer is that it is probably wiser just to not drink in the first place. And if you get yourself into a difficult situation, having an attorney on your side is crucial. Call the experienced litigators at Zirkin and Schmerling Law at 410-753-4611 for a free initial consultation.