Many Maryland drivers are charged and convicted of driving under the influence in another state. They are likely to have a number of questions when that happens. These questions may arise if a driver is:
- Convicted of a DUI in another state and then subsequently charged with a DUI in Maryland
- Convicted of a DUI in Maryland and then charged with a DUI in another state
- Applies for a Maryland driver’s license after the DUI conviction in the non-Maryland jurisdiction
- Notified that their Maryland driving privileges are suspended or there is some other Maryland consequence for an out-of-state DUI conviction
If any of these scenarios apply to you, our criminal defense lawyer is ready to answer your questions and explain your rights.
How other states handle Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges
In every state except Utah, a driver can be charged with a DUI if a breath test shows the driver’s blood alcohol content level (BAC) was .08 or more. The BAC limit in Utah is just .05. Most states and the District of Columbia also permit a DUI charge to proceed if the prosecutor asserts a driver’s ability to control their vehicle was impaired due to alcohol or drugs. The limit nationwide for commercial truck drivers is .04 In most states, and the zero tolerance level which applies to younger drivers is .02 in most states. The DUI reference to states also applies to the District of Columbia.
If convicted, the Department of Motor Vehicles for the state where the conviction occurred will be notified of your DUI conviction. A driver may face additional penalties, including a fine, points, license suspension or revocation, the requirement to install and use an ignition interlock device (IID), a criminal record, and possible additional consequences (such as the need to attend alcohol counseling classes). The license suspension or revocation applies to the state where the conviction is. It doesn’t automatically apply to Maryland.
How Maryland handles drunk driving charges
Maryland has two types of drunk driving charges:
- You can be charged with this crime if your BAC is .08 or higher – even if the alcohol didn’t impair your driving.
- DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated. You can be charged with this crime if your BAC is .07 or higher or if there is other evidence that your driving was impaired by alcohol.
The criminal penalties for both DUI and DWI offenses include prison time and fines. There are also motor vehicle administrative (MVA) penalties, which may include loss of driving privileges, installation of an IID, and the assessment of points on your driving record.
The criminal and MVA penalties may differ depending on whether you have a prior criminal record. That’s why the effect of an out-of-state DUI is critical. Generally, the penalties are more severe for each prior DUI offense you have.
How does an out-of-state DUI affect DUI and other criminal charges in Maryland?
The answer is – it depends. Each state generally keeps DUI records for its state only. If you are charged with a DUI or a criminal offense in Maryland after you have a DUI conviction in another state, Maryland will likely run a check through a federal database called the Interstate Driver’s License Compact. Maryland belongs to this compact. All states and the District of Columbia are part of this compact except for Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia.
The information from the state where your conviction occurred will likely be shared with Maryland through this compact if both states are members of the compact. Otherwise, the out-of-state DUI conviction will likely only be used against you in Maryland, if Maryland is notified in some other way, which is possible.
Most of the states that participate in the Interstate Driver’s License Compact also participate in the Non-Resident Violators Compact. Maryland is one of the participating states. This law provides that if an out-of-state driver violates certain driving laws in another state and fails to appear for trial or pay the fine, that state can send a non-compliance notice to Maryland’s Department of Motor Vehicles. For example, if you are charged with a DUI in Florida and failed to appear for your Florida DUI trial, Florida can notify Maryland that you failed to appear. Maryland can then suspend your license until you can show the Florida DUI violation was resolved.
If Maryland obtains notice of the out-of-state DUI, then the prosecution will likely count that DUI conviction against you if you are charged with a DUI in Maryland. This means, for example, that if you are convicted of a DUI in Virginia and then you’re charged with a DUI in Maryland, Maryland will consider your DUI as your second DUI and not your first. This second offense may make you ineligible for any alternative sentencing programs. The prior DUI will also mean that if you are convicted of the Maryland DUI, you will be sentenced as if your Maryland offense is your second offense – the sentence will be longer, the fine will be higher, and the other consequences, such as the length of any driver’s license suspension, will likely be longer.
The prosecutor assigned to your Maryland DUI case must assert that you have a prior violation and must obtain certified documentation of your out-of-state conviction.
The out-of-state DUI will also be considered a DUI offense for purposes of the MVA penalties. For example, you cannot obtain a work permit driver’s license if you have a prior offense.
How does Carey Law help Maryland drivers with out-of-state convictions?
If you were charged with a DUI in another state, we may be able to help you arrange for legal counsel in that state. If you were convicted of a DUI in another state and charged with a DUI in Maryland, we will assert every defense that applies, such as the Maryland prosecutor didn’t charge you properly or doesn’t have proper evidence of the prior conviction. We may also assert that the out-of-state conviction shouldn’t count against you in Maryland because it occurred 10 or more years ago. Other defenses may apply.
We will also vigorously contest any new DUI charges in Maryland – either in criminal court or at your MVA hearing. Carey Law Office has the experience and advocacy skills to help. We represent defendants in Bowie, Crofton, Dunkirk, and Owings. Contact us now to schedule a consultation.
My name is Joe Carey, and I am the founder and principal attorney of the Carey Law Office. I have lived in Maryland my entire life. I grew up in a small town in Prince George’s County and, with the help of my partner in life, Nancy, I raised my family here: three exceptional children (a son and two daughters), and two goofy, spoiled black Labrador Retrievers. Learn More