Whether you live in the Ocean City area or have traveled to Maryland for vacation, you could receive serious penalties for drinking and driving in the state. Law enforcement can arrest a driver whether he or she displays obvious impairment, known as driving while impaired, or measured blood alcohol content of at least 0.08%, known as driving while intoxicated. 

When facing a court date for Maryland DUI, understand the potential legal consequences of a conviction: 

Jail time 

DWI penalties are usually less severe than those for DUI. A first-time DWI offender can receive up to two months in jail, which increases to up to one year for a second offense and up to five years for a third offense. 

If you have no prior DUI offenses within the past five years, you could still receive up to a year in jail for a conviction. The second offense carries up to two years in jail, while a third offense could result in five years in jail. A driver who has a passenger younger than age 18 at the time of arrest could receive an additional year in jail and an additional $1,000 in fines, even with no previous DUI convictions. 

License suspension 

Maryland drivers lose their licenses after a DUI. You could receive a six-month suspension for a first offense, nine months for the second offense and a full year for the third offense. These suspension periods remain the same for drivers who have a DWI rather than DUI conviction. 

Fines  

The fine for a first-time DUI conviction in Maryland could be the maximum of $1,000. This doubles to $2,000 for a second offense and increases to $5,000 for a third offense. The maximum DWI fine is $500 for the first or second offense and up to $5,000 for a third offense. 

Because these penalties are wide-ranging and complex, you should protect your rights if you receive a DUI or DWI charge in Maryland.