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Underage Drunk Driving Charges In Maryland

In Maryland, and everywhere else in the United States, people must be 21 years of age or older to legally consume alcohol. To underline just how seriously law enforcement officials consider this stipulation, states like Maryland often pass harsh drunk driving laws that apply only to those drivers under the age of 21.

These Zero Tolerance laws mean that younger drivers must comply with much stricter BAC limitations than drivers who are already over the legal drinking age. Little leniency is given to drivers under the legal age who are discovered with alcohol in their systems while operating a motor vehicle.

What is Maryland’s law regarding underage drunk driving?

Under Maryland’s law, underage drivers are deemed legally impaired if they are discovered with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent or higher, much lower than the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.

What are the penalties for underage drivers who are charged with drunk driving?

If you are arrested and charged with drunk driving and are underage there are special penalties that you will face that adult drivers do not. If a driver is found to have a BAC above 0.02 percent but below 0.08 percent, he or she will lose their license for six months. The driver will also be required to serve at least 20 hours of community service and will not be issued a limited driving permit.

Underage drivers who have BACs above 0.08 percent will lose their driving privileges for a full year and will also be barred from receiving a limited driving permit. Additionally, these drivers can be ordered to perform a minimum 40 hours of community service as well as other consequences faced by adult drunk drivers.

Beyond criminal penalties, a drunk driving conviction can affect your personal life. A DUI conviction can increase insurance rates, making it more difficult to find work, housing and even interfere with some educational opportunities.

 Problems with Maryland’s law

Unfortunately, due to the strictness of Maryland’s law there are cases where innocent underage drivers are arrested and charged with drunk driving offenses. Because the legal limit is only 0.02 percent for underage drivers, it’s possible that even using mouthwash or other similar over-the-counter products that contain alcohol could be enough to cause a reading that indicates legal impairment.

Need help with a Maryland traffic ticket or drunk driving offense? Call me at 301-563-9575 or 1-877-566-2408 for a free consultation. I’m an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer and I’d be happy to help. I practice law throughout the entire State of Maryland.