Is it Illegal to Drink and Drive In Maryland?
There is a common misconception that it is illegal to drink and drive. This, however, is not entirely true. There is nothing illegal about having an alcoholic beverage, such as having a drink with your meal or stopping by the pub after work for a beverage and then getting behind the wheel of your car and driving home. The issue is when your blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds that of the state’s legal limit.
Over the Limit
In the state of Maryland the acceptable BAC limit is .08% if you’re over the age of 21. If you’re at or above this level and are pulled over and given a breathalyzer test, you will be charged with a DUI and more than likely arrested. However, if you’re driving erratically or the officer has a reason to suspect you’re intoxicated, you can actually be charged with a DWI from a BAC level between .04 – .08%. While a DWI charge isn’t quite as severe as a DUI in terms of punishments and other penalties, it is still a serious offense that comes with many legal ramifications. Because of this, it’s important to understand that, while it’s not illegal to have a drink and then drive, you can still be charged even if you’re at half of the legal limit.
How can I tell when I’m at the limit?
The problem with trying to gauge what you’re BAC levels are is that everyone is different. Different body types, shapes, and sizes all process alcohol differently. A person weighing 200 lbs will usually show a lower BAC level for the same amount of drinks as a person half their weight. However, while this is a general rule, there are many different variables that can affect what your BAC levels actually are.
If you’re trying to determine what your BAC is, there are a few loose guidelines that you can use. However, it’s important to remember that these are merely generalized guidelines and are not indicative of what your BAC levels actually are, nor should they be taken as encouragement to drink more before you drive home. There are also apps available for your smart phone that are advertised as being able to determine your BAC however these should not be relied upon as an accurate way of measuring your BAC.
When it comes to deciding whether or not to drive home, it’s ultimately a judgement call. If you think you might be over the legal limit, don’t take the chance. It’s better to call a cab or ask a friend to drive you home than run the risk of a DWI and/or DUI. A drunk driving charge is a very serious offense with long reaching consequences. If you’re charged with a DUI and/or DWII, contact the legal offices of Alpert Schreyer for a free case consultation today.