In recent years, Maryland has strengthened drug and alcohol law enforcement. But, drug abuse is rising in the “Free State.”

DUI Laws in Maryland

Maryland tightened its DUI laws in 2016 after a horrific incident. A drunk driver struck and killed police officer, Noah Leotta. In response, Maryland passed the Drunk Driving Reduction Act, or Noah’s Law. This law expanded its Ignition Interlock Program.

The penalties for DUI vary with the number of violations on record.

First offenders:

  • $1,000 fine
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • 12 points on license
  • A six-month license suspension
  • 6 months of Ignition Interlock Program

Second offenders:

  • $2,000 fine
  • Up to 2 years in jail (a minimum of five days)
  • 12 points on license
  • A year-long license suspension
  • 1 year of Ignition Interlock Program

Three-time offenders must participate in the interlock program for 3 years. First offenders who refuse a breathalyzer must use the device for a year. The program applies to anyone under the age of 21 driving with a BAC ≥ .02.

Zero Tolerance Laws for Maryland

The ignition interlock program applies to under-21 drivers with a BAC ≥ 0.02. The length of time increases with every violation. Under-21 drivers may get penalized worse than second offenders of legal age. The penalties include a $500 fine and up to one year in jail. Additional sanctions apply if drivers refuse a breathalyzer test.

Is Cannabis Legal in Maryland?

Maryland’s medical cannabis is booming. In 2018, sales surged from $2.6 million to $109 million. Recreational cannabis is under review. 

The State’s Attorney has stopped trying cannabis users. They plan to redirect those resources towards homicide crime. They are seeking to reverse 5,000 previous convictions.  

Drug-related Crimes

The national drug epidemic has caused many problems in Maryland. The state ranks in the top 5 of opioid-related overdoses. The death-rate double the national average. This crisis has increased due to an influx of synthetic opioids. Fentanyl is responsible for most of the increase. 

About half of all violent crimes are drug-related. Recent efforts to reduce drug-related crime have been successful. In August, Maryland indicted 90 criminals involved in drug conspiracies. They confiscated large quantities of guns and narcotics like fentanyl.

Penalties for Drug Abuse in Maryland

Penalties for drug possession vary depending on each substance. Carrying over 10 grams of cannabis can lead to one-year imprisonment. Possessing under 10 grams is a $100 fine. 

Possession of any other drug could lead to harsher penalties. Punishment may include a four-year prison sentence and a fine of $25,000. The penalty depends on the drug’s class and the defendant’s record. Excessive possession may qualify as intent to sell. This will result in a felony charge. Excessive possession of these drugs could lead to a 20-25 year prison sentence

Schedule I or II drugs carry the heaviest penalty. Possession will result in a mandatory 5-year sentence and $100,000 fine. The amount needed for a conviction varies from drug to drug:

  • 448 g of cocaine
  • 50 g of crack
  • 28 g of opioids
  • 1,000 dosage units of LSD
  • 16 oz. of PCP
  • 448 g of meth

If you are struggling with drug addiction in the state of Maryland, don’t risk getting charged with a crime. Get help from your local addiction center as soon as possible. With the right support, you can end your addiction and start over.


  1. Maryland Impaired Driving Laws
  2. An Assessment of Maryland’s Driving Under the Influence Laws
  3. Maryland task force begins work on potential legalization of marijuana
  4. Baltimore will no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases
  5. Maryland U.S. Attorney Announces Recent Results of Federal Efforts to Reduce Violent Crime in Baltimore
  6. Maryland Drug Threat Assessment
  7. Maryland Sale of a Controlled Substance Laws
  8. Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 5-612

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