Washington, DC, and Maryland share the distinction of having zero-tolerance for drunk driving. Although every state in the nation aggressively punishes driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, Maryland and the nation’s capitol have taken the battle a step further by creating laws that undermine the national legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit.
In most states, a driver can be charged with drunk driving if he or she is found to have a BAC of at least 0.08, the federally mandated limit. If a driver has a BAC of less than 0.08, no charges can be made. A few states—including Maryland and the District of Columbia—have weakened the BAC limit in the pursuit of a zero-tolerance policy and allowed police to charge drivers with drunken driving.
In Maryland, a driver can be charged with driving while impaired (DWI) if his or her BAC level is as low as 0.04 percent; however, if the driver is under the age of 21, no alcohol is permitted.
Across the border in the District of Columbia, police sometimes do arrest drivers with a BAC of 0.01 percent. The case of Debra Bolton, covered in an October 12, 2005, news story in the Washington Post, showed that in DC, even a single glass of wine with dinner can land a driver in a lot of trouble in a zero-tolerance zone.
A word of warning to drivers who cross the border often: In Maryland, the DWI charge is the lesser offense; in the District of Columbia, the lesser charge is driving under the influence (DUI).
In zero-tolerance states, it pays to be aware of the law before you get behind the wheel. If you have any questions about the drunken driving law, please contact Meng & Alpert, LLC, toll free at 866-444-6363. Our skilled Maryland drunk driving defense attorneys will examine your case and help defend your rights.