In Maryland, DUIs stay on your record forever. But how does that affect auto insurance?
In Maryland, it’s a crime to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. If you’re caught and Breathalyzed with a BAC exceeding that limit, you could be convicted of a DUI — driving under the influence of alcohol. A less severe alcohol charge is a DWI, driving while impaired, which means your BAC was more than 0.05 percent but less than 0.08 percent. A DWI could also mean you were impaired by a drug, controlled dangerous substance, or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
What happens after a DUI or a DWI conviction in Maryland? We’ll tell you about the penalties you could face and the future of your car insurance.
Now that we’ve differentiated between DUIs and DWIs in Maryland, let’s look at the penalties for each.
With a DUI, you could face a fine of $2,000 or more, up to two years in jail, and other penalties.
|Offense number for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI)||1||2||2 within 5 years|
|Maximum length of imprisonment in years||1||2; mandatory 5-day minimum||2; mandatory 5-day minimum|
|Points on driving record||12||12||12|
|Length of license revocation in months||6||12||12|
|Required participation in Ignition Interlock Program||No||No||No|
|Participation in alcohol abuse assessment and program||No||No||Maybe|
If you’re caught with a lesser BAC and convicted of a DWI, you’ll see a maximum $500 fine and up to a year in jail, plus a license suspension and points on your driving record.1
Ignition interlock devices require you to blow into a Breathalyzer before your car can start, ensuring you’re not driving under the influence of alcohol.
|Offense number for driving while impaired (DWI)||1||2|
|Maximum length of imprisonment in months||2||12|
|Length of license suspension in months||6, or 12 if under age 21||9-12, or 24 if under age 21|
|Points on driving record||0||8|
In Maryland, a DUI or DWI will stay on your record indefinitely, as any offense related to alcohol is not eligible for expungement.
Unlike some other states, Maryland doesn’t require SR-22s, forms proving you have the minimum coverage required following your license reinstatement.
DUIs make car insurance more expensive and harder to obtain.
While price increases differ by insurance provider, overall you can expect your car insurance premiums to rise by 78 percent following a DUI. Some car insurance companies are somewhat more affordable for those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol (or drugs) than others, as you’ll see below.
|Annual cost of full coverage insurance||Clean record||DUI||Percent difference|
However, take these rates with a grain of salt, as your ZIP code in Maryland, among other factors, will influence the increase you’ll face with a DUI.
Your car insurance may or may not cover you if you get into a car accident while driving under the influence. The insurer might try to argue that you intentionally caused the accident by drinking and driving, especially if you caused injuries to others both inside and outside your car. However, it’s unlikely your insurer would deny a collision claim. Still, if your provider refuses to cover your losses, you might need to hire a lawyer to be made whole again.2
After a DUI conviction is placed on your driving record, insurance companies will consider you a high-risk driver. Many insurers don’t accept high-risk drivers, and those that do accept high-risk drivers elevate their prices to account for future losses, which previous losses indicate. So, where can you go to satisfy Maryland’s insurance minimums or more?
The best car insurance in Maryland for someone with a DUI — and one of the cheapest options — is GEICO. GEICO’s average annual rate after a DUI is $1,766, only 14 percent higher than what the insurer charges drivers with clean records. Other top options include Nationwide, Allstate, and Progressive.
Dive deeper into GEICO’s auto insurance costs.
If you’ve searched high and low for auto insurance in Maryland after getting a DUI and have come up short, you can use Maryland Auto Insurance, formerly Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund. This program is for people with multiple offenses on their driving records, making them high-risk drivers.
You may already be eligible and not even have to apply. If you have three or more violations on your driving record within a calendar year, Maryland Auto Insurance will send you a letter with information on reexamination, making sure your violations aren’t due to specific medical issues. At a branch office, you’ll take a driving, law, and/or vision test, a failure of which will result in a license suspension. However, if you pass, Maryland Auto Insurance will help you find coverage for no fee.
Either get a quote online (https://www.mymarylandauto.com/site/) or find an agent (https://www.mymarylandauto.com/site/find-an-agent/) guaranteed to cover eligible parties.3
Even the best auto insurance for a DUI will be more expensive than insurance for someone with a clean driving record. However, there are some ways to save.
Finding auto insurance with a bad record isn’t easy, especially as the state of Maryland never lets insurance companies forget about your DUI. The good news is that if all else fails, the state will help you find coverage through Maryland Auto Insurance.
If you have an out-of-state DUI, Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration may give you points on your driving record that are similar to what you’d get if the DUI occurred in the state.
Yes, a DUI will show up on a background check in Maryland. Points on your driving record are public information for three years following your violation date.
To get your license back after a DUI in Maryland, you must pay the applicable fines, serve the required jail time, and/or participate in the ignition interlock or alcohol abuse assessment program, if required, and wait until your suspension or revocation period is over.
A DUI in Maryland is a misdemeanor, according to Section §21–902 of the Maryland General Assembly statutes.
Maryland Impaired Driving Laws. Maryland Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Administration. (2023).
DUI-Related Accidents and Car Insurance. NOLO. (2023).
Find an Agent. Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund. (2019).