Just as drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel can hinder your ability to drive, smoking marijuana may do the same. Though recreational marijuana has become legal in a number of states, Maryland is not, to date, among them, and even states that have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes have laws against driving while under the influence of it.
In Maryland, you may face specific penalties should you receive a conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana. As you might expect, the penalties associated with your conviction tend to increase in severity with each subsequent offense.
Penalties for a first drugged driving offense
The first time a court or judge convicts you of drugged driving in Maryland, you may have to serve anywhere from two months to a full year behind bars. Conversely, you may receive fines as opposed to a sentence, depending on the specifics of your situation. Fines may fall somewhere between $500 and $1,000, and you can also expect to have to complete an educational program and turn over your license for up to 45 days.
Penalties for a second drugged driving offense
If convicted again within the same five-year period, you may have to pay considerable fines that can climb as high as $2,000, or you may have to serve as much as two years in jail. Further, you can anticipate losing your license for up to 90 days and having to take part in a drug and alcohol education program.
Penalties for a third drugged driving offense
If convicted of drugged driving for a third time within the same five-year period, you may have to serve up to three years behind bars in addition to shelling out as much as $3,000 in fines. You again would have to complete a drug and alcohol education program as part of your punishment, and you may have your license revoked for up to a year and a half.
Regardless of whether it is your first, second or third drugged driving conviction, the penalties tend to increase considerably if you have a child present in your vehicle at the time of your infraction.