Donald F. Norris, chairman of the department of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, said Dwyer would be wise to resign. He said any politician with two alcohol-related convictions has lost the trust of constituents and colleagues.
"He had very little effectiveness prior to his convictions," Norris said. "He'll have even less now."
Maryland voters approved a constitutional amendment last year to automatically suspend elected officials when they are found guilty of a felony or certain misdemeanors related to their official duties. If they remain guilty after exhausting all the appeals, they are permanently removed.
But Dwyer's guilty pleas were to misdemeanor charges that would not be construed as having to do with service in office, according to the state attorney general's office.
Del. Steve Schuh, a Republican who represents the same district as Dwyer, covering Pasadena, Gibson Island, Brooklyn Park and parts of Glen Burnie, said the jail stints will be felt during the end of the session in April, when lawmakers' work bleeds into weekends.
Schuh said the rest of the lawmakers from District 31 — he, House Minority Leader Nicholaus Kipke and Sen. Bryan Simonaire — will take up any slack.
"I certainly expect the other three of us to redouble our efforts to make sure our constituents are properly represented and constituent service is not interrupted in any way," Schuh said.
One thing Dwyer won't be able to do during the session is attend legislative receptions in Annapolis, where lobbyists and interest groups chat up lawmakers and alcohol is often served. Plitt forbade Dwyer from being at or near any place that sells or serves alcohol, and he emphasized that his ruling includes such receptions.
Dan Nataf, a political science professor at Anne Arundel Community College, doesn't think that ban will affect Dwyer much.
"He's not someone who is highly lobbied," Nataf said, noting that Dwyer is very firm on his positions on issues important to him.
If Dwyer were to resign, the central committee would pick a replacement whom the governor would be bound to appoint. First elected in 2002, Dwyer has not filed to run for re-election in 2014 but has held fundraisers this year, including a raffle of AK-47 and AR-15 rifles in July, according to his website.
Dwyer has been criticized by victims of the boat crash for not apologizing, but Fischer said the delegate was remorseful at an earlier hearing and accepted responsibility for drinking.
Fischer disputed, however, that Dwyer was responsible for the crash, saying the other boater violated rules of the water by turning in front of Dwyer's boat. He declined to discuss the accident further, citing the possibility of civil lawsuits.
"Everyone is sympathetic there were children injured, including Mr. Dwyer," Fischer said.
The other boater in the crash, Mark "Randy" Harbin of Pasadena, was operating an 181/2-foot Bayliner. He pleaded guilty to failing to have a certificate of number for his boat and paid an $85 fine and $22.50 in court costs, according to court records. Prosecutors dropped charges against Harbin of negligent operation of a boat and failing to avoid a collision.
Dwyer's driving arrest came nearly one year after the boat crash, on Aug. 20. Dwyer told an officer he had had two beers at a bar in Baltimore. He struggled with field sobriety tests and was charged with drunken driving, unsafe passing, driving with expired tags and other charges. Most were dropped when Dwyer pleaded guilty to impaired driving.
In Anne Arundel's weekend jail program, about 75 to 100 inmates typically report at 6 p.m. Fridays and are discharged at 6 p.m. Sundays, earning two days toward their sentence, according to Terry Kokolis, superintendent of detention facilities for the county.
Weekend inmates are held in a housing unit that's vacant during the week. They are treated like the other 300 inmates, which includes wearing jail uniforms, Kokolis said.
Weekend inmates earn diminution credits for showing up and following the terms of their incarceration, he said. A typical inmate sentenced to 60 days will actually serve 50.
Kokolis said Dwyer will not receive any special treatment as an elected official. He also recently had other high-profile inmates in his facilities, including former County Executive John R. Leopold, who was convicted of misconduct in office, and former Annapolis alderman and state official Carl Snowden, who violated his probation in a drunken-driving case.