This work is devoted to the design of interior penalty discontinuous Galerkin (dG) schemes that preserve maximum principles at the discrete level for the steady transport and convection–diffusion problems and the respective transient problems with implicit time integration. Monotonic schemes that combine explicit time stepping with dG space discretization are very common, but the design of such schemes for implicit time stepping is rare, and it had only been attained so far for 1D problems. The proposed scheme is based on a piecewise linear dG discretization supplemented with an artificial diffusion that linearly depends on a shock detector that identifies the troublesome areas. In order to define the new shock detector, we have introduced the concept of discrete local extrema. The diffusion operator is a graph-Laplacian, instead of the more common finite element discretization of the Laplacian operator, which is essential to keep monotonicity on general meshes and in multi-dimension. The resulting nonlinear stabilization is non-smooth and nonlinear solvers can fail to converge. As a result, we propose a smoothed (twice differentiable) version of the nonlinear stabilization, which allows us to use Newton with line search nonlinear solvers and dramatically improve nonlinear convergence. A theoretical numerical analysis of the proposed schemes shows that they satisfy the desired monotonicity properties. Further, the resulting operator is Lipschitz continuous and there exists at least one solution of the discrete problem, even in the non-smooth version. We provide a set of numerical results to support our findings.