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What is the difference between DUI and DWI in Maryland?

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2020 | Firm News

People in the Annapolis area may think nothing of having a drink or two at a backyard barbecue, happy hour or celebration. However, if they drive home from these events it is possible that they may soon find themselves being pulled over by the police on suspicion of drunk driving. Motorists may assume that they can only be charged with a drunk driving offense if their blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit. However, this is not the case as Maryland law recognizes two separate types of drunk driving violations: driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs (DWI).

When will I receive a DUI?

A driver who has a BAC at or above the legal limit of 0.08% can be charged with DUI. Motorists in such situations will be determined to be intoxicated “per se” meaning that additional evidence of drinking, such as failed field sobriety tests, empty beer cans or liquor bottles in the car or the smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath are not necessary to prove DUI.

The consequences for receiving a DUI are severe. A first offense DUI can lead to a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. A second DUI offense could lead to a jail sentence of five days to two years and a fine of up to $2,000. A third DUI offense could lead to up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $3,000.

When will I receive a DWI?

If a driver has a BAC of 0.07% and there is evidence of impairment, they could be charged with a different drunk driving offense: DWI. This is a lesser offence than DUI, but it still has consequences. The penalties for DUI include up to two months in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense, and up to a year in jail and a $500 fine for a second or subsequent offense.

Seek help when accused of DUI or DWI

Ultimately, if you are facing charges of DWI or DUI, you will want to seek professional advice. Attorneys in Maryland can prove assertive, experienced representation to those who are facing drunk driving charges. Crafting a solid defense strategy can be key to having the charges against you reduced or dropped altogether.