Difference Between DWI and DUI in Maryland?

Many people in Maryland mistakenly believe that DUIs and DWIs are the same thing. The reality is that the two terms refer to completely different infractions and can result in widely different punishments. To better understand the difference between the two, keep reading.

What is a DWI?

DWI refers to a driving while impaired charge. DWIs in Maryland are less serious offenses than DUIs and exist when a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is found to be between 0.07 and 0.08 percent.

Drivers who are charged with DWI often pass a breath test with results just below the legal limit, but exhibit other indications of impairment, such as failing a field sobriety test or driving erratically. This level of impairment is seen as dangerous which is why Maryland law says that those who are found guilty will face criminal sanctions as well as the suspension of their driver’s license.

What is the Penalty for a DWI in Maryland?

As almost anyone who watches or reads the news knows, police officers in Maryland exert a tremendous amount of energy pursuing intoxicated drivers. To help reduce the dangers associated with drunk driving accidents, the penalties are often very harsh for anyone who is found to be driving while under the influence. For more information about what exactly these punishments entail continue reading.

The lesser drunk driving offense in Maryland is a DWI (driving while impaired). This happens when a driver is discovered to have operated a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.07 and 0.08 percent. These drivers face a possible 60 days in jail and a $500 fine for a first time offense. Subsequent offenses could result in a year in jail or another $500 fine.

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration also steps into these cases and assigns points to the driver’s record. A DWI conviction will result in an eight-point penalty on the driver’s record, enough to lead to a suspension of the driver’s license.

What is a DUI?

Driving under the influence (DUI) exists when a driver is found to have operated a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. This level, 0.08 percent, is known as the state’s legal limit for alcohol. Any BAC equal or greater than this limit amounts to a serious alcohol offense and can be punished with jail time, sizable fines and a revoked driver’s license.

What is the Penalty for a DUI in Maryland?

The fact is that law enforcement officials across not only Maryland, but the country have made cracking down on impaired drivers a top priority. As a result, drivers who have had too much to drink should realize that an arrest will likely result in serious criminal penalties. To learn more about these penalties keep reading.

The most serious criminal punishment is reserved for those found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) in Maryland. DUI convictions occur in cases where a person is found to be operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater than 0.08 percent.

For first time DUI offenders, the maximum possible penalty is one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Those who have received two DUIs can expect up to two years in jail and a $2,000 fine, while third time offenders can expect a possible three years behind bars and a $3,000 fine.

In addition to criminal penalties, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) slaps DUI offenders with a harsh 12-point penalty. This is enough to cause revocation of the driver’s license for a certain period of time.

Contacting a Maryland DUI/DWI Lawyer

As illustrated above, the consequences of both DUI and DWI are severe. If convicted, these offenses can have a tremendous impact on your future, and thus it is in your best interest to retain counsel. Maryland DUI/DWI lawyer Seth Okin zealously advocates for his clients’ rights and will work indefatigably to produce the best possible outcome for his clients. Mr. Okin offers a free initial consultation, and is ready and willing to come to your assistance. Contact Seth Okin today.