What is the difference between a DWI and a DUI in Maryland?

Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after you have been drinking is almost certainly a recipe for disaster. Just because you’ve done it before without having anything happen doesn’t mean that will be the same case every single time. If you are stopped by police officers because they have reason to think that you have been drinking, there is a chance that you will end up facing charges. In Maryland, you might face a driving while intoxicated charged or a driving under the influence charge. These are different charges with very different penalties.

What is a DWI?

A DWI is the lesser of the two charges. This is for people who have a blood alcohol concentration of .07 percent or higher. Oftentimes, the police officer’s judgment is a factor in whether a person faces a DWI or not. If you are convicted of a DWI, you face up to two months in jail, up to a 60-day license suspension, a $500 fine and eight points on your license. The penalties get more severe on a second offense, which is associated with a jail term of up to one year and a license suspension of 120 days.

What is a DUI?

A DUI occurs when your BAC is .08 percent or higher. This is the more serious of these two charges. A first conviction can land you in jail for up to a year, while a second will land you in jail for a minimum of five days and a maximum of up to two years. You will get 12 points on your license. Your driver’s license will be revoked for up to six months on a first conviction and up to a year on a second. Other penalties are also possible.

Your defense strategy is your only way to fight against these charges. Working on it as soon as you know you are facing charges is crucial.

Source: DMV.org, “DUI & DWI in Maryland,” accessed July 21, 2016

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