When thinking about the two terms DUI and DWI, many people assume that they are synonymous with each other and can be used interchangeably. However, this is not actually the case.
In Maryland, the term DUI refers to driving under the influence and is used when a driver has been found to be operating a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. The legal limit in Maryland is 0.08 percent, and a BAC greater than this constitutes a serious offense.
A DWI in Maryland refers to driving while impaired. The offense is classified to be a DWI if an individual’s BAC is determined to be between 0.07 and 0.08 percent. Frequently, those who have been charged with DWI have passed a breath test just below the legal limit. However, they may still show obvious signs of being impaired, such as the inability to pass other field sobriety tests or to drive properly.
Of the two charges, DWI is considered to be less serious than DUI. No matter which you have been charged with—DUI or DWI—it is imperative that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible. With either charge, you may be facing a serious risk of losing your driving privileges.
Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you understand what you should do next in order to try and retain your driver’s license. Call our law offices today at (410) 484-0400 and schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
What are the Penalties if Found Guilty of a DUI in Maryland?
Maryland has very strict laws in place regarding those who have been found guilty of DUI. Because a DUI charge is the more serious of the DUI/DWI charges, it naturally carries stiffer penalties.
If you are convicted of a DUI for the first time, the maximum penalty that you will face is one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
For a second DUI, the penalty is up to two years in jail and up to a $2,000 fine.
A third DUI conviction will land you three years in jail and a possible fine of up to $3,000
The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) also will assign those convicted of DUI twelve points on their driver’s license. That many points being assigned to your license can cause it to be suspended for a specific amount of time.
What are the Penalties if Found Guilty of a DWI in Maryland?
If convicted of a first-time DWI offense, you could face 60 days in jail with a $500 fine. Any other DWI offenses that subsequently occur could cause you to spend a year in jail or even cause another $500 fine.
It should be understood that simply because the penalties and fines are lower for a DWI than for a DUI, both are considered to be very serious in nature as they involve an individual driving a motor vehicle while impaired.
Why Should I Hire a DUI/DWI Defense Attorney?
If you have been charged with either a DUI or DWI, you need legal representation that can work hard to possibly keep you from spending time in jail or losing your license. Our experienced lawyers can investigate the circumstances of your case and challenge any evidence that is weak or has not been properly collected.
Contact our law firm today by calling (410) 484-0400 and scheduling a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We can review your case and make a determination as to how to best proceed. We look forward to serving you.