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How does a DUI charge differ from a DWI charge in Maryland?

In the ongoing effort to curb impaired driving, Maryland has made various changes to its laws in recent years.

The laws differ between driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI), but a conviction for either carries stiff penalties.

DUI penalties

The legal limit for a DUI charge is a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08%. For a first offense, a motorist convicted of DUI faces up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 and driver’s license revocation of up to 6 months. In addition, 12 points will be added to his or her driving record.

DWI penalties

A driver can face a charge of DWI if testing shows a BAC of at least .06%. The penalties are not as harsh as they are for a DUI conviction. For a first DWI offense, the driver is looking at a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days behind bars. License suspension is for 6 months, and 8 points will go onto the driving record.

A driver with either a DUI or DWI conviction can also expect the court to order participation in an alcohol education program.

Challenging a charge

A driver facing a DUI or DWI charge may not be aware of the opportunities available to challenge such an allegation. Building a successful defense strategy begins with examining the circumstances surrounding the arrest. Administrative errors happen. Issues with breath or blood tests happen. A DUI or DWI conviction has long-range consequences, and the goal of the defense is to achieve the best outcome possible for the driver’s case.

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