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DUI vs DWI: The differences under Maryland laws

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2023 | Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI) are terms interchangeably used when referring to a drunk driving offense in some states. However, it is a bit different in Maryland.

A DUI and a DWI do not refer to the same exact offense, at least from a legal viewpoint. There are differences between these two offenses, and it comes down to your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, among other factors. Here is what you need to know about the potential charges if a traffic stop by law enforcement leads to an arrest.

What were your BAC levels?

In Maryland, the legal BAC threshold is 0.08%. You will be charged with a DUI for anything above that. However, you can still be charged with a DUI if there is other evidence you were intoxicated when driving, such as the smell of alcohol or failing the field sobriety tests.

A BAC level of 0.07% will likely result in a DWI. Any sort of impairment is illegal in Maryland. For instance, if you were driving erratically due to driver fatigue or prescription drugs, you may be charged with driving while impaired.

The potential consequences

Generally, a DUI is a more serious offense than a DWI. For a first offender, you may spend up to one year in jail for a DUI, while a DWI only attracts a maximum jail sentence of two months. One similarity between the two is that repeat offenders get stiffer penalties, and any aggravating factors may enhance the punishment due.

Get legal help

The bottom line is that you may end up in jail, pay fines and have a criminal record if convicted of either of these offenses. Therefore, you should not take them lightly, even as a first-time offender. It is best to reach out for informed counsel on how to defend yourself and increase the chances of a desirable verdict on the charges you face.