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Driving Under the Influence (DUI) vs. Driving While Impaired (DWI)

DUI2

This blog post will provide an overarching comparison of two types of drunk driving charges in Maryland — driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI). In order to gain a full appreciation of these two criminal offenses, the following sections will outline applicable definitions and penalties under Maryland law.

What is the Definition of DUI in Maryland?

It is unlawful to drive a car or operate other vehicles in Maryland while under the influence of alcohol. The legal limit for alcohol consumption in Maryland is a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08. If a driver registers a BAC of 0.08 or more in Maryland, then they are guilty of a DUI.

What are the Penalties for DUI in Maryland?

The penalties for DUI in Maryland are severe for the first offense and increase drastically for subsequent offenses.

  • First Offense — Upon conviction, the driver can face 12 months in jail and $1,000 in fines. Additionally, the driver will receive 12 demerit points on their license and may face license suspension for 180 days.
  • Second Offense — Upon conviction, the driver can face 24 months in jail and $2,000 in fines. Additionally, the driver will receive 12 demerit points on their license and may face license suspension for 365 days.
  • Second Offense (within five years) — In addition to the standard penalties for a second offense, the driver faces a mandatory period of license suspension followed by required use of an ignition interlock device.

What is the Definition of DWI in Maryland?

It is unlawful in Maryland to drive a car or operate other vehicles while impaired by alcohol or drugs. DWI offenses come into play at a lower level than DUI offenses. For example, if a person registers a BAC of 0.07, they can face charges for DWI. Additionally, DWI laws can apply to a person impaired by drugs — whether legally prescribed pharmaceuticals or illegal drugs, such as heroin, cocaine and marijuana.

What are the Penalties for DWI in Maryland?

For a first offense, you face up to a $500 fine and up to two months imprisonment.

  • First Offense — Upon conviction, the driver will receive eight (8) demerit points on their license and license suspension for 180 days. If the driver is under 21 years of age at the time of the offense, then the driver’s license suspension increases to 12 months.
  • Second Offense — Upon conviction, the driver will receive eight (8) demerit points on their license and license suspension for up to 365 days. If the driver is under 21 years of age at the time of the offense, then the driver’s license suspension increases to 24 months.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you are facing charges for DUI or DWI in Maryland, it can be exceedingly helpful to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, know how to fight against charges for DUI, DWI and other criminal offenses. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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