DUI, DWI, and drunk driving attorney Stephen P. Shepard of Shepard Law in Baltimore County, MD

What’s the Difference Between a DUI and DWI in Maryland?

If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) in the Baltimore County, Maryland area, you may be wondering what exactly the differences are between these two offenses in Maryland. While they both relate to operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs, there are some key distinctions you should understand.

DUI vs DWI in Maryland – The Technical Differences

In Maryland, a DUI (driving under the influence) refers specifically to driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. This is the legal limit for both commercial and non-commercial drivers in the state. A DWI (driving while impaired) on the other hand applies when a driver is impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination to the point that they cannot drive safely – even if their BAC is below 0.08%.

So in basic terms, a DUI relates to your measured BAC level, while a DWI relates more broadly to impaired driving ability. Both offenses apply to operating any vehicle, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and even boats.

Penalties for DUI vs DWI in Maryland

In general, a DUI conviction carries stiffer penalties than a DWI in Maryland. This is because a DUI is considered a more serious offense due to the driver’s higher BAC level.

For a first offense DUI, potential penalties include:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • 12 points on your driver record
  • Potential license revocation

A first offense DWI on the other hand typically results in:

  • Up to 60 days in jail
  • Fines of up to $500
  • 8 points on your license

Penalties increase significantly for repeat offenses of either DUI or DWI, as well as for offenses involving transporting a minor or causing an accident resulting in injury or death.

How an Experienced DUI/DWI Attorney Can Help

Whether you’ve been charged with a DUI, DWI, or related offense in Baltimore County, retaining experienced legal counsel is critical. An experienced DUI/DWI defense lawyer can thoroughly evaluate all evidence and circumstances surrounding your case. They will work to get charges reduced or dismissed if possible, and fight for the best outcome through negotiation or strong defense at trial if needed.

Some potential defense strategies include:

  • Challenging the legality of the traffic stop
  • Questioning the accuracy of field sobriety and chemical tests
  • Investigating police misconduct or violation of your rights
  • Arguing mitigating factors for a reduced sentence

With so much at stake including potential jail time, heavy fines, license revocation, and a permanent criminal record, it’s wise to have an experienced advocate on your side. An experienced DUI/DWI lawyer will protect your rights and freedom, working tirelessly to minimize the consequences you face.

If you’ve been charged with drunk or impaired driving in the Baltimore County region, exercise your right to solid legal defense. Contact the team at Shepard Law today for a confidential, free consultation to discuss your options.

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