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DUI vs DWI, how do they differ in Maryland?

Driving under the influence (DUI) and Driving while impaired, (DWI) are two different offenses in Maryland that share common elements, and often arise from the same conduct. If you have been charged with a drinking and driving case, chances are that you've been charged with both DUI and DWI and you'd like to know the difference between DUI vs DWI Maryland. Below we will discuss how they differ, and what the applicable penalties for each is.

Who charges DUI/DWI cases?

A driving under the influence charge, or driving while impaired charge, is a criminal traffic offense in the State of Maryland. DUI/DWI cases are prosecuted by the State of Maryland, by a prosecutor who works for the county in which the driving occurred. DUI charges can be brought by any Police agency in Maryland, including Maryland State Police, a local Sheriff, or Maryland Transit Authority officers who suspect a driver is drunk and behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. These agencies are focused on dui and dwi prevention in maryland.

Officers charge drunk driving offenses by stopping a vehicle, and developing a case against a driver through field sobriety testing. If an officer feels that they have seen enough indicators of impairment during the field sobriety testing, then they will ask a driver to submit to a chemical breath test, using an intoximeter that is designed to show a driver's blood alcohol content. Refusal to submit to this breath test may have additional licensing penalties like mandatory ignition interlock, but may strengthen a defense to criminal charges under Maryland law.

Maryland's drunk driving laws aren't simple, but the article below seeks to simplify their differences. If you're wondering what is dui v dwi, read more below.

What makes a DWI?

DWI charges are a lesser version of a drunk driving DUI charge in Maryland. Driving while impaired requires that the State prove similar elements to a DUI charge:

  1. The State must prove a person was driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle

  2. The State must prove a person was impaired by alcohol.

Impairment by alcohol is defined as: impairment of a person's normal motor coordination to some extent. It is important to note that even if there is evidence a person consumed alcohol, they are not presumed to be guilty unless their motor coordination was actually affected!

What are the "Legal Limits in Maryland" for the purposes of DUI and DWI?

Driving under the influence per se is charged when a driver's blood alcohol concentration is over .08, resutling from a chemical breath test on an intoximeter. If a driver's blood alcohol concentration is under .08 but over .07, a presumption that a person was Driving while impaired is created according to Maryland law. This presumption can be overcome by the Defense in a dwi trial. IF your case involves bac in maryland, then you may have been charged with a perse offense.

What are the penalties for a DWI Conviction?

Maryland DUI Penalty chart

Repeat DWI/DUI charges in Maryland increase the potential for incarceration for a driver.

  • A first DWI in Maryland carries a maximum penalty of 60 days of incarceration, a $500 fine, and 8 points on a person's license.

  • A second DWI in Maryland carries a maximum penalty of one year of incarceration, a $500 fine, and 8 points on a person's license.

  • A third DWI in Maryland carries a maximum criminal penalty of five years of incarceration, a $500 fine, and 8 points on a person's license.

Any subsequent DWI convictions could carry additional penalties of up to ten years of incarceration.

So what makes a DUI charge?

To prove a DUI charge in Maryland, the State must show:

  1. A Person was driving, or attempting to drive a motor vehicle;

  2. A person was under the influence of alcohol.

To prove a person is under the influence of alcohol, the State must prove that alcohol has substantially impaired a person's normal coordination. This can be proven thorugh a breath sample over the legal limit of .08

What are the penalties for a DUI Conviction?

  • A first offense DUI in Maryland carries a maximum penalty of one year of incarceration, a $1,000 fine, and 12 points on a person's license.

  • A second offense DUI in Maryland carries a maximum penalty of two years of incarceration, a $2,000 fine, and 12 points on a person's license.

  • A third DUI in Maryland carries a maximum criminal penalty of five years of incarceration, a $500 fine, and 8 points on a person's license.

Any subsequent DUI convictions could carry additional penalties of up to ten years of incarceration.

How is DUI different from DWI?

The distinction between the two offenses is the degree to while a person's normal motor coordination is reduced as a result of drinking alcohol. Often DWI charges are offered as a reduced plea in cases involving no breath test..

What should I do if I've been charged?

The most important thing to do if charged with a DUI is to discuss your case with a qualified DUI lawyer. Whether it's a first dui or a third, it's important to have a lawyer on your side. Every case is unique when dealing with DUI vs DWI in Maryland, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to DUI/DWI cases.

Discussing your case with your attorney will help you understand the licensing consequences of your case, best defenses, and how to prepare your dui case for trial.

Failure to speak with a lawyer could result in overlooking:

We are experienced DUI/DWI Lawyers

Max Friz

Max Frizalone has built a solid reputation as a DUI specailist having tried cases in nearly every jurisdiction in the State of Maryland. Max has secured acquittals both by jury and by Judge in numerous counties as both a private attorney and during his tenure as a Public Defender. Max understands the intricacies of DUI cases, and defends every client with the same tenacity he brings to each consultation. Max possesses the unique ability to identify strong legal defenses that may exist within a case, which many times result in a reduction or dismissal of charges. Max has handled allegations of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs, and vehicular manslaughter resulting from driving under the influence. Max is unafraid of taking a case to trial, which has earned him the respect of numerous States Attorney's Offices, and judges alike. Max has been trained by some of the best litigators in the United States, including the famous Roy Black.

Luke Woods

Luke Woods is a veteran trial attorney with over two decades of purely criminal defense experience. Luke held numerous roles in the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps (Army JAGS), and thereafter served as a District Public Defender for Calvert County for over a decade. Luke has tried hundreds of criminal traffic offenses, including countless DUI cases. Luke has a knack for expecting the unexpected, and always has an ace in his sleeve to deliver the Court. Luke has secured not guilty verdicts, acquittals, and dismissals for a wide array of cases to include DUI cases. Just like Max Frizalone, Luke is well versed in the ins and outs of DUI defense, and is able to identify and analyze legal and factual defenses early on in a case.

What are the licensing penalties for DUI and DWI?

DUI and DWI convcitions carry serious licensing penalties, including a possible license suspension. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration controls license suspensions relating to DUI and DWI breath tests, and DUI and DWI convictions. you may need to participate in ignition interlock as a result of a DUI or DWI charge. Maryland DWI and Maryland DUI licensing penalties are shown in the chart below:

Maryland DWI Licensing Suspension Chart

Why choose FrizWoods?

Our firm is capable of handling any DUI or DWI case, whether its dui cases greenbelt md, or Calvert County DUI cases. Max and Luke have developed the skills necessary to defend DUI cases, it's all they do.