The Differences Between DWI and DUI in Maryland


Many people in the state of Maryland confuse DWI and DUI offenses. While they are both drinking and driving offenses, there are several key differences between each of them. In this blog, we provide clarity and distinguish between the two offenses and their potential consequences.

Defining DUI

DUI stands for driving under the influence. It is the more severe of the two Maryland drinking and driving offenses. Police officers reserve the right to stop drivers suspected of driving under the influence to perform field sobriety tests or a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test. The threshold BAC for a DUI offense is .08. Drivers at or above this level will receive the offense.

Defining DWI

Driving while impaired (DWI) is the less severe of the two types of drinking and driving offenses. Maryland considers an individual with a BAC of .07 – .08 to be impaired by alcohol, and drivers who test with this BAC will be given the offense. Additionally, drivers who are within the legal BAC limit and fail other field sobriety tests may also be charged with the offense.

DWI and DUI Consequences

DWI and DUI offenses are both quite serious in the state of Maryland, and a host of criminal penalties and license sanctions are attached to each.

First time DUI offenders can receive the following punishments:

  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Up to one year of imprisonment
  • Twelve points assessed to driving record
  • Potential mandatory attendance and participation in an alcohol abuse assessment and program

First time DWI offenders can receive the following punishments:

  • A fine of up to $500.
  • Up to two months imprisonment
  • Eight points assessed to driving record

These penalties are subject to an increase in severity after multiple offenses, or if a minor was present at the time of the offense.

We Can Help You Avoid a Conviction or Minimize Your Punishment

There are facts about each specific case that can significantly reduce penalties if an experienced attorney who understands this area of law presents the case. The Law Office of Elizabeth A. Lawrence offers high-quality legal representation, personal attention, and professionalism to help defend the harsh penalties of DWIs, DUIs, and other serious traffic offenses in Maryland and District of Columbia. Click here or call (410) 986-0088 to consult with an experienced attorney today.

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    Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence, LLC.
  • Address: 90 Painters Mill Road Suite 201 Owings Mills, Maryland 21117
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