What Are the Penalties for a DUI or DWI Charge?

In Maryland, police officers are constantly on the lookout for intoxicated drivers.  DUI and DWI charges are enforced on anyone who is caught driving impaired.  This strict enforcement is likely why Maryland has fewer drunk driving fatalities than other states, as well as why fatalities and serious injuries among drunk drivers are steadily declining.  Before making the decision to drive impaired, or if you’ve recently been arrested for doing so, it’s important to understand the penalties for a DUI or DWI charge in Maryland and how these penalties can be reduced. 

Difference Between a DUI and a DWI

If you are suspected of intoxicated driving, you will likely be asked to take a breath test to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC).  If your BAC is found to be above .08% (a “per se DUI”), or if you’re clearly and substantially impaired by drugs or alcohol, you will likely be charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence).  If your BAC is between .07% and .08%, or if your coordination is impaired to some extent by drugs or alcohol, you will likely be charged with a DWI (Driving While Impaired).  While the consequences for both can be severe, those with DWIs face lower fines and prison sentences than those with DUIs.

Penalties for a DUI and DWI

Penalties for a DUI and DWI depend on how many previous offenses you’ve had in the past ten years and include fines, jail time, points assigned to license (8 for DWIs, 12 for DUIs), and license suspension.  While penalties can be lowered with the help of an experienced attorney, those with a DUI and DWI can face up to:

DWI Charge
  1st Offense 2nd Offense
Fines $500 $500
Jail Time 2 Months 1 Year
License Suspension 6 Months 9 Months
DUI Charge
Fines $1,000 $2,000
Jail 1 Year 2 Years (5 Day Minimum)
License Suspension 6 Months 9 Months

Penalties can be significantly higher if you receive more than two offenses, you’re under the age of 21, or if there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.  License suspension can be avoided through Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program, which allows offenders to operate their vehicles after using a breath analyzer to check their sobriety. 

How Can Penalties for a DUI or DWI Be Reduced?

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
  • Phone: (443) 352-3201

  • Email: info@elawrencelaw.com

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