It can be confusing to hear that there are both DWI and DUI charges in the state of Maryland. That is because not every state across the country will have separate DWI and DUI charges. People may use these terms interchangeably but this could generate confusion in the state of Maryland because Maryland is extremely unique in this way.
Each of these charges is distinct across Maryland and can lead to different penalties as well. Typically, a defendant who is arrested will be given a citation for both DUI and DWI.
Usually the state will pursue charges on a DWI if the offer did not obtain a breath result or if the breath result reads between 0.07 to 0.08. However, in the event that your breath result test is 0.08 or higher, the state will usually move forward with a DUI charge. A DWI represents driving while intoxicated and it’s considered somewhat less serious than a DUI. DWI is usually applied when you breath test under .08 but are still classified as impaired.
A DUI, however, is a more serious charge in the state of Maryland. Driving under the influence of alcohol is the charge typically applied if you have a blood alcohol level content of 0.08 or higher. A DWI has a max jail time of 2 months but a DUI carries up to one year in jail.
Your driver’s license suspension and your fine will also be higher with a DUI charge. This is one of the reasons that it is so important to identify an experienced DWI or DUI attorney in Maryland as soon as possible after you’ve been charged.
No matter how you’ve been charged, you have to protect your rights. The officer who has charged you might lead you to believe that complying and providing further information is in your best interests, but that’s rarely the case. You need someone who can help you figure out the next steps to take to defend yourself. There’s too much on the line to risk trying to handle your case on your own. You need to understand the charges and to identify a defense strategy.