You hear the terms thrown around as though they are practically interchangeable: DUI and DWI. But the way they are used in everyday speech may not always be true to their actual definitions. While these two charges do share some similarities, they are not entirely identical and it is important to know the differences between them. Your go-to Maryland criminal defense lawyer is here to help you learn these differences and to understand how to best proceed if you are charged with either a DUI or a DWI.
Though the exact definition may vary from state to state, in Maryland a DUI is issued to an individual driving or attempting to drive under the influence of alcohol. In order to meet the requirements of a DUI, your blood alcohol content must be at a level of .08% or above. The Maryland criminal justice system regards a DUI as a particularly severe infraction, and so if charged with a DUI you will have 12 points marked against your license and will pay, for a first-time offense, a fine of $1,000.
DWI: Driving While Intoxicated
Of the two, a DWI is a relatively lesser charge, yet can still have serious consequences. A DWI can be issued in Maryland to a driver whose blood alcohol content is at .07%. Additionally, if an individual’s BAC is lower than .07% but a field sobriety test proves that they are unfit to drive, a DWI can be issued in these circumstances as well. The police officer judging your field sobriety test will have the final say in whether or not your level of intoxication qualifies for a DWI. A DWI also leads to points marked against your license, 8 in this case, and a fine of $500 for first-time offenses.
What are the Consequences of a DUI vs. a DWI?
While the nuances of these two charges keep them separate in some respects, in others there is plenty of overlap. For instance, your license can be revoked for either a DUI or DWI depending on the circumstances, and you can be arrested for either one as well. While this may seem like an unfair punishment for what may have been only a momentary lapse in judgment, you do have the resources to defend yourself if charged with a DUI or DWI. When you get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can work to ensure that a one-time mistake does not come to define the rest of your life and affect your chances of finding employment.
Bruce Robinson & Associates is a criminal defense law firm based in Baltimore, MD. If you have been accused of criminal actions and need to seek aggressive counsel, Robinson & Associates is here to help. For more information and to schedule your free consultation, give Robinson & Associates a call at 443-524-7395 or visit us at www.marylandcriminallawyer.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.