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The differences between a DUI and a DWI

| May 8, 2020 | DUI/DWI |

Many people in Maryland enjoy an alcoholic drink from time to time. Drinking alcohol can be a nice way to unwind or to have while enjoying time with friends and family. Drinking by itself is not a problem for the most part, but the decisions people make when they drink too much can have some consequences. People could start fights and say things they regret later or embarrass themselves in front of others. People also can make decisions which can get them in trouble with the law.

One of those decisions is to get behind the wheel and drive after drinking too much. If people get pulled over, they could be charged with a DUI or a DWI. Both of these potential charges could result in criminal convictions, but there are differences between them.

People could be charged with a DWI (driving while impaired) if their BAC is .07 or above, while in order to be charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) their BAC must be .08 or above.

The potential consequences are also different as well. For a first-time DWI a person could be sentenced to up to two months in jail and pay up to a $500 fine. People could also have their license suspended for 60 days. For a first-time DUI, people could be sentenced to jail for up to one year, pay up to a $1,000 fine and have their license revoked for six months. The potential consequences only get more severe for subsequent DUIs and DWIs.

However, people only realize these potential consequences if they are convicted of a DUI or DWI. There are potential defenses that may be available to people depending on the circumstances. These potential defenses often start with whether the police officer had a valid reason to stop a person’s vehicle.

There are many reasons that people in Maryland drink alcohol and there is nothing illegal about it. However, if they decide to drive after consuming too much, they risk being charged with a DWI or DUI. People who are charged are still considered innocent until proven guilty though and there may be defenses available to them. Experienced attorneys understand these potential defenses and could guide one through the process.