Drunk driving laws in Maryland are no joke. While many people commonly misconstrue a DUI or DWI as a basic moving violation, the reality is they are serious criminal offenses punishable by fines, loss of license and even jail time.
People accused of driving under the influence are sometimes unaware that having a lawyer represent them is vital to staying out of jail and on the road.
While people are constantly bombarded with facts and information about the dangers of driving under the influence, drivers often don’t know the basic facts about this criminal offense. One of the more common questions asked by drivers is, “What’s the difference between a DUI vs. DWI?”
In regard to Maryland DUI law, determining the type of charge depends on the levels of alcohol in your system at the time of testing. The arresting officer’s judgment on the level of driver impairment is another factor.
According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, DUI vs. DWI is determined by the following guidelines:
- Driving under the influence (DUI) is driving with a blood alcohol concentration between .04 and .08
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.
These numbers may seem high, but there are a variety of biological factors that impact the level of alcohol in your bloodstream. This includes height, weight, age and gender. Another factor is how much time has passed from your last drink to when you were arrested.
While the DUI and DWI differences are determined by blood alcohol level, the penalties you’ll face when charged with either may include:
- Fines of more than $500
- Possible suspension of driving privileges for more than 4 months
- Jail time that could last up to one year
As you can see, being charged with a DUI in Maryland carries penalties and fines that have immediate, and long lasting, impact on your driving record, insurance premiums, reputation and your employment opportunities.
As we’ve noted, drunk driving laws in Maryland are severe, so it’s a smart idea to hire a lawyer if you’re facing these charges. In addition to helping you navigate the court systems, a lawyer with knowledge of DUI laws can help reduce the charges against you, and in some cases have the charges dropped entirely.
Another important fact to remember is that when you are arrested for DUI or DWI, your license is immediately confiscated, and can be suspend for up to four months or longer.
Being unable to drive could keep you from reporting to your job and result in termination. Even the most every day tasks – picking up your children from school – might be severely impacted.
Drunk driving is dangerous to you and everyone else on the road. Even if you perceive that you’re sober, Maryland DUI laws are unforgiving. If you’re ever in doubt, call a taxi or have someone drive you.
DUI or DWI charges should never be taken lightly, and hiring a competent lawyer is an excellent idea. The right legal counsel can work with the courts to possibly lessen the charges and arrange for lighter sentencing. Don’t let one mistake ruin the rest of your life.