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What’s the difference between DUI and DWI?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2020 | Firm News

Maryland drivers face many dangers on the highways and streets, and drunk drivers are one of the most common. In fact, in an average year, more than 150 people in this state die and hundreds more suffer injuries in alcohol-related accidents.

With these ominous statistics in mind, it is no surprise that state lawmakers continue to toughen the laws related to drunk driving. While the intentions are noble, these tougher laws can result in arrests based on subjective evidence and faulty testing.

What charges will you face?

The crux of a drunk driving charge is often the blood alcohol content. In Maryland, as in most other states, a BAC of .08 is the legal standard for impairment. In fact, if a driver’s BAC is .08 or higher, the law presumes he or she is impaired even if police observe no other evidence of impairment. For a non-commercial driver over the age of 21, a .08 BAC will probably result in a DUI charge.

DUI, driving under the influence of alcohol, is a serious offense and can lead to fines, license suspension, and the potential for jail if a court convicts you. However, even if your BAC is below the legal limit, you may still face charges. DWI, driving while impaired, is a lesser but still serious charge that is often based on the observations of police. If officers claim you have slurred speech, your eyes are red or you fail field sobriety tests, you may face DWI charges even with a lower BAC.

The evidence against you

Even though the breath test may provide officers with the evidence they need to charge you with DUI, you may not refuse to take a breath or blood test once police have arrested you. To do so will result in the immediate surrender of your license. In Maryland, all those convicted of DUI charges must install ignition interlock systems in their vehicles to regain their driving privileges.

You have a lot at stake when authorities charge you with DUI or DWI. A conviction for drunk driving can mean hardships in many areas of your life in addition to the immediate penalties and loss of driving privileges. If you are facing DUI or DWI charges, you will not want to handle these delicate matters on your own. Having a skilled attorney on your side may improve your chances of obtaining the most positive outcome possible in your situation.