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What are the differences in drunk driving charges in Maryland?

Getting pulled over by the police when you are driving after drinking can be a horrible experience. When that happens, you might end up facing criminal charges. The charge you face, however, depends on a variety of factors, including your blood alcohol concentration when you are stopped.

Is there more than one drunk driving charge?

In Maryland, you can be charged with a driving under the influence or a driving while intoxicated. There are significant differences between these two charges. A DUI charge is the more serious charge, while a DWI is still serious but not as serious. Being charged with either of these can have a profound impact on every aspect of your life, so understanding the charges and consequences is vital if you find yourself in that predicament.

How are DWIs and DUIs determined?

A person charged with a DWI will generally have a BAC of .07, while a person charged with a DUI has to have a BAC of at least .08. In some cases, the officer's judgment is the deciding factor when it comes to what you will be charged with if your BAC is below .08. The results of a field sobriety test will likely play a part in the charge you receive.

What are the consequences?

The consequences for a DWI aren't as harsh as those for a DUI. For a DWI, you get eight points on your driver's license. Plus, you will get a fine of $500. For a DUI, your license will be immediately revoked because 12 points are added to your license. For a first DUI, the fine is $1,000. For the second, the fine doubles to $2,000.

Regardless of your BAC, if you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test when asked, your license will be confiscated and suspended. If you are found to be intoxicated or under the influence, you will be arrested and taken to jail to sober up. The time you spend there is dependent upon your level of intoxication.

Source: dmv.org, "DUI & DWI in Maryland" Aug. 22, 2014

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