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What is the difference between DUI and DWI in Maryland?

Though many laws regarding certain activities are similar across the states, each state can implement laws specific to its area. As a result, if you face criminal charges, it is important that you understand the specific details of the law in the area where the arrest took place.

Even if an officer pulls you over and accuses you of drinking and driving, the potential outcomes of this situation are not the same in every state. In fact, in Maryland, you could face different types of charges, including DUI or DWI, depending on your blood alcohol concentration level.

What's the difference between DUI and DWI?

Though many people may consider DUI and DWI the same offense, they are not the same under Maryland law. You could face a charge for driving while impaired by alcohol, or DWI, which is a lesser charge than DUI. A DWI could occur if your blood alcohol concentration level is 0.07%, which is below the per se legal limit. However, additional evidence of impairment is typically necessary in order for a conviction for DWI to occur, such as an officer seeing you swerve while driving.

When it comes to driving under the influence, you could face a charge if your blood alcohol concentration level is 0.08% due to the state's per se laws, and if you are under the age of 21, a DUI charge could result for a BAC of 0.02% due to the zero tolerance underage law.

What consequences could you face?

In the event that you do face a conviction for DUI or DWI, serious consequences could result. License suspension or revocation, alcohol education and treatment, vehicle confiscation and the installation of an ignition interlock device are all possible outcomes of a case that does not go in your favor. Of course, the chance for jail time and financial penalties also exist, even for a lesser DWI offense.

Though you may have had a few drinks with friends and still felt able to drive, officers may see such a situation differently. If you do stand accused of DUI or DWI in Maryland, it is important to understand your criminal defense options. Working with an attorney experienced in this area of law could allow you to have your questions and concerns addressed while also gaining support and advocacy throughout your criminal case. Having someone on your side could go a long way in defending against allegations.

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