DUI or DWI: Which is Worse in Maryland?


People often use DUI and DWI interchangeably, but the two offenses are not the same in Maryland. DUIs and DWIs refer to quite different violations, and both have unique penalties. In short, a DWI is a less severe offense than a DUI. The following text provides further insight into why DUIs are worse, along with key points to understand the two better.


What is a DWI in Maryland?

A violation of driving while impaired, commonly called a DWI, is far less severe of a charge than a DUI. Both, however, are criminal charges. A driver could receive a DWI if their blood alcohol content (BAC) was found to be just under the legal limit of 0.08—usually between 0.07 and 0.08.

Often, drivers charged with DWI pass a breathalyzer test, but they might display other signs of impairment, such as:

  • Failing a field sobriety tests
  • Driving aggressively or at excessive speeds
  • Driving impaired by drugs, even legal drugs

If displaying any of these factors, a driver is seen as dangerous to themself and others under Maryland law. Anyone found guilty of DWI will face suspension of their driver’s license along with criminal penalties.

What are the Consequences of a DWI Charge?

Law enforcement in Baltimore and throughout the State of Maryland makes every effort in keeping intoxicated drivers off the roads. Drunk driving accidents result in severe injuries and fatalities that are entirely preventable. Any driver found to be driving while intoxicated or impaired will face strict penalties.

The consequences of a DWI charge include:

  • First offense: Can result in a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine
  • Subsequent offenses: Can result in up to one year in jail or a $500 fine

Additionally, drivers can receive an eight-point penalty on their driver’s license imposed by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration if they’re convicted of a DWI—at which point their license becomes suspended.

What is a DUI in Maryland?

Any driver found to have a BAC of 0.08 or higher is charged with driving under the influence, commonly called a DUI. This BAC limit of 0.08 is Maryland’s legal limit for alcohol. Any driver found to have a BAC at this rate or higher faces severe penalties that include lengthy jail sentences, hefty fines, and a rescinded driver’s license.

What are the Consequences of a DUI Charge?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 30 people are killed every day from drunk driving accidents. While this rate is far too high, it has gone down over the years, mainly due to law enforcement across the country exerting a tremendous amount of energy to prevent and deter others from drunk driving. When a person’s BAC is found to be at or over the legal limit of 0.08, they are charged with a DUI and face severe penalties that can impact the rest of their life.

The consequences of a DUI charge include:

  • First offense: Can result in up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1,000
  • Second offenses: Can result in a maximum two-year jail sentence and a $2,000 fine
  • Third or subsequent violation: Can result in up to three years in jail and a $3,000 fine

Like with a DWI charge, the MVA levies points on the driver’s license of anyone found guilty of DUI. Rather than eight points, however, a DUI charge can result in a rigid 12 points, which is enough to revoke a Maryland driver’s license for a time.

Contact an Experienced Baltimore DUI/DWI Attorney

Both DUI and DWI charges can result in severe consequences. Suppose you are found guilty of either offense. In that case, the violation goes on your criminal record, and in addition to losing your license, you may suffer severe penalties that can dramatically affect your future.

If you’re facing a DUI or DWI charge in Maryland, do not delay securing trusted legal counsel. Attorney Hillel Traub of The Law Office of Hillel Traub is committed to fighting for his clients’ rights and freedoms in Baltimore and surrounding communities. Attorney Hillel Traub formerly served as the Assistant Attorney General for the MVA and now uses his insight and experience to skillfully advocate for his clients.

To schedule a free consultation with Attorney Traub to discuss your legal matter, complete a contact form or call today at (410) 580-1100.