What is the difference between DUI and DWI in Maryland?

Under Maryland law there are two different drunk driving offenses. One is driving while impaired and the other is driving under the influence. There are significant differences between the two offenses.

Therefore, it is important to understand the elements of each of these crimes so that you can be prepared if you one day find yourself facing such charges.


DUI is the offense most people imagine when they think of drunk driving. A person can be charged with drunk driving if they are operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. This constitutes drunk driving “per se,” which means the BAC reading alone is enough to prove the motorist was impaired.


DWI is a less severe offense compared to DUI. A person may face DWI charges if their BAC is at or above 0.07 percent. However, unlike a DUI, with a DWI there must be additional evidence that the motorist was impaired for him or her to be arrested and charged with DWI. For example, driving the wrong way down the street may be evidence that a motorist is impaired.


As this shows, what is needed to arrest and charge a person with drunk driving in Maryland varies whether the alleged offense is DWI or DUI. While a DWI is a lesser offense than a DUI, both can result in the suspension or revocation of one’s driver’s license, forced attendance at a mandatory alcohol education and treatment program, and imposition fines and jail time. Obviously, these are undesirable consequences for anyone who has been accused of climbing behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, those who are facing DUI or DWI charges will want to ensure they have the help they need to present a strong case in their favor.



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