If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense, you might be confused about those two very similar acronyms. You’re probably wondering: What is the difference between DUI and DWI in Maryland? Is one more serious than the other? Do their consequences differ in any way?
In essence, DUI and DWI are just convenient acronyms used by the court. In order to understand their differences, you must break them down and examine what each element of the acronym means. This area of the law is mostly concerned with determining whether a driver is under the influence of or impaired by a substance (such as alcohol or drugs) while operating a motor vehicle.
What Is The Difference Between DUI and DWI In Maryland?
We all know that the “D” in DUI/DWI stands for “driving.” But Maryland has applied a more thorough definition to what it means to be driving. Under DUI law in Maryland, to “drive” means: “to drive, operate, move, or be in actual physical control of a vehicle, including the exercise of control over or the steering of a vehicle being towed by a motor vehicle.“ That definition may seem slightly confusing, but the most important thing to remember is that you can be convicted of a DUI/DWI without ever putting a vehicle in motion.
In order to understand the difference between DUI and DWI in Maryland, you should know the legal meaning of the terms “under the influence” and “while impaired.” Both of these crimes require that the person’s normal coordination is reduced because they consumed alcohol. To be “under the influence,” a person’s normal coordination has to be substantially impaired by a substance. To be “impaired,” a person’s normal coordination would have to be harmed only to some extent.
Finally, DUI and DWI are not simply reserved for drunk driving. You can also be guilty of this crime if you use drugs, whether they are prescribed or illegally obtained.
If you feel like you need some legal help, contact our DUI Law attorney to schedule a free case evaluation today.FREE CASE EVALUATION
Types Of DUI
In fact, Maryland DUI law recognizes 5 separate kinds of DUI and DWI. The standard penalties for DWI and DUI in Maryland differ depending on the severity of the charge. The 5 types of DUI and DWI are:
- Driving under the Influence of Alcohol
- Driving under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se
- Driving while Impaired by Alcohol
- Driving while Impaired by Alcohol and Drugs
- Driving while Impaired by Controlled Dangerous Substances.
The charge you will face is established by a variety of means, including DUI/DWI breath tests.
If you are found guilty of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se, or Driving While Impaired by Controlled Dangerous Substances, you will face 12 points on your license and a maximum penalty of 1 year and a $1000 fine for a first offense, 2 years and $2000 for a second offense, and 3 years and $3000 for a third offense.
If found guilty of Driving While Impaired by Alcohol or Driving While Impaired by Alcohol and Drugs, you will receive 8 points on your license, as well as a maximum penalty of 60 days for a first offense and 1 year for any subsequent offense. The difference between DUI and DWI in Maryland, then, often comes down to the varying penalties given for each.
The knowledgeable attorneys at Zirkin and Schmerling Law are well acquainted with the difference between DUI and DWI in Maryland. They can explain the nuances of the law and help you achieve the best possible outcome in court. To set up your free initial consultation, please call us at 410-753-4611