DUI vs DWI in Maryland | Zirkin & Schmerling Law

What Happens When You’re Charged With DUI or DWI in Baltimore

driving under the influence

When we’re driving, we all have little lapses in judgment that can ruin our day.

Perhaps we’re in a hurry and aren’t aware we’re driving over the legal speed limit on our commute into Baltimore. Or maybe we need a reminder that we don’t always have to be driving over a speed limit to get a ticket in Maryland. Truth is, we usually don’t realize our error until we’re pulled over by law enforcement.

If we’re charged with a DUI or a DWI, though – that’s when the consequences of poor safety decisions while behind the wheel affect us differently.

In Maryland, DUI Means Driving Under The Influence

Maryland Code indicates the 21-902A1 citation – driving or intending to drive a vehicle under the influence of alcohol- is the highest DUI charge in the state. Under the Influence is not a misdemeanor like a DWI, Driving While Intoxicated. It means you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point where:

  • You cannot make decisions
  • You should not be driving
  • You are incapable of making good choices

Under sentencing guidelines in Maryland, your first offense for 21-902A1 results in jail time, a $1,000 fine and 12 points on your license. The 12 points can be a big deal and cause your license to be suspended or revoked. It can take up to two years to get points taken off your license.

But Wait – More Levels of DUI’s

Maryland has two additional levels of DUI charges. Although a lighter version of the 21-902A1, the 21-902A2 comes with the exact same penalties.

The third type of DUI citation is the 21-902A3 – which we rarely see, since people are usually charged with the A1 or A2. Drivers are charged with the 21-902A3 for driving or attempting to drive a vehicle while under the influence with a minor in the vehicle. This is considered especially egregious in Maryland and usually results in maximum penalties.

Penalties for the A2 and A3 are similar, although the A3 can add an additional $1,000 in fines. Subsequent offenses increase the penalties.

Possible Penalties For A DUI In Maryland

DUI Penalties First Offense Second Offense Third Offense
Jail Up to 1 year Up to 2 years Up to 3 years
Fines Up to $1000 Up to $2000 Up to $3000
License Suspension Up to 6 months Up to 9 months Up to 12 months

What it Means to Get a DWI in Maryland

In Maryland, Driving While Impaired is a lesser offense than Driving Under the Influence. When charged with a DWI, law enforcement considers you to be driving or attempting to drive a vehicle while impaired by alcohol and not at your best driving ability. 

Maryland law enforcement can charge you with a DWI if you are close to or slightly above the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08%. Most drivers are not aware that a BAC of .06% or .07% can still result in a charge of Driving While Impaired. Any BAC under .1% can result in a DWI charge while .1% and above automatically results in the more serious DUI charge.

Maryland’s Penalties of a DWI Charge

The maximum penalties for a DWI in Maryland are a $500 fine, 60 days in jail and eight points on your driver’s license. The points are standard and cannot be adjusted. The fines and possible jail time are up to a judge and can be adjusted. 

If you have top notch legal representation, a judge may consider what you do for a living, how you act in court and what you have done in the past when considering sentencing of fines and jail time.

Fines and jail time for both DUI and DWI are pretty straightforward penalties. Other retributions are less obvious.

  • Since Baltimore isn’t a city known for a great public transportation, the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license can cause far-reaching repercussions in your life, such as the loss of employment or even the inability to get basic needs like groceries.
  • In addition, a DWI conviction carries with it a stigma in other places. In some states for instance, DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated rather than impaired, and is considered the more serious offense. Seeing a DWI on your driving record could be assumed to be the equivalent of Maryland’s DUI conviction.  

Have a Legal Question About DUI/DWI Charges in Baltimore? We Have Answers.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI or DWI, the attorneys at Zirkin and Schmerling Law are experts at answering all your questions and guiding you through challenging process of Maryland drinking and driving law. We can help you minimize penalties and present the best representation of your case. Contact us or call us at 410-753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our DUI attorneys today.