Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are often used interchangeably. However, in each state – including Maryland – there are often important differences between these two crimes. One such example is the sentencing that comes with a guilty verdict or plea, as there is an important distinction between the two.
What are the penalty differences?
DWI is the less serious of the two crimes. For your first DWI, the maximum offense is a $500 fine and up to two months in jail. You will also gain eight points on your driving record and may have your driver’s license suspended for up to six months. A second offense results in similar fines and up to a year in prison.
For DUI, the penalties are starker. You can be fined up to $1,000, have twelve points added to your driver’s license, and have your license revoked for up to six months. You may even face up to a year in jail. Successive arrests and convictions will add to the fine, jail time, points, and license suspensions. If you are convicted of two DUIs in a five-year period, you will have to participate in an Ignition Interlock Program, which requires you to breathe into a device before driving in order to prove your sobriety.
If you are accused of DUI or DWI, it is important that you hire competent legal counsel to help you address these charges and make sure to keep your legal penalties to a minimum.
Remember, the best way to avoid being arrested for either of these crimes is to drive responsibly and not consume any intoxicating substances before driving.