DWI or DUI? What’s the Difference in Maryland?

What Are the Requirements? What Are the Potential Penalties?

DWI or DUI? What’s the Difference in Maryland?In many states, the terms “DUI” and “DWI” are used interchangeably to refer to virtually any charge involving drinking and driving. In Maryland, however, they refer to two distinction violations of the law.

Drive while impaired, or “DWI,” is the least serious of the drunk-driving offenses in Maryland. A person will generally be charged with driving while impaired if his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above .07%, but below .08%. In those situations, the decision to charge a person with a DWI is typically based on other signs of impairment, including the failure of a field sobriety test or visible evidence or impaired driving. Conviction on a DWI charge can lead to a 60-day jail term and a $500 fine for a first conviction, with the jail term extended to 12 months for subsequent convictions.

Driving under the influence (DUI), on the other hand, involves a traffic stop where the driver registers a BAC of .08% or higher. A first-time offender may potentially face a fine of $1,000 and a one-year jail sentence, and penalties for subsequent convictions may be as high as $5,000 and five years in prison. A DUI conviction will also typically lead to the accumulation of points on your driving record, which customarily leads, in turn, to increased insurance premiums.

Proven Carroll County Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer

For more than 30 years, attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has tenaciously fought for the rights of criminal defendants across Baltimore and throughout the state of Maryland, including people charged with DWI or DUI. SuperLawyers lists him among the top 100 lawyers in Maryland and The American Lawyer Magazine has also named him a Top-Rated Lawyer.

Jonathan carries an AV-rating (the highest possible) under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review

Rating System every year since 1988. He has also received Martindale-Hubbell’s coveted Client Distinction Award, given to less than 4% of all attorneys in Maryland. He enjoys a 10.0 (Superb rating) as a trial lawyer from AVVO and has also earned AVVO’s Client’s Choice Award, with an average client review of 5 stars.

A respected trial attorney, Jonathan brings an extensive knowledge of Maryland criminal law and procedure to every case, as well as considerable experience successfully handling a wide range of criminal cases. He knows how to effectively gather and preserve evidence and will take all necessary measures to ensure that law enforcement officers did not violate your constitutional rights.

Proven Baltimore County Criminal Defense Attorney

At the law offices of Jonathan Scott Smith, we fight for the rights of criminal defendants throughout Baltimore County and the surrounding communities. Contact us online or call 410-740-0101 to arrange a meeting. We handle cases throughout Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.


  • Jonathan Scott Smith 10490 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 200 ,Columbia, MD 21044-4960

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101