The Difference between a DWI and a DUI in Maryland

Distinguishing Driving Under the Influence from Driving While Intoxicated

The Difference between a DWI and a DUI in MarylandThe terms “DWI” and “DUI” often get used interchangeably to generally describe a criminal charge of drinking and driving. In the state of Maryland, though, they are different offenses with different elements and different penalties:

  • A person will be charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) if there’s a blood alcohol test that shows violation of state law, or there’s sufficient evidence to prove that the person was operating a vehicle while substantially impaired by alcohol or any controlled substance. Conviction on DUI charges carries a more substantial penalty, up to a year of incarceration and/or a $1,000 fine for the first offense.
  • A DWI can be charged if a person’s ability to drive was affected by alcohol. Conviction for a first offense will result in a maximum of two months in jail and a potential $500 fine

AV-Rated St. George’s County DUI/DWI Defense Attorney

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has more than three decades of hands-on experience successfully representing criminal defendants across the Baltimore metropolitan area and throughout the state of Maryland. He has been AV-rated (the highest possible) by other attorneys in Maryland under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System every year since 1988, and was named a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer Magazine. He’s earned Martindale-Hubbell’s Client Distinction Award, bestowed upon less than 4% of all attorneys listed in Martindale-Hubbell’s directory and has been among the top 100 lawyers in Maryland listed by Super Lawyers.

Smith has been included among the top 100 attorneys in Maryland by the National Trial Lawyers Association, a “by invitation only” professional organization. He has also earned a 10.0 (Superb rating) as a litigation attorney from AVVO, as well as AVVO’s Client’s Choice Award, with an average client review of 5 stars.

An experienced and respected trial attorney, Jonathan handles a wide range of criminal matters, including misdemeanors and felony charges. He knows how to effectively investigate a criminal charge, taking the time carefully gather, assess and preserve all evidence to support an acquittal. He is committed to protecting your constitutional rights and ensuring that police and prosecutors followed all required procedures when gathering evidence or detaining you. He’ll carefully question all potential witnesses, so that he can prepare and present the most effective arguments in your defense.

Baltimore, Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney

Contact our office by e-mail or call 410-740-0101 for an appointment. We represent criminal defendants in 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