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What is a DUI or DWI in Maryland?

Drunk driving is an extremely hazardous choice to make as a driver. It is a carefully enforced crime specifically because of the harm it can cause. It is one of the few violent crimes in which the offenders have hurt or killed people with whom they never interacted.

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A Marylander is killed by a drunk driver every 58 hours. The Maryland State Police and local law enforcement agencies routinely enforce drinking under the influence and driving while intoxicated at traffic stops and habitual checkpoints throughout the Old Line State.

Although driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are often used interchangeably, they are legally two different types of drunk driving - at least in Maryland. A DUI means a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 percent or higher. DWI is a lesser crime, when a driver has a BAC level of .07 percent.

Underage drinking invokes Maryland's "zero-tolerance" policy, under which a driver below 21 with a BAC level of .02 percent or higher gets a DUI. Commercial drivers are also held to a higher standard, getting a DUI with a BAC level of .04 percent or higher.

Both DUI and DWI judgements net penalties in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, as well as possible jail time. Penalties are higher if children were present in the car being driven by the offender.

Victims of drunk driving, or the loved ones of those killed by the crime, may seek legal representation to ensure their voices are heard in the sentencing process and seek financial damages in civil courts or settlements.

Source: FindLaw, "What Are the Maryland DUI Laws?," accessed Sep. 27, 2017

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