DUI and DWI lawyers near Baltimore are often asked how the two charges differ. While both charges are serious offenses that require help from a law firm, there are some important differences. If you have been charged with drunk driving, speak directly to an attorney at law. Here is a simple guide to some of the differences between DWI and DUI.
A DWI, or driving while intoxicated, charge means that the defendant’s blood alcohol level was determined to be at 0.07% or higher. DWI is usually charged when someone is less intoxicated but fails a field sobriety test. Because the officer’s opinion plays a major role, DUI attorneys can challenge police judgment. A DUI is issued for individuals with a BAC of over 0.08% and is generally issued after a breathalyzer or blood test is performed.
For the first DUI offense, individuals must generally pay a $1,000 fine. A second DUI offense carries a stiff $2,000 penalty. Conversely, DWI fines are significantly lower. First-time DWI offenders pay $500—and pay $500 again should they offend a second time. After a third DWI charge, penalties increase.
If you don’t hire a DUI attorney and lose your DUI or DWI case, you can also plan on losing your license. A first-time DUI mandates license revocation of six months, and your license can be revoked for up to one year after a second offense. For your first DWI conviction, you can count on a suspended license for up to 60 days. Second-time offenders cannot drive for up to 120 days.
Even first-time DWI offenders can face prison time of up to two months. A second DWI conviction can put you behind bars for an entire year. For DUIs, the penalties are even stiffer. Even a single DUI carries a prison sentence of up to a year. Second-time offenders face mandatory minimum sentences of five days—with a maximum of two years.
If your license is revoked due to either a DUI or DWI conviction, you may also be required to attend an Alcohol Education Program before you can even apply for a new license. These programs also analyze each person to determine whether alcohol abuse may exist. If the division finds alcohol abuse, they can force you to undergo a treatment program.