FAQ on DUI/DWI

What is the difference between DUI and DWI?
  • Usually defendants are given citations for both DWI and DUI when they are arrested. The State usually proceeds on a DWI if there is no breath result, or a breath result of .07 to .08. However, if there is a breath result of .08 or higher, the State usually proceeds on the DUI charge.
  • A DUI is the more serious charge. Driving Under the Influence of alcohol is the basic drunk driving charge in our state. You may face this charge if you are found to have a blood alcohol level that is .08% or higher.
  • A DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated and is slightly less serious than the DUI. DWI is the charge that applies when you are under the .08% legal limit but are still considered impaired.
  • The penalties for these charges differ as well. With a DUI you could face up to a year in jail while a DWI has a maximum penalty of 2 months. Your fine and driver’s license suspension will also be greater with the DUI charge.
Will I lose my license as a result of a DUI/DWI arrest? 
  • Typically, following a DUI arrest, you are given a temporary license to drive for the next 45 days. At that time, you have 10 days, but no more than 30 days, to schedule a hearing with the MVA to attempt to maintain your driving privileges. If you do not request the hearing within 10 days, your license will be suspended on the 46th day following your arrest. If you do not request a hearing within 30 days, you are no longer eligible for a hearing except in unusual circumstances. This is why it is crucial that you immediately contact an attorney to help with this and your criminal charges.
  • All DUI and DWI offenses add points to your license. The accumulation of points can have a range of effects, including the inability to get car insurance.
Should I take the breathalyzer?
  • You have the right to refuse.
  • In Maryland evidence of refusal to take a breathalyzer test is admissible only where it is material and relevant to a matter other than guilt or innocence.
  • However, if you refuse, the State has a right to impose a hefty consequence for your refusal. Even if you are later found “not guilty” of the charge, your license will be suspended for 120 days (for a first refusal) to 1 year (for subsequent refusals) for refusing to take the breath test.
What is the preliminary breathalyzer test?
  • When you are pulled over, a police officer offers a portable [preliminary] breathalyzer at the scene. This breathalyzer tells the officer if you are over the legal limit of .08 or not. However this portable breathalyzer is not able to be used by the State against you in court because it does not meet the scientific specific standards of validity and reliability. You have a right to have your lawyer come to the police station, where he/she can advise you whether or not to take the breathalyzer based upon a portable breathalyzer he or she may have. Not all lawyers who represent DUI/DWI defendants have a portable breathalyzer. We do. Call us at 410-730-4404.
  • You have 2 hours to decide whether or not to take the breathalyzer test.

CALL the LAW OFFICE OF FREDRIC G. ANTENBERG for more information!