For years in Maryland, “DWI” referred to the more serious charge, and “DUI” was the lesser charge.

To match what other States had done, Maryland switched the terminology. “DUI” now means Driving Under the Influence (of alcohol) and is the more serious charge. “DWI” now refers to Driving While Impaired (by alcohol) and is less serious. The main difference is that DUI can lead to one year in jail, and 60 days in jail is the maximum for DWI. If you are charged only with DWI, section 21-902(b), then you do not have the right to a trial by jury.

The “Drunk Driving” Statute

The main part of the statute, found in Transportation Article §21-902, reads as follows:

(a)(1) A person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
(a)(2) A person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while the person is under the influence of alcohol per se.

[“per se” is defined, under TR§ 11-174.1 as “having an alcohol concentration at the time of testing of 0.08 or more”]

(b)(1) A person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while impaired by alcohol.

(c) (1) A person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while he is impaired by any combination of drugs and alcohol

(d) (1) A person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while the person is impaired by any controlled dangerous substance

Penalties

TR § 27-101 (c) provides that a fine of not more than $ 500 or imprisonment for not more than 2 months or both can be imposed upon a conviction of § 21-902(b) (“Driving while impaired by alcohol”) or § 21-902(c) (“Driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcohol”).

TR § 27-101 (k) states that “any person who is convicted of a violation of [ ] § 21-902(a) (“Driving while under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of alcohol per se”) or § 21-902(d) [ ] (“Driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substance”) [ ] is subject to a fine of not more than $ 1,000, or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both.”