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Maryland is a state known for its strict drunk driving laws, both in the scope and in the punishment. A single drink before getting behind the wheel can cause you to lose your license for six months, carry a fine, and send you to mandatory alcohol courses.

Everyone makes mistakes, and if you get arrested for a DUI or a DWI in the state of Maryland, you have the right to representation. Why hire Gritz, Hanifin & Shih? The state of Maryland doesn’t bar you from attempting to negotiate a lesser charge. An experienced legal team can make sure the penalties you face after a DUI or a DWI are not as serious as they could be. We have more than 50 years of experience fighting for the interests of Montgomery County clients arrested for a DUI or a DWI.


Like in many states, the Maryland penal code draws a distinction between different levels of intoxication. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is used when you’re cited for operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .04 to .08. For an average-size person, a .04 BAC is not difficult to achieve, as it only takes a few drinks in the span of an hour to reach DWI blood-alcohol levels.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) occurs when a person is found to be operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher. The penalties for DUI in the state of Maryland are harsher than for DWI, given the difference in consumption,


  • A first-offense DUI and DWI carry the same basic penalty. With both, offenders must give up their license to operate a vehicle for six months, and complete mandatory substance abuse courses before they’re allowed to be reinstated.
  • Neither first offense carries a mandatory incarceration sentence, but a DWI carries a potential sentence of up to two months in jail, while a DUI carries a potential sentence of up to a year. These penalties increase if offenders are transporting a minor at the time of their arrest.

Subsequent offenses may have serious implications on your ability to drive in the future, as well as mandatory jail time and major fines.a


When you’re arrested for DUI or DWI, an experienced lawyer can help lessen the penalties, which will benefit you both in the time after your arrest and in the future. The state of Maryland allows people with a DUI or DWI, in some cases, to plead their charges down to a reckless driving charge, which produces the following benefits:

  • Lessened penalties
  • A driving record without a DUI or DWI
  • The ability to get first-offense penalties for a DUI or DWI in the future

In our 30 years of representing clients against DUI or DWI charges, we’ve learned the circumstances that will allow us to get you a lesser charge. For example, if you were driving impaired but didn’t cause an accident or any serious damage, the court will usually allow you to plead down. The same goes in cases where your BAC was barely above the legal limit. This is especially important for commercial drivers, for whom the difference between a DWI/DUI and a reckless driving charge may cost their career.

Hiring Gritz, Hanifin & Shih will give you the experience that you need to reduce the penalties and protect your future. If you’re facing charges for a DUI or DWI, contact us today for a free case review.