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Maryland DUI Definitions

The numerous terms and definitions associated with DUI charges in the state of Maryland can be confusing. In order to fully understand all these various terms and how they might be relevant to your case, you should consult with a dedicated Maryland DUI attorney.

Basic Definitions

BAC: Blood Alcohol Content / Blood Alcohol Concentration

Blood alcohol content is also known as blood alcohol concentration or blood alcohol level. This is a way of measuring alcohol intoxication for legal or medical purposes. The level of impairment may vary slightly between individuals with the same BAC, but it is still a useful system of measure.

DUI: Driving Under the Influence

This drunken driving offense is committed when someone who either has a BAC of at least .08 percent or is under the age of 21 with a BAC of at least .02 percent is operating a motor vehicle.  The penalties for DUI depend on the circumstances and whether it is a first or repeat offense. For more information on the penalties, visit the Maryland DUI Penalties Page by clicking here.

DWI: Driving While Impaired

This drunken driving offense is committed when someone with a BAC of at least .06 percent is operating a motor vehicle. If the driver’s BAC is on the lower side but they fail the field sobriety tests administered by law enforcement officials they may end up with a DWI charge.

Maryland Sobriety Tests

Police officers can use several different chemical tests to determine someone’s BAC. In Maryland, the laws state that if you are driving you automatically agree to undergo a chemical test to measure your blood alcohol content. Below is a list of the more common methods and how they are used in DUI and DWI cases.

BREATHALYZER

Breathalyzer devices estimate the percentage of alcohol someone’s blood contains via a breath sample. Breathalyzer itself is the name brand for this type of instrument, which was invented by Robert Frank Borkenstein in the 1950s. Breathalyzers measure the amount of alcohol in the blood based on a chemical reaction that occurs with alcohol in a breath sample.

INTOXYLIZER

Intoxylizer refers to an electronic type of breath analyzer that uses infrared spectroscopy to identify molecules based on the way they absorb infrared light. The amount of infrared light absorbed helps determine how much ethanol is present in one’s breath.

INTOXIMETER

This breath analysis device developed by Alco-Sensor uses fuel cell technology to test the breath for alcohol. Basically, the fuel cell technology produces an electronic current via the chemical reaction with alcohol, which measures the breath alcohol content and therefore determines the BAC.

PBT: PRELIMINARY BREATH TEST

Preliminary breath test refers to the officer at the scene using an alcohol breath test kit or a breathalyzer to screen a driver’s sobriety. Refusal to take the test usually leads to revocation of the driver’s license until more accurate BAC tests can be administered. Since preliminary breath tests are of questionable accuracy, more formal breath, urine, or blood samples may be taken later on for a more accurate determination of the driver’s intoxication level. The preliminary test is simply an on-site tool to provide police officers with reasonable suspicion that someone has committed a DUI or DWI offense. A stationary breath test taken at the police station, or a blood or urine sample, would more likely be considered as proof of DUI or DWI in court.

Call a Maryland DUI Lawyer Today

Maryland DUI attorney Kush Arora’s years of experience with drunk driving cases make him highly qualified when it comes to building a strong defense. He is familiar with all the aspects surrounding DUI or DWI offenses, giving him an advantage in recognizing the admissibility of the proof prosecutors will likely try to use against you. Having such a dedicated criminal defense lawyer on your side gives you the best possible chance for success. Call Kush Arora’s Maryland law office today at (301) 761-4842 for a free case evaluation.