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Bill proposes stricter ignition interlock laws for MD drunk drivers

A new bill in Maryland would require all drivers convicted of drinking and driving to use an ignition interlock device.

According to WBOC16, the Maryland General Assembly is currently looking at a bill that would strengthen the penalties convicted drunk drivers in the state face. If this bill is passed, those convicted of drunk driving with a blood alcohol concentration level at or above 0.08 would have to use an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Under this bill, those who do not complete or participate in the ignition interlock program may have their driver’s license suspended.

Current ignition interlock requirements

Currently in Maryland, according to WBOC16, the state’s ignition interlock law applies only to drivers convicted of operating a vehicle with a BAC level at or above 0.15. Those who are required to use one of these devices in their car after a DUI arrest are responsible for all costs associated with the program, states the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. These expenses may include the installation of the system and monthly maintenance costs. Additionally, drivers required to use an ignition interlock device may have to pay to obtain a restricted driver’s license.

The Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization states that an ignition interlock system is a small device, about the size of a cellphone, that is installed into a vehicle’s ignition. In order to start his or her vehicle, a convicted drunk driver must blow into this device. If the device detects a measurable amount of alcohol in the driver’s system, he or she will be unable to start the vehicle.

Other DUI penalties in Maryland

The potential requirement to use an ignition interlock device is just one of the penalties criminal defendants face after receiving a DUI. In Maryland, these penalties depend on the number of prior DUI offenses on the driver’s record. For example, according to the Maryland MVA, those who are arrested for drinking and driving for the first time may face the following penalties:

  • The requirement to pay a fine that does not exceed $1,000
  • A jail sentence of up to one year
  • A license revocation period of six months in addition to 12 points added to their driver’s license

Comparatively, drivers who commit their second DUI offense may have to pay a fine of up to $2,000 and spend at least five days in jail. Second-time DUI offenders may also have their driver’s license revoked for a period of 12 months.

Contact an attorney

Regardless of whether it is a Maryland driver’s first DUI offense or his or her third, the penalties associated with drinking and driving are severe. If you were recently arrested for intoxicated driving, speak with an attorney to find out what you can do to assert your legal rights.

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