Maryland Lawmakers Consider Changes to Ignition Interlock Laws

Ignition interlock devices have become more popular across the country as lawmakers look for a way to decrease the number of people who drink and drive. When an ignition interlock device is installed in a vehicle, the driver must supply a breath sample before it allows the car to start. If the device registers alcohol in the sample, the car will not engage. The driver must also supply more breath samples at random intervals while driving. Maryland lawmakers are considering a law that would increase the number of people who would have to use ignition interlock devices after DUI convictions.

Maryland Ignition Interlock Law

Currently, a Maryland driver must use ignition interlock if:

  • The driver’s blood alcohol concentration test result was 0.15 percent or higher
  • The driver was convicted of a prior DUI within the previous five years
  • The driver was under 21 years old at the time of the offense

Proposed Change to the Law

The proposed bill would require drivers who were convicted of DUI with minors in the car to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles, even for a first offense. Authorities say the change is needed because Washington Regional Alcohol Program statistics reveal that citations for drunk driving with children in the car have increased by 10 percent since 2010.

The bill would also double the penalties for a DUI conviction with a minor in the car. Under the proposed law, a driver would face:

  • Two years in prison and a $2,000 fine for a first offense
  • Four years in jail and a $4,000 fine for a second offense
  • Six years in prison and a $6,000 fine for a third offense

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the bill in late February 2012.

Consult an Attorney

The proposed change to Maryland’s ignition interlock laws shows how seriously authorities take drunk driving offenses. If you are facing DUI charges, talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help defend your rights.

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