Maryland legislatures consider expanding ignition interlock law
Lawmakers in Maryland are considering passing a law that would require installation of an ignition interlock device for all drunk driving offenses.
Lawmakers in Maryland are considering a proposal to expand the use of ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of all who are convicted of a drunk driving offense. The proposal was under consideration shortly after the state passed a law in 2014 to increase the use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs). The 2014 law expanded the use of the devices from convictions for those with a BAC of 0.15 or higher to include those who are convicted of drunk driving while transporting a minor under the age of 16.
It appears legislatures are attempting to continue a push towards increased driving under the influence (DUI) penalties. The current proposal under consideration is referred to as the Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2015, but critics call it the “all offender ignition interlock law.” As the name suggests, the law would require that anyone convicted of a drunk driving offense install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles.
Current Ignition Interlock Law in Maryland
It is currently illegal to operate a vehicle with a BAC at or above 0.08. Those who are convicted of a DUI face the following penalties:
- First offense. Monetary fine up to $1,000 and/or one year imprisonment.
- Second offense. Monetary fine up to $2,000 and/or two years imprisonment.
- Third and subsequent offenses. Monetary fine of up to $3,000 and/or imprisonment of three years.
These penalties increase if a minor is in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
More on Maryland’s Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2015 proposal
Critics of the current penalty structure argue that Maryland is too lax on drunk driving offenses. One way to increase these penalties is to include mandatory use of IIDs. This is the purpose of the Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2015.
If passed, the law would require anyone who qualifies to install an IID for a minimum of six months. Drivers who are required to participate would be prohibited from operating a vehicle that does not have an IID in place. Those who drive a vehicle without an IID would be in violation of the law. A violation would be treated as a misdemeanor and would come with a maximum monetary penalty of $1,000 and/or one year imprisonment. Second and subsequent offenses would come with a maximum monetary penalty of $2,000 and/or two years imprisonment.
Impact of the proposal
The proposal provides an example of the evolving nature of DUI law in Maryland. The debate on the passage of the law and push to increase penalties associated with DUIs should serve as a reminder for those charged with a DUI crime to take the charges seriously. Defenses are available. Contact an experienced DUI/DWI defense lawyer to discuss your options and better ensure your rights are protected.
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