Drunk driving laws in Maryland have been around for years, but a new one inspired by a police officer will soon be taking effect. On October 1, 2016, Noah’s Law will require all motorists convicted of DUI or DWI to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. Police officer Noah Leotta was struck and killed by a drunk driver in December 2015 while patrolling as part of a DUI task force. According to reports, the offender had been drinking beer and whiskey for several hours prior to the incident, and had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .22 percent – almost three times the legal limit. Officer Leotta was 24 years old.
If you’re facing charges for drunk driving in Maryland, here’s what you need to know about Noah’s Law
Current Law on DUI and DWI: If you’re pulled over by a police officer, you may be required to give a breathalyzer test. Maryland makes a distinction between driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI).
- You may be charged with DWI if you have a BAC between .04 and .07 percent; and,
- A DUI applies if you have a BAC above .08 percent.
In addition, you can be charged with drunk driving if:
- You are under 21 years old and the test reveals a BAC of .02 percent; or,
- You hold a commercial driver’s license and have a BAC of .04 percent.
Penalties and Interlock Ignition Devices: Under current Maryland law, the criminal penalties for a first offense drunk driving depend on whether the charge is DUI or DWI.
- DUI: Jail time up to one year, plus a maximum fine of $1,000; and,
- DWI: Prison sentence up to two months, as well as a fine of up to $500.
In addition, a DWI or DUI also impacts your driving privileges. Your driver’s license may be suspended for six months or more. However, existing law does not require you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) for a first offense; you must implement this technology for a second and subsequent offenses. The IID is a device that you blow into to start your vehicle. If your BAC is above a certain designated limit, your car will not start.
Changes Take Effect October 1, 2016: In response to the horrific crash that killed Officer Noah Leotta as he was processing a traffic stop, Maryland lawmakers proposed a new law to crack down on drunk driving. The Drunk Driving Act of 2016 was signed into law by Governor Hogan on May 19, and it takes effect October 1, 2016. Under the new regulations any driver who fails a BAC test must install an IID on their vehicle for a minimum of six months.
It may be possible to avoid or reduce the severe consequences of a Maryland drunk driving charge when you consult with a qualified DUI attorney. A lawyer with experience in these types of cases knows the law and will fight for your rights. If you’ve been charged with a DUI or DWI in Maryland, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to discuss the details of your case.
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