Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “I live in the State of Maryland. I know that DUI laws are complicated. I also heard that some new laws have been passed. How is the common citizen supposed to understand and keep abreast of all the Maryland DUI laws if they are changing all the time?”
New Maryland DUI laws
You are right to be concerned. Laws change all of the time, and some drivers are charged and convicted for a criminal offense without ever knowing they were breaking the law. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some Maryland DUI laws that will be instituted beginning October 1, 2016.
Noah’s Law and increased ignition interlock device usage
The first law which has been passed and which is probably the most well-known is SB 945, also known as Noah’s Law. This law was passed and signed by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on May 19, 2016.
The bill, which was created after slain Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta was killed by a driver on Rockville Pike while working as part of a holiday task force fighting drunk driving, is considered a big win for advocates against drunken driving.
This law requires increased usage of ignition interlock devices by certain Maryland drivers. Advocates of this device argue that because the device prevents intoxicated drivers from starting their cars through an alcohol detection system, that it substantially reduces the risk of drunk driving.
Under this law, drivers are required to participate in Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program for the following convictions:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Driving while impaired while transporting a minor under the age of 16
- Driving while intoxicated with an initial breathalyzer test refusal
- Homicide or life-threatening injury by motor vehicle while DUI or DWI
How long will the ignition interlock device have to be used?
Under Noah’s law, drivers who are arrested for DUI and who have a blood alcohol concentration at the time of the arrest at or above the legal limit of 0.08% will have to keep the device on their car for six months. Drivers who refuse to take a chemical test at the time of the arrest will have to use the device for nine months or accept a nine-month suspension.
Maryland Underage drinking laws also go into effect
In the not too distant past it wasn’t uncommon for parents to provide alcohol to minors or at least turn a blind eye when kids threw parties at their parent’s house. New Maryland underage drinking laws, referred to as Alex and Calvin’s Law, hope to put an end to that practice.
Beginning October 1 in the State of Maryland, a parent who hosted an underage drinking party can be held criminally liable if a student leaves their home after the party and kills or injures another person.
It’s good that you are attempting to understand Maryland DUI laws. Understanding the law can help ensure you are not arrested for DUI offenses.
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