If you have been following the news lately you have heard that Maryland has joined the states that require interlocks in all DUI cases, even for first offenders blowing under 0.15. For example, see Md. lawmaker: Slain officer Noah Leotta ‘is still on the job’ in the Washington Post. However a close examination of the record reveals over 50 changes to the original version of Noah’s law contained in the Conference Committee Report.
A key provision in contention would have required a first offender with a test result of 0.08 or higher but less than 0.15 to get an ignition interlock for 90 days. The House had rejected that provision. However, that provision was contained in the third reading of the Senate Bill 945. (The House and Senate had both already stricken a provision requiring defendants charged with DUI or DWI but only convicted of reckless or negligent driving to get an ignition interlock). In the end, the House and Senate Conference Committee compromised. They increased the length of the suspension to 6 months, but reinstated a provision that allows alleged offenders to request a hearing to get a permit that allows driving for employment, alcohol education, education or medical purposes for the licensee or family members, without obtaining an ignition interlock in the car. So while a 6 month interlock is an option, it is not a requirement in the new law. The new law, which takes effect on October 1, 2016 (assuming the Governor signs it), also requires ignition interlock for defendants convicted of drunk driving (for 6 months, one year, or 18 months). But in Maryland most of them are second offenders, since most first offenders found guilty end up with probation before judgment (PBJ) – not a conviction.
If you are facing criminal or traffic charges in Maryland state or federal court, call Leonard R. Stamm of Goldstein & Stamm, P.A. at 301-345-0122 for a free consultation.