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Maryland Lawmakers Strengthen Penalties for Drunk Drivers

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | dui/dwi |

Maryland lawmakers have strengthened the penalties for convicted drunk drivers. They eliminated a major loophole in the state’s ignition interlock law.

The legislature recently approved a bill that will require Maryland drunk drivers to complete the Ignition Interlock System Program. The device will have to be in place for six months. The categories of drivers that must complete the interlock program will include:

  • Those who receive probation before judgment (PBJ) for driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Those who receive a PBJ for driving while impaired (DWI)
  • Those convicted of drunk driving

Under the current law, Maryland drivers who got a PBJ didn’t have to use the breathalyzer interlock system.

The new law also adds additional criminal penalties for DUI convictions while transporting a minor. Potential penalties will include a $2,000 fine and up to two years of jail time.

The law awaits the governor’s signature. If he signs it, the new legal requirements go into effect on Oct. 1, 2024.

So, if you’ve been charged with a DUI or DWI, and do not want the interlock, you’ll have to fight your case in court.

Probation before judgment is commonly called a “PBJ.” In a PBJ, a defendant is basically placed on probation before judgment is entered. PBJs are not automatically offered. Your attorney assesses the situation to see if you qualify and then petitions the court. Granting the PBJ is up to the judge. The new law eliminates the judge’s discretion in awarding PBJs.

The interlock is a device inside the car that measures a driver’s blood alcohol. The driver blows into the device for the measurement to occur. If the BAC registers too high, the car won’t start. The reliability of the devices is questionable. The amount of alcohol used in mouthwash can cause a false positive for breath alcohol content, resulting in the car not starting and MVA taking action against the driver.

If you’re facing drunk driving charges, an Ocean City drunk driving lawyer can help. The attorneys at Maronick Law LLC have experience with Glen Burnie, Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh DWI/DUI charges.



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