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New Maryland Law Will Have Disastrous Impact on DUI/DWI Cases and Commercial Drivers

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | dui/dwi |

Defendants in Maryland DUI/DWI cases will not be able to benefit from state laws allowing them to forego having an interlock ignition device installed in their vehicles under a law awaiting the governor’s signature.

Currently, it’s up to the judge to decide, in many instances, whether the device should be installed. However, the new law requires that defendants install the interlock even in cases where the defendant gets probation before judgment (PBJ) or a conviction.

Under the new requirement, the interlock device will have to be installed for at least six months in all cases except:

  • Where the DUI/DWI is dropped
  • A nolle prosequi or Stet is entered, or
  • Defendant earns a not guilty at trial

By removing the judge’s discretion, defendants facing DUI/DWI charges who don’t want the ignition interlock device installed in their car will have to take their case to court.

Ignition interlock devices are installed inside a car. Drivers must blow into the device to have their blood alcohol level measured. If the machine registers a breath alcohol level that is too high, the car won’t start.

The devices are not reliable. The minimal amount of alcohol in mouthwash can cause them to register a blood alcohol level high enough to prevent the car from starting.

In addition to the significant risk of inaccurate readings, many don’t want the device in their car because of the stigma associated with having it in their vehicle.

The legislature approved the bill this month. If the governor signs it, the measure goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2024.

The new requirement could also have devastating consequences for commercial drivers. It could put them out of work if they get a DUI or DWI conviction or even a PBJ.

The new law also increases the criminal penalties for a DUI conviction while transporting a minor. Potential penalties are two years of imprisonment and a $2,000 fine.

How can Maronick Law help?

We try cases at Maronick Law.  If you are worried about the interlock being installed, are a CDL driver worried about losing your job, or worried about the stigma of having the interlock in your car, call us to discuss your trial options.

We have experienced lawyers who can immediately help with your situation.





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