How Could Recent Changes To Maryland's Drunk Driving Laws Affect Your Case?

If you've recently been charged in a Maryland state court with driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, you may be concerned about the jail sentence (and court costs and fines) that could await you, as well as the potential suspension of your driver's license – especially if this isn't your first offense. A new law that recently took effect could also affect the terms of your sentencing if you're found guilty at trial or accept a plea deal. Read on to learn more about some changes to Maryland's DUI and DWI laws that took effect on October 1, 2016, as well as how these may affect your pending case. 

What changes were recently made to Maryland's DUI laws? 

Effective October 1, all those who are convicted of DUI in Maryland state courts will be required to install an ignition interlock system in their vehicles in order to legally drive again. The convicted drivers are required to foot the (sometimes expensive) bill for the ignition interlock, and the terms of sentencing may require this interlock system to stay in place until the defendant has successfully completed his or her probation period. 

The ignition interlock will require you to blow into a thin straw prior to starting your vehicle, and the vehicle's ignition will be disabled until your blood alcohol content (BAC) results read 0.00. If the ignition interlock senses alcohol in a breath sample, it will disable your vehicle for a brief period until a clean sample is provided. 

Once you've started your vehicle and begun driving, you'll then be prompted to blow into the straw periodically during your trip to ensure your BAC is still 0. Some ignition interlocks even have tamper-proof devices designed to prevent a sober passenger from taking the test on your behalf. 

Could this new requirement impact your case or sentencing? 

Because this law has already taken effect, it will impact all those who have been charged but not yet convicted – even if you were arrested and charged well before the October 1 implementation date. This means if you're convicted or plead guilty, there is essentially no way you can avoid the installation of an ignition interlock system in your vehicle (unless you voluntarily relinquish your driver's license until your probation period has ended). 

If you're unable to afford the cost of an ignition interlock system in your vehicle, you may be able to apply for a waiver of costs. This can allow you to comply with the new law without paying out of pocket. Contact a DUI attorney from a law office like Law Offices of Daniel Aaronson for more information on how this law will impact your case.